Mission Purissima Concepcion

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Misión La Purísima Concepción De María Santísima

Mission Purísima Concepción
Mission Exterior
Mission Fountain
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Mission Exterior
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Cross
Mission Corridor with Bell
Corridor
Mission Interior
Mission Altar
Mission Altar Detail
Mission Altar Detail
Speakerbox
Speakerbox
Statue
Statue Detail
Mission Interior Rear
Mission Interior Rear
Doorway
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Doorway

Eleventh Mission
Date Founded: December 8, 1787
Founder: Father Presidente Fermin de Lasuén
Named for: Immaculate Conception of Most Holy Mary
Location:
2295 Purisima Road, Lompoc, CA 93436

Contact Information:
Phone: (805) 733-3713

Directions:
The mission is on the North side of Lompoc. From U.S. 101 take the Highway 246 exit at Buellton and head West approximately 14 miles. Just before Lompoc 246 will veer to the left; take Purisima Road to the right. The mission is a short distance from the intersection at 2295 Purisima Road. If traveling on Highway 1 you'll need to take Purisima Road from the North or 246 from the South.
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History

La Purisima Mission was one of five missions established to convert the Chumash Indians to Catholicism and make them subjects under the King of Spain. The site chosen for La Purísima Mission was known to the Spanish as the plain of Rio Santa Rosa and by the Chumash as Algsacpi.


Establishment of Misión La Purísima Concepción De María Santísima

Misión La Purísima Concepción De María Santísima (Mission of the Immaculate Conception of Most Holy Mary) was founded by Father Presidente Fermin de Lasuén on December 8, 1787 and was the 11th of 21 Franciscan Missions in California. Permanent missionaries and soldiers did not arrive at the site until March of 1788. The first padres assigned to La Purísima were Father Vicente Fuster and Father Joseph Arroita.

Upon the arrival of the padres, construction of temporary buildings began. One of the first jobs for the padres was to translate the mass and catechism instruction into the native language, so the Chumash would understand and accept the new faith brought to them. During the Mission's early years, several thousand Chumash Indians were baptized into the Catholic Church; over 100 large and small adobe buildings were built; a water system developed; crops and livestock raised and La Purisima grew and prospered.


Mission Life

The original site of La Purísima Concepción, founded by Fr. Lasuén on December 8, 1787, is not far from the center of the present town of Lompoc. The Indians of the area were friendly and receptive to the mission system, and a considerable number of neophytes were living on the grounds soon after the mission began. A church building was completed in 1802 and within the following decade herds of livestock numbering in the thousands were developed.

As with any new venture, the first few years must have provided the padres with many ups and downs. There were many construction projects to complete: the church, living quarters, workshops, storage and water systems. Land had to be cleared so that crops, orchards and vineyards could be planted. The padres were challenged with encouraging the Chumash to come and learn about this new culture and religion that was to change their ways and their land. As the Chumash were baptized, they were taught new skills to become productive members of the mission community.

As the Padres struggled to establish the mission, they received help from other missions with the donation of cattle, sheep, goats, horses, burros, mules, pigs, corn, wheat, barley, peas, beans, and root stock and cuttings for orchards and vineyards. Supplies that could not be manufactured by the missions were brought up from New Spain (Mexico) by ship, including bells, church furnishings, cloth, tools and iron. Supply ships from New Spain visited the missions two times a year. The padres received an annual stipend of $400 worth of goods and an annual allotment of $1,000 worth of goods from the Pious Fund to help support the mission. The monies in the Pious Fund were donated by the wealthy in Spain to help expand Spain's empire. Slowly permanent buildings were constructed and the crops and livestock began to flourish.

More and more Chumash came into the mission community. According to the mission report dated December 31, 1798, the primitive church lacked sufficient space for the 920 mission inhabitants. Construction had begun on a new church with the padres laying the new foundation. The padres expressed the need for trained craftsmen to oversee this project to insure it would be structurally sound, but they lacked money to pay the craftsmen. Major industries at the mission were the weaving of cotton into cloth and wool into blankets, and the making of shoes.

While the greatest number of the mission population were neophytes (the converted Chumash Indians), there were a handful of others on whom fell the task of making the mission functional. Two padres were assigned to each mission. They reported to El Presidente of the Nueva California missions. A corporal and five soldiers from the Santa Barbara Presidio provided the military presence at La Purísima Mission. Occasionally, when they were available and the missions could afford their assistance, Master Craftsmen and their families would live at the mission for the period of their employment.

Few writings by the Padres exist to tell us about life at La Purisima; however, they were required to submit an annual report each December regarding progress at the mission. The Annual Reports provide us with information on the religious and material success of the missions, but provide little insight into daily mission life.

