Giant Father Junipero Serra Statue
Crystal Springs Safety Roadside Rest Area
Junipero Serra Freeway (Highway 280), Burlingame, California 94010
Heading down north bound 280 up in the Bay Area, shortly after you pass over Crystal Springs Road, where you get an excellent view of the famous Flintstone House, you'll enter Hillsborough and come upon the Crystal Springs Safety Roadside Rest Area. Right before the rest area, up on the hill on the right, over looking the highway is a gigantic statue of Father Junipero Serra.
Yes, that's right, a gigantic statue of Father Junipero Serra, his right arm up and pointing west out over the valley. The statue is 26 feet tall, made of concrete and depicts the missionary kneeling on one knee. The base of the statue is nine side, with each side listing one of the missions he helped build in California.
We here at WeirdCA.com receive several comments on our articles every week. We also receive emails periodically with stories, pictures, and information on various weird sites. We even very rarely receive some swag by snail mail. Well our very first ever letter, hand written no less, arrived from a reader who wished to remain anonymous. It was a wonderful letter, and we are honored that they took the time to write. In it was this amusing anecdote about the statue:
We called it "The Skyline Freeway", the freeway where the statue of Father Serra is located. It must've been in the late 70's a tire at the end of a long rope appeared hung off the statue's extended finger and for a week or two, thousands of commuters saw a yo-yo hanging off the statue's finger.
280 from Route 1 to 880 is also called the Junipero Serra Freeway. Father Junipero Serra founded nine of the twenty one Spanish Missions in California. In July, 1769 he began construction on the mission in San Diego. According to the base of the statue, the nine missions were:
1769 San Diego
1770 San Carlos Carmel
1771 San Antonio
1771 San Gabriel LA
1772 San Luis Obispo
1776 San Juan Capistrano
1776 San Francisco Dolores
1777 Santa Clara
1782 San Buenaventura
The statue is accessible from the Crystal Springs Safety Roadside Rest Area. There is a gate and a path leading up the hill starting from around the bathrooms.
- dobrocat on 2019-09-05 said:
- My stepfather used to say he was pointing at the line where California would fall in to the sea...
- tom of Portland, Oregon on 2017-05-19 said:
- Many years ago, during the week before the Cal-Stanford football game, someone created a large "football" that stretched from the pointing finger to the ground. Sort of like Lucy in Peanuts holding the football ready to be kicked. BTW...from what I recall, when the statue was erected. is that Father Serra is pointing to a spot where a mission should have been established. All of the California missions are about 1 days travel apart. Following this logic there should have been a mission half way between San Francisco and Santa Clara and that is where the statue is pointing. However, no evidence of such a mission has been found.
- Ken of San Francisco, CA on 2015-10-11 said:
- At the same time Father Serra played with the YoYo he also sported a propeller beanie - no kidding. It stayed in place for several days - Beanie and YoYo. I was commuting regularly between SF and San Jose. It was a hoot every day.
Last Edited: 2014-09-22