NOTE: All the italicized text in the captions are quotes from the brochure for the self-guided mission tour purchased from the visitor center.
"The colors of the tabernacle represent the marble and floral tapestries the padres would have seen in the cathedrals of their native Spain. The red shell frieze is reproduced from the original plaster of this church."
Northbound or southbound, take Hwy. 101 to CA 246E towards Solvang/Lompoc. Continue west for about 13.8 miles to Purisima Road and turn right. Continue about 1 mile and the mission is on the right. There is plenty of parking ($6.00 per vehicle payable at the entry kiosk) in a large lot in front of the visitor center.
Contact: Tel (805)733-3713 www.lapurisimamission.org
Hours: The park is open daily 9:00am to 5:00pm for self-guided tours except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day (park map/brochure is available in the visitor center for $1.00). The visitor center closes at 4:00pm. The Gift Shop is located in one of two buildings that served as infirmaries during the mission era (just beyond the parking lot across from the footbridge) - check at the visitor center for the Gift Shop's hours (it didn't open until after noon when we were there).
Admission Fees: $6.00 for each private vehicle, $5.00 for seniors.
Named For: Mary, Mother of Jesus. The name honors "The Immaculate Conception of Mary the Most Pure."
Founding Father: Estevan Tapis.
Indians Joining the Mission: Chumash.
Mission Site: Originally established at the Indian village of Algsacupi (on the edge of present day Lompoc). An earthquake on December 21, 1812 destroyed the mission, which was then relocated about 4.5 miles to the northeast in the Valley of the Watercress.
Water Source: Springs in hills three miles away. The mission had an elaborate system of open aqueducts, pipes, reservoirs, and dams.
Population: The mission population ranged from 900 to 1,100 most years between 1798 -1818, with a peak population of 1,520 in 1804.
Livestock: The peak number of livestock was 23,746 in 1822 (10,000 cattle, 11,000 sheep, 46 goats, 104 pigs, 1367 horses and 247 mules).
Agricultural Output: Between the years 1788 - 1834 La Purisima harvasted 189,276 bushels of wheat, barley, corn, beans, peas, lentils, garbanzos (chickpeas) and habas (broad beans). This was the third largest agricultural output in the mission chain. There were two large vineyards, Jalama 8 miles south of the mission and San Francisoto, 2 miles east.
Mission Church: The mission church, which has a simple exterior, has been handsomely restored. Located as it is in an state historic park, it is not an active church.
Mission Bells: The companario was copied after the one at Santa Ines, since no records existed that described the original design. The bell tower has two rolling bells and one stationary bell.
Mission Art: The mission museum and the new Visitors Center and Exhibit Hall display many period artifacts including an 1818 bell, a complete set of vestments, a handsome confessional, tools and tiles, and two original paintings from the mission.
Special Attraction: La Purisima is a "living history" museum. Time your visit on a day when there are sepcial activities or an encampment scheduled. Check the mission website: htpp://www.lapurisimamission.org/
Significant Event: In 1824 a revolt of the neophytes that began in Santa Ines spread to La Purisima. The rebels captured the mission and held it for about a month. In the battle sixteen Indians and one soldier died. Seven Indians were condemned to death.
Year Returned to Catholic Church: 1874, but subsequently much of the land was sold.
Current Status: Now a California State Historic Park, surrounded by apprximately 2,000 acres of parkland. The most fully restored mission in California.
Interesting Facts: For four years La Purisima was headquarters of mission chain, when Fr. Payéras served as Father President.