In 1800, Father Horra, formerly of San Miguel, accused the Franciscan padres of mistreating the Indians. Governor Borcia was directed to make an investigation into this matter, requiring both the military officials and the padres to respond to fifteen questions bearing on the subject. Although this was a time of trial for the padres at La Purisima, it provides us with the fortunate circumstance of giving us our best glimpse of how the Padres viewed mission life for the neophytes.

Below is a summary of "The Replies of the Father of Mission Purisima:"

The Christian Doctrine was taught in Spanish and the Chumash language. The Chumash were instructed in the principles of the Catholic religion before receiving baptism. The Fathers spoke Castilian, and encouraged the neophytes to learn and speak it, but in general everyone spoke a composite language. The Indians were permitted some time to leave the mission.

The neophytes were given morning and evening meals of atole and a mid day meal of pozole. They were allowed to gather wild foods, as was their custom before the Spanish came. On Sundays and special feast days everyone received almost a half peck of wheat. Neophyte men were given a woolen blanket, a suit of cotton cloth and two woolen breech cloths. Women and girls received gowns, skirts and woolen blankets. The clothing items were expected to last at least one year with some care. Housing for the neophytes was their native tule houses, the same as before the Spanish arrived because it had not been possible to construct permanent buildings for them.

Hours worked by the neophytes was not to exceed five hours per day. Some of the labor was proportioned as piece work. To keep them at the mission, pregnant, nursing, and aged women, and children were required to perform a small amount of work. The neophytes were taught how to deal with the soldiers and other people outside of the mission. The neophytes did not like to work for the soldiers because the soldiers over-burdened them, or deprived them of the necessities enjoyed by those at the mission.

The neophytes were punished if they left the mission furtively, especially at night. Other misdeeds the padres punished the neophytes for included concubinage and theft. Punishments for both sexes included whippings, shackles, stocks and being locked up. Crimes against the common good, such as killing cattle or sheep, or setting fire to pastures, were given to the corporal of the guard.

After studying the reports, the viceroy felt the charges against the missionaries were unfounded. Unfortunately, although the above narrative depicts the padres' view of the Indian life at the mission, there are no descriptions of how the Indians viewed their new life. This leaves many unanswered questions about what really took place at the missions.

A commonly asked question is "Why did the Chumash accept the mission way of life?" One answer could be that the Chumash may originally have been fascinated with the tools, animals, fabrics, color, etc. that the Spanish brought with them. This, along with religious rituals, chanting and music may have intrigued a people who had their own religious ceremonies and were artistically talented. A second and possibly more compelling reason may have been the loss of the Chumash's ability to survive outside of the mission system. Before the Spanish came, the Chumash depended on the natural resources to provide them with food. As the domesticated mission herds increased in number, the animals ate the plants that the Chumash used and fouled their water holes. It eventually became impossible for the Chumash to survive in the old ways, and the missions may have offered the only alternative.

In 1802, a large and handsome church structure was completed. This project emphasized the Padres' concern about their lack of construction knowledge and their need for skilled craftsmen at the mission. The doorway of this structure still stands at the original mission site, now owned by the City of Lompoc.

The mission population reached its high point in 1804 with 1,520 neophytes under its jurisdiction. The year 1804 also marked the arrival of Father Mariano Payeras. Each padre associated with La Purísima Mission made a valuable contribution to its establishment and success; however, Father Payeras had unique foresight, dedication, organizational, and public relations skills that helped La Purísima Mission expand its material wealth and maintain good relations with neighboring ranchos. The mission industries prospered, producing soap, candles, wool, and leather products among their leading commodities.

There was little coin or money circulating in Nueva California. The chief items used for trading were soap, cigars, horses, cattle, hides and tallow. Obviously, there were supplies that the mission could not produce. Each year, ships from San Blas, Mexico, brought china, sugar, fine cloth, and other commodities, which were exchanged for mission products. The fathers received yearly four hundred dollars worth of mission equipment.

Additional income for the mission came from hiring out the neophytes to the neighboring ranchos. According to the mission account books, the neophytes were paid 1 1/2 reáles a day or 18 and 3/4 cents and their board. The wages received for the Indians' labor went to the mission. In turn the laborer was paid in goods from the mission store. The neophytes were already provided with clothing, blankets, housing and food by the mission.

The mission had to pay their craftsmen and mayordomo in money, rather than just trade or barter. The account book in 1811 shows that Francisco Xavier Aguilar was hired at $25 a month and board; however, it did not identify his occupation. The same year Josef Antonio Ramirez, a carpenter and stone mason, was hired for $200 in silver per year including board and two pounds of chocolate a month.

