VINA, Calif. (AP) – Monks in a small Northern California town are rebuilding a centuries-old Spanish monastery with help from what may seem an unlikely source: beer.
The first phase of the building’s decades-long restoration project in the Sacramento Valley town of Vina has been completed, with the Chapter House of Ovila now standing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported (
http://bit.ly/TvoGjL) on Tuesday.
In the 1930s, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst bought the former Trappist monastery_ the Santa Maria de Ovila _ and imported it from Spain for an estate that was never realized. He had planned to use parts of the church for an indoor swimming pool changing room.
Once that project was scrapped, Hearst donated the monastery’s pieces to the city of San Francisco, but the dismantled building sat forgotten in Golden Gate Park for more than 60 years.
The Vina monks credit the founder of their abbey, Father Thomas X. Davis, with the idea of restoring the remains to the Trappist community. Davis saw the stones at Golden Gate Park when he arrived in San Francisco in 1955 and began a campaign to bring them to Vina.
The city eventually agreed to turn over the stones to the abbey. The Chapter House was rebuilt with the help of millions of dollars raised by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in nearby Chico.
The brewers created a series of Ovila Abbey ales inspired by Belgian Trappist monks, an order that to this day makes some of the finest beers in the world.
Monasteries in Europe still use brewing as a way to keep them financially self-sufficient, so Sierra Nevada’s partnership with the Vina monastery is keeping with a tradition that began in the Middle Ages.
Sierra Nevada Brewing and the monks have raised $7 million over the past 12 years to help with the historic and painstaking reconstruction.
The gothic, limestone building that housed Cistercian monks for hundreds of years is finally erect again.
Still, Father Paul Mark Schwan said another $2 million is needed to finish the project: the building is still without the proper window glass, floors and electricity needed to finish it.
“Will it take another 12 years?” Schwan told the paper. “I prefer it not.”
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier