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Mission San Buenaventura

Submitted by John on Mon, 12/03/2007 - 19:54.

Mission San Buenaventura

san buenaventura mission
San Buenaventura circa 1900. Photograph by William Amos Haines

Mission San Buenaventura (originally), the was founded on Easter Sunday, 1782. Named for a Franciscan theologian, it was the last of the missions founded by Father Serra. In 1793, the first church burned down. It took the neophyte workers 16 years to build the new church, which still stands today. Mission San Buenaventura had five bells. The bells were borrowed from Mission Santa Barbara because there were no bells at the time. The bells were never returned. The bell facing north is labeled S. San Francisco 1781. The bell facing east has the inscription: San Pedro Alcantra 1781. A small swinging bell hangs in the southern arch with the lettering: Ave Maria S. Joseph. The only bell used daily at San Buenaventura is large and crown topped with a Cross on its side. Inscribed on the bell is Ave Maria Pruysyma D Sapoyan Ano D 1825, which means Hail Mary Most Pure. Mary of Zapopan Year of 1825. This bell was originally cast for the church of Zapopan but was later sent to Mission San Buenaventura. Another bell, which was once the gift of the Spanish Viceroy, is inscribed Marquez de Croix Mexico November 12 1770. It is currently owned by Senora Isabel del Valle Cram. There are also two wooden bells in the museum that measure about two feet. A system of aqueducts was built by Chumash Indians between 1805–1815 to meet the needs of the Mission population and consisted of both ditches and elevated stone masonry. The watercourse ran from a point on the Ventura River about ½ mile north of the remaining ruins and carried the water to holding tanks behind the San Buenaventura Mission, a total of about 7 miles. The entire water distributiom system was destroyed by floods and abandoned in 1862. In 1893, Father Cyprian Rubio "modernized" the interior of the church, painting over the original artwork; when he finished, almost nothing remained of the old church. New priests restored the church to its original style in 1957.

Today all that remains of the original Mission is the church and its garden. Services are still held in the parish church. A small museum sits at the Mission with displays of Chumash Indian artifacts and mission-era items.

Other historic designations

  • National Register of Historic Places #NPS–75000497 — Mission San Buenaventura Aqueduct
  • California Historical Landmark #113 — Site of "Junípero Serra's Cross" (the first cross on the hill known as La Loma de la Cruz, or the "Hill of the Cross") can be found in Grant Park, and was erected by Junípero Serra upon the Mission's founding
  • California Historical Landmark #114 — Old Mission Reservoir, part of the water system for Mission San Buenaventura (the settling tank or receiving reservoir; the site can be found in Eastwood Park)
  • California Historical Landmark #114–1 — Mission San Buenaventura Aqueduct (at Canada Larga Road) consists of two surviving sections of viaduct about 100 feet long, made of cobblestone and mortar
LocationVentura, California
Name as FoundedLa Misión San Buenaventura
TranslationThe Mission of Saint Bonaventure
NamesakeSaint Bonaventure
Nickname(s)"The Mission by the Sea"
Founding DateMarch 31, 1782
Founding Priest(s)Father Presidente Junípero Serra
Founding OrderNinth
Military DistrictSecond
Native Tribe(s)
Spanish Name(s)
OwnerRoman Catholic Church
Current UseParish Church / Museum
National Historic Landmark#NPS–75000496
California Historical Landmark#310




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