At the height of its success, a series of disasters began to hurt La Purísima's prosperity. European diseases such as smallpox, measles, and other health problems began to take their toll on the mission population. Between 1804 and 1807 there were about 500 deaths. The worst year, 1806, saw 220 deaths recorded. This must have been a period of fear for the Indians, not knowing if they or their family members would become ill and seeing no way to cure the diseases. This must also have been a period of frustration for the padres as they helplessly watched the neophytes dying.

This notable progress was undone by the fateful earthquake of 1812 which caused destruction to so many of the missions, and leveled La Purísima to the ground. The buildings were located quite near the major fault line and violent slipping of the earth masses continued for more than a week. All but the most sturdy equipment was lost or destroyed. The padres and their neophytes did not wish to rebuild on such a violent location and a new site was chosen at a discreet distance. Four months after the earthquake, the mission was re-established where it now stands in the little valley of Los Berros four miles to the north and east.

While humans experienced fear, frustration and strained relationships, the earth's crust was preparing to relieve itself of some stress. On December 8, 1812, twenty-five years after La Purísima's founding, a series of small tremors were experienced. On December 21, there was a violent earthquake that caused serious damage to the mission. The structures that survived the first jolt were brought down by a second and more violent quake about a half hour after the first. To make matters worse, heavy and prolonged rains followed the earthquakes. The unprotected adobe bricks began to melt back into mud.

Hero of the disaster was Father Mariano Payeras, last of the friar-citizens of the Spanish island of Mallorca which had supplied the settlement of California with so many of its great names: Fathers Serra, Palou and Crespi, and Juan Perez, the faithful captain of the packet San Antonio. Father Payeras was born in 1769, the year of the founding of San Diego. He had come to La Purísima in 1803, and there he was destined to die some 20 years later.

La Purísima Mission would not be rebuilt on the old site but was abandoned in favor of a new site in a small canyon, La Cañada de los Berros (canyon of the watercress) or, as the Indians called it, Amúu.

El Camino Real, the highway (trail) connecting all of the missions ran through Los Berros ravine, which was north of the Santa Rosa River (Santa Inez River). Because La Purisima's first mission site was south of the river, during winter months the rising river water levels made it impossible to cross over to El Camino Real. Locating the new mission site at Los Berros would give direct access to the Camino Real and improve communications with the other missions. The Los Berros site offered more level ground above the flood plain than the previous mission site and there was abundant firewood, timber, building materials, and farmable land. In addition, water was close at hand. The padres petitioned the authorities to relocate at Los Berros and La Purísima Mission was officially established at this site on April 23, 1813.

Construction of temporary structures began immediately. Materials salvaged from the first mission were used to construct the new buildings at the Los Berros site. Construction of permanent buildings followed a radical departure from the original quadrangle mission layout. The buildings were laid out in a linear fashion against the base of the hills. We assume this was to allow people to escape from the buildings in case of another earthquake, to help protect the buildings from the prevailing afternoon winds, and to avoid encroaching on the fertile farmland of the canyon. In just ten years the padres and neophytes constructed all of the buildings which are currently part of the reconstructed La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, plus three more.

Father Payeras' talents did not go unnoticed. Father Payeras became the president of the California missions in 1815, and served in this office for four years. Father Payeras did not forsake La Purísima, but remained and gave direction of the mission system from La Purísima, rather than going to the Carmel Mission, where the president usually resided. In 1819, Father Payeras was again honored by being asked to continue service as president and was appointed commissary prefect, the highest office among the California Franciscans. On April 28, 1823, Father Payeras' body finally gave way to the rigors of travel and demands of his position. His is the only grave under the pulpit of La Purísima Mission.

During his two decades of service Fr. Payeras was presidente of the missions four years, and twice served as prefect. Like the earlier Franciscan, Father Garces, Fr. Payeras loved to march through the unexplored sections of the new territory, visiting Indian rancherias and marking possible locations for future missions. Despite the official prohibition against it, he was friendly to the approach of foreign visitors. After the Napoleonic conquest of Spain cut off trade with the mother country, Fr. Payeras, as prefect, signed the first trade agreement between the California missions and the English. The English signatory, William Hartnell, eventually was to become one of the first prominent citizens of California following its independence and, such is the irony of fate, a leading figure in the secularization of the missions after 1833.

Father Payeras and the other missionaries recognized the interdependence of the missions, presidios and other Spanish settlements in California, and tried to provide supplies wherever necessary. The Hidalgo Rebellion in New Spain (Mexico) was straining Spain's resources and the supply ship from San Blas had ceased bringing resources to the missions in 1811. The $1,000 annual memorias and annual stipends no longer came to the padres. The mission system was forced to find alternative sources of goods to meet their needs. The Spanish governors of California continued the old Spanish policy of forbidding trade with foreign merchants. This restrictive policy created shortages of needed goods (military equipment, clothing and agricultural equipment) and a useless surplus of other items (hides and tallow). This led to black market activity and smuggling which increased the friction between the military men and the mission people.

