Three Walls and a Liquor License
The Story of La Misión
The dingy bar room of The Big Steer resonates with the phantom echoes of its 70 years of history. The acrid smell of cigarettes and alcohol fit the tale of its violent past as an old-timer recounts the shootings and beatings. The Spirits of the Wild West called this place "home."
Before the restoration began in December 2002, the adobe walls of the old bar were crumbling and returning to the original soil beds from where they were molded into neat dirt bricks back in 1915. Only 3 walls and a liquor license remained after the drastic disemboweling of the old place. They say that the roof did not cave in only out of respect for the ceilings which resembled wounded soldiers full of bullet holes.
And so it was that the dream project became a construction nightmare. Owner and designer Cecilia San Miguel welcomed the challenge during the 14 months of renovation, always keeping the vision intact in her heart. "La Misión de San Miguel will glow under the sun and the midnight moon," she asserted.
Out of the corpses of the old saloon where self-destruction and darkness held sway, the Light of Spirit arose as La Misión de San Miguel - where life is celebrated with beauty, art and music as inspiration.
Upon entering, the numerous religious icons serve to gently nudge us from unconsciousness to the revelation of the living spirit in all matter.
The brilliantly colorful mural of the Ecuadorian Amazon contains the mystical traditions of the Shaura Indian Shamans and depicts the Divine union of Creator and Its Creation. This work of art is the artistic inspiration of Chilean muralist Lucia Cartes.
On the opposite wall, artist Alix Mosier brought to life the powerful image of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, fiercely galloping across the 60-foot mural as a poignant statement of separation of humanity from its Creator. The Angel guides the Horsemen as a sign of hope.
At La Misión we might be inspired to lift our vision from our fragmented perception of who we are in order to dance, have a glass of wine, and celebrate each other in the wholeness of our being, wherein every act of living becomes a spiritual practice.
La Misión is a synthesis of Archangel Michael's mission to guide humanity out of darkness and self-destruction by slaying the dragon within. In a humble yet tangible way, the birthing of La Misión de San Miguel out of decay became the parable for transformation of a building, of a soul, and of a community.
An Arizona Treasure
After 14 months of restoration, La Misión, located in an early 1900's historic site on Arizona's scenic Highway 82 in Patagonia, opened for business January 2004 and is on its way to becoming a Southern Arizona destination.
As you enter La Misión through the carved wooden temple doors from India under the ojo de buey window from a Mexican church, every detail is a work of art that expresses the creative spirit residing in each of us.
Hand crafted wrought iron and custom woodwork is found throughout. The furniture is from India and the 30 foot bar is made of Parota wood from Mexico.
In February 2005, Governor Janet Napolitano visited La Misión on her Arizona Treasures Tour. With the Governor's endorsement, La Misión has been designated an "Arizona Treasure."
The stained glass window as you exit to the patio is from Holland and old wood and tin from Harshaw's original 1800 Hale ranch is incorporated into the architecture.
Over 1,000 pieces of glass are in each of the hand-made lights over the bar. Four artists - from Mexico, Chile and Oregon - painted the murals and the 120 foot anaconda that wraps around the walls of the main room.
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