Footsteps of History
La Purisima Concepcion
Naming of Mission:
The official name is "Mision La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima"
3 miles northeast of Lompoc on Purísima Rd., 15 miles west of US Hwy 101 & Buellton
The mission was founded as Mision La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima (Mission of the Immaculate Conception of Most Holy Mary) on 8 December 1787 by Franciscan Padre Presidente Fermin Francisco Lasuen. The first real buildings of mud plaster were started in 1788 and finished in 1791. La Purisima Conception is the only mission to be built in a straight line instead of the usual quadrangle. During its early years, the mission was successful with the local Chumash Indians, baptizing thousands. There were over 100 mission buildings and varied crops and herds as well as an irrigation aqueduct and water system.
The original buildings were destroyed by an earthquake on 21 December, 1812. Many strong aftershocks and heavy rains destroyed what was left of the mission. Father Mariano Payeras, who was over the mission at this time, wanted to change locations rather than re-build in the same spot. He was given permission to re-locate the site and chose land four miles to the northwest in an area known as "La Canada de los Berror." (The Canyon of the Watercress) He hoped that better water, climate and closer access to El Camino Real would benefit the mission. It didn't take long for his dreams to be realized. Eventually, there were over 1,000 Indian neophytes living on the mission lands. Various types of workshops were created at the mission, giving the Indians a chance to learn new skills and trades. This new mission, completed in 1818, was built in a straight line, rather than the traditional quadrangle
1824 brought a large problem to the mission. Many soldiers were at the mission this year after fighting the pirate, Bouchard. They hadn't been paid in a while and became frustrated and angry. They took out this frustration on the Indians. At Santa Ines, some Indians were beaten and a revolt began which spread to the Purisima mission. For a month, the Indians took over the mission here until more soldiers arrived to help. After a short battle, the Indians were defeated and the leaders executed. After the fighting stopped, many of the Indians left. Others, who had hidden in the hills during the trouble, returned, but never enough to return the mission to its former successes.
As with all the missions in the chain, secularization in 1934 brought about great change. The La Purisima Mission was not sold until 1845 to Juan Temple from Los Angeles for $1,000. The mission and lands were returned to Church in 1874, but they were sold due to the poor condition. There were numerous changes of title for the mission and it was used for a variety of purposes before the 20th century began. Through much neglect, the mission structures gradually fell into ruin. The Union Oil Company gave up the lands in 1933 and, at that time, virtually nothing was left of the mission buildings. Through a combined effort of the county, state and federal governments and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), reconstruction of the mission began. They hoped to make a complete and authentic restoration even down to the furniture of that time. The area was set aside as a state park with 1,928 acres. Though it is just a small part of the original 300,000 acres of mission property, it contains the mission and other main buildings. Not only have many of the buildings been authentically restored, but also the aqueduct and water system which served the mission. A garden has been added to show typical crop of the mission. Also, animals normally held by a mission are on display in the mission compound. The park also includes a picnic area and many miles of hiking trails. The mission is not used as a Parish church at this time as some of the missions are.
Contact the Mission:
Mission and State
2295 Purisima Road
Lompoc, CA 93436
RFD Box 102, La Purisima
Lompoc, California 93436
Park Information: 805-733-3713
Tour Information: 805-733-1303
This is the only mission to be built in a straight line rather than in the traditional Quadrangle.
La Purisima Mission and State Historic Park official Website
State Historic Landmark #340
Take a picture tour of the mission
Lots of information about the mission
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This page was last updated on 29 June 2012 at 9:47 am
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