Rendering of wall decoration at San Fernando Rey Mission by artists of the Index of American Design

3. California's missions were a crumbling mess until they were rescued by an imaginary mestizo maiden. Without Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 romance novel "Ramona," there's no telling what the mission sites would look like now. But as that book rose to spectacular success, readers seized upon its...

Jeffrey Holt and Marry Mann Waddell, Restoration Drawing: Wall Painting and Door, 1937. Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, The California Missions, Getty Publications