Chapter 5: San Diego's Mexican Community, 1850-1910
6. What kind of culture did the Mexican Americans have?
Despite the sometimes negative opinions of the Anlgo Americans about Old Town, for the Mexican Americans living there this was their home. Here they developed a vibrant social life based on their traditional culture.
Many of the Mexican families were related, either by marriage or compadrazgo, god-parentage, and there was a real sense of community as a extended family. As we have seen many of the families intermarried with Anglo American men hence the Mexican heritage became mixed with Anglo ways in the families of Fitches, Wrightington's, Stuarts, Snooks, Fosters and so forth.
Old Town did not have a formal church until the 1850s. Before that time the residents used the Mission church, the presidio chapel and then held services in private chapels of the ricos, the Estudillos and Aguirres. Finally the priest who replaced the Mexican priest, Rev. John Molinier, completed construction of a small adobe church called the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858.
Despite the distance of the Adobe Chapel from the central plaza of Old Town the congregation were involved in organizing many community celebrations, religious fiestas, performances of La Pastorela, a shepherd drama performed during Christmas; La Posada, a reenactment of Mary and Joseph looking for lodging; and events commemorating la Semana Santa during Easter week.