As the Spanish explored and conquered Alta California they left behind the “El Camino Real” and a series of 21 missions, 4 presidios and 3 pueblos stretching from roughly the Mexican border to just north of San Francisco. La Misión de La Purísima Concepción de la Santísima Virgen María, or more commonly La Purisima Mission, was the 11th mission built along El Camino Real.
Founded in 1787 it originally sat in present day Lompoc, California. But after a tremendous earthquake in 1812, it was moved several miles to the east closer to the El Camino Real trail.
In 1933 the State of California along with Union Oil Company and the Civilian Conservation Corps set out to restore and save the decaying mission. On December 7, 1941 the mission was reopened to the public, fully restored, as it would have looked in 1820’s.
Walking up to the mission we passed through a hedge and were moved back in time 190+ years. The park still has livestock and the early watering systems still works. The park has docents wandering the area dressed in period clothing (priest and native Americans) and there are signs posted explaining most of what you see.
If you’re in Northern Santa Barbara or just a history nut, like myself, this is definitely worth the time. Considered by many the best-restored mission in California, it’s a great family adventure.
Have you visited La Purísima Mission? We love to connect with others, so feel free to leave us a comment!