San Francisco De Asis was founded by Padre Palou on the ninth of October 1776, on the Bay of San Francisco. The name was bestowed in honor of the founder of the Franciscan Order. For the first year the little band which formed the nucleus of the Mission experienced hard treatment at the hands of the Indians, still on the arrival of Serra in 1777 there were presented before him seventeen converts for baptism. The first church built was not precisely on the Mission’s present site, and the Lake Dolores of that day has disappeared as the city of San Francisco has grown up about its shores. In 1782 the corner-stone of a new church edifice was laid.
The Mission was twice visited by the discoverer Vancouver, and he has left a full account of the condition in which he found the Mission Indians and the industries in which they had been instructed by the padres. The Indians and the Spanish authorities were continually at war with one another, and in the years preceding the secularization of San Francisco, in 1835, there was a great falling away in the number of neophytes attached to the Mission. At the passing of San Francisco into the hands of the Americans, in 1845, there remained but a remnant of the old Mission Dolores.