La Purisima Mission

Mission La Purísima Concepción, or La Purísima Mission (originally La Misión de la Purísima Concepción de la Santísima Virgen María, or The Mission of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary) is a Spanish mission in Lompoc, California. It was established on December 8, 1787 (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, hence the mission's name) by the Franciscan order. The original mission complex south of Lompoc was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812, and the mission was rebuilt at its present site a few miles to the northeast.

La Purísima Mission
La Purísima Mission
La Purísima Mission
La Purísima Mission is located in California
La Purísima Mission
Location of La Purísima Mission in California
La Purísima Mission is located in the United States
La Purísima Mission
La Purísima Mission (the United States)
Location2295 Purisima Road, Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, California 93436
Coordinates34°40′13.692″N 120°25′14.2206″W / 34.67047000°N 120.420616833°W / 34.67047000; -120.420616833Coordinates: 34°40′13.692″N 120°25′14.2206″W / 34.67047000°N 120.420616833°W / 34.67047000; -120.420616833
Name as foundedLa Misión de La Purísima Concepción de la Santísima Virgen María[1]
English translationThe Mission of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
PatronThe Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary[2]
Nickname(s)"The Linear Mission"[3]
Founding dateDecember 8, 1787[4]
Founding priest(s)Father Fermín Lasuén[5]
Founding OrderEleventh[2]
Headquarters of the Alta California Mission System1815–1819[6]
Military districtSecond [7]
Native tribe(s)
Spanish name(s)
Native place name(s)Laxshakupi, 'Amuwu[8]
Returned to the Church1874[10]
Governing bodyCalifornia Department of Parks and Recreation
Current useMuseum
Reference no.#NPS-70000147
Reference no.#340
The ruins of Mission La Purísima Concepción, c. 1900.
Visitor Center at La Purisima Mission State Historical Park
Side view of La Purisima Mission
La Purisima Mission State Historical Park picnic area
Bell Tower of La Purisima Mission

The mission is part of the larger La Purísima Mission State Historic Park, part of the California State Parks system, and along with Mission San Francisco de Solano is one of only two of the Spanish missions in California that is no longer under the control of the Catholic Church. It is currently the only example in California of a complete Spanish Catholic mission complex, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.


Mission La Purísima was originally established at a site known to the Chumash people as Algsacpi and to the Spanish as the plain of Río Santa Rosa, one mile south of Lompoc. (During the mission period, the Chumash spoke the Purisimeño language.)[11] The Viceroyalty of New Spain made an exception to the rule that no California mission was to be established within seven miles of any pueblo in Las Californias, as Lompoc was so small.

By 1803, the Mission Indians population had increased, by Indian Reductions, to 1,436 Chumash people. At the mission there were also 3,230 cattle, 5,400 sheep, 306 horses, and 39 mules. In the same year, there was a harvest of 690 fanegas of wheat, corn and beans (a fanega equaling about 220 pounds).

An earthquake on December 21, 1812, severely damaged the mission buildings.[12] New buildings were constructed four miles northeast of the pueblo at their present location, which was known to the Chumash as Amúu, and to the Spanish as La Cañada de los Berros, now part of the reconstructed La Purísima Mission State Historic Park.[13] Ruins of the original mission are at 508 South F Street, near East Locust Avenue in Lompoc, California.

After Mexico won the Mexican War of Independence in 1823, Spanish funding ceased to the Santa Barbara Presidio. Many soldiers at the mission who were no longer being paid by the new Mexican government took out their frustrations on the local Chumash Indians. After a soldier apparently beat an Indian at nearby Mission Santa Inés, the Chumash revolt of 1824 began at that mission. It spread to La Purísima Mission, where the Chumash people took over the mission for one month until more soldiers arrived from Monterey Presidio. The Chumash lost their hold on the mission with many leaving the mission soon there after. Many of the Indians who had sought refuge in the neighboring mountains during the revolt returned to the mission.

The altar inside La Purísima Mission.

Following independent Mexico's secularization of the Alta California missions from 1834 to 1843, the buildings of La Purísima Mission were abandoned, and the lands were granted Rancho Ex-Mission la Purisima. By 1934, only nine of the buildings remained intact.

In the 20th century, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) pledged to restore the mission if enough land could be provided to convert it into a historic landmark. The Catholic Church and the Union Oil Company donated sufficient land for the CCC to proceed with the restoration. The nine buildings as well as many small structures and the original water system were fully restored with the mission's dedication occurring on December 7, 1941, the same day the United States entered World War II. Today, La Purísima Mission is the only example in California of a complete mission complex.

La Purísima Mission State Historic ParkEdit

La Purísima Mission is now part of the La Purísima Mission State Historic Park within the California State Parks System. With a visitor center and guided tours, the historic park is maintained by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). La Purísima is located in Lompoc, in the county of Santa Barbara, California.

Historic designationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Leffingwell, p. 79
  2. ^ a b c Krell, p. 202
  3. ^ Ruscin, p. 97
  4. ^ Yenne, p. 104
  5. ^ Ruscin, p. 196
  6. ^ Yenne, p. 186
  7. ^ Forbes, p. 202
  8. ^ Ruscin, p. 195
  9. ^ a b c Krell, p. 315: as of December 31, 1832; information adapted from Engelhardt's Missions and Missionaries of California.
  10. ^ Krell, p. 202: The property was subsequently sold in 1874 due to its dilapidated state, and acquired by the State of California in 1935.
  11. ^ "Purisimeño". Archived from the original on 2012-06-02. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  12. ^ "Significant Earthquakes and Faults Chronological Earthquake Index: The December 21, 1812 Earthquake". Southern California Earthquake Data Center. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  13. ^ "History: 1813–1834 Archived 2012-01-13 at the Wayback Machine". La Purisima Mission.


External linksEdit