After more than a year of fund-raising, reconstruction of San Gabriel Mission's bell tower has begun. Early this week, Mission Drive in front of the mission was closed to traffic, and as a small crowd watched, the mission's six bells--each more than 1,500 pounds--were taken down by crane. The lands of the San Gabriel mission once extended as far as San Bernardino, to San Pedro and beyond the Los Angeles River. Founded in 1771, it is the fourth-oldest of California's 21 missions. It has been closed since suffering damage in the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake. Once the bell tower is braced, a report on what further repairs are needed will be prepared.