Vina Monastery Resurrects 800-Year-Old Building

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Abbey Of New Clairvaux Monks Work To Rebuild Structure.

History is being rebuilt in Tehama County as monks piece together stones from an 800-year-old building that will eventually become California's oldest standing structure.

Monks from the Abbey of New Clairvaux have been slowly putting together stones from a pre-Gothic meeting house built in Spain during the Middle Ages.

In 1931, millionaire newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst bought the original building, had it dismantled and shipped to California to be part of Wyntoon, his estate near the McCloud River.

The Great Depression changed that, and for decades, the stones sat moldering in Golden Gate Park.

In the 1990s, San Francisco gave the stones to the monks who started trimming the stones, fixing broken pieces and reinforcing the building with concrete and steel to meet modern earthquake codes.

Some of the stones are now standing once again behind the walls of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, where the monastery monks have been putting them together for the past five years.

The project is being funded entirely through private donations. However, since the recession, those have slowed down considerably. The monks don't know when their building will be complete.

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