Initially established in Monterey, Mission San Carlos relocated in 1771 to Carmel and was renamed “San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.” The mission served as headquarters for Franciscan Father-Presidents Serra and his successor Fermín Lasuén, and is also the burial site of both individuals. The seventh place of worship constructed on the site, the stone church, was constructed between 1773 and 1797 under the supervision of master stonemason Manuel Esteban Ruíz of Mexico City, using the rare but economical catenary arch. The tile-roofed adobe brick structures surrounding the mission quadrangle, which housed the friars’ quarters (convento) as well as workshops for the various trades, fell into ruin from the mid-1830s onwards due to post-secularization abandonment and the depredations of weather, earthquakes and vandals.
In the spring of 2012, CyArk partnered with the Carmel Mission Foundation to digitally document Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo as part of CyArk's larger El Camino Real project, which aims to digitally document all twenty-one missions along El Camino Real established by the Spanish in Alta California. A digital reconstruction of the mission will soon be available on CyArk's website.