The soldiers were poverty-stricken and totally dependent on the missions for their support. The frustration of the military forces in California began to be taken out on the mission Indians. Neophytes were used for military construction projects and other jobs for little or no pay. Mexico's independence from Spain in 1822, removed the king's political support of the mission system. The missions' hope that they could recover hundreds of thousands of dollars of credit given to the Spanish government for goods and supplies between 1810 and 1822 was gone. The missions' political position was on the verge of crumbling.

At its new site, La Purísima soon regained its earlier prosperity and it was not until the year following Fr. Payeras' death, in 1823, that the mission had any further difficulty. At this time, the Indian uprising touched off by a disturbance at Santa Inés, led the Indians at La Purísima to seize the mission.

Less than a year after Father Payeras' death, in 1824, the friction between the military and the missions exploded as the Indians of the three Santa Barbara missions rose up in armed revolt. The immediate cause was the flogging of a Purísima neophyte by the soldiers at Mission Santa Inez. The news reached La Purísima Mission and the Indians immediately took control of the mission. The soldiers and their families, and Father Ordaz, were allowed by the Indians to go to Mission Santa Inez. Father Rodríguez remained at La Purísima, and was allowed to come and go as he pleased.

The Indians then demonstrated how well they had learned the construction trades, which the fathers had so patiently taught them. After driving off the small military guard, they erected a wooden fort and cut holes in the building walls, behind which they mounted a pair of small cannon. Firmly entrenched in their barricade, the Indians held out for more than a month. It was not until a military force of over 100 soldiers arrived from Monterey that the Spanish were able to regain possession. Even then, the surrender of the Indians was accomplished by a padre who convinced the besieged that they had no chance of holding out.

Nearly a month after the rebellion began, 109 soldiers from the presidio at Monterey, under the command of Lt. Estrada, attacked to retake the mission. Two and one half hours after the attack began, it was over. Sixteen or seventeen Indians were killed and many wounded, while only one soldier died and two others were wounded. There was no escape for the Indians. Father Rodríguez managed to negotiate surrender terms for the Indians. Seven Indians who surrendered were executed for their part in killing four Spanish travelers approaching La Purísima during the excitement of the first night. Twelve other Indians were convicted and sentenced to hard labor at the presidio.

Once the uprising was suppressed, the mission returned to its accustomed routine. The period of its greatest prosperity had passed, however, for 10 years later it was in the hands of the secular administrator. For a time, the Franciscans continued to occupy their residence building, even though the neophytes had disappeared and the church and other buildings were allowed to tumble into heaps of rubble. The once prosperous rancho was abandoned and, such was its eventual desolation, that the property was offered for sale after it had been returned to the Church.


Secularization

What a blow to the Indian pride! Any thoughts of life outside of the missions must have been destroyed. Their culture and heritage had been wiped away in the name of civilization. But the worst was yet to come. What would life be like without the padres' guidance and protection? The answer came in 1834; the long-expected, long-delayed secularization of the missions was decreed by governor José Figueroa. The missions were to become pueblos with the neophytes receiving land, livestock, seeds, and implements to establish their own ranches. The neophytes would continue to operate and manage the shops, cellars and storehouses under the direction of a leader selected by them. Instead, an administrator or mayordomo was appointed by the governor.

The neophytes were not free to engage in activities beneficial to themselves, but were required to fill government orders for grains, blankets, saddles, shoes, and the needs of the soldiers and their families. As the mission lands were given away by the government, we lose track of what happened to the mission neophytes. The padres left the mission in favor of living at Mission Santa Inez. Within ten years the mission establishment at La Purísima had just about disappeared.


Decline and Rebirth

What was left of La Purísima was purchased by John Temple for $1,110 at a public auction in 1845. At this time the mission passed out of the control of the church. The adobe buildings fell into ruin. In 1903 Union Oil Company acquired most of the mission site at Los Berros. Union Oil officials realized the historical importance of the site. Timing was on La Purísima's side. The Civilian Conservation Corps began to assign work units to the National Park Service for development work in national, state, county and municipal parks. Restoration of La Purísima was a viable project if enough land could be acquired to make it into a historical monument. The Catholic Church donated the old church site to Santa Barbara County, and Union Oil Company gave six parcels including the site of the residence building. The county and State of California purchased additional land until there was a total of 507 acres. The total acreage was deeded to the State of California, then Division of Beaches and Parks. The first CCC crews began arriving in 1934 to start the job of restoration.

In 1934, 500 acres of the former mission property were acquired by the County of Santa Barbara and, with the co-operation of the State and the United States National Park Service, a program of restoration was begun. A Civilian Conservation Corps camp was located on the spot and the young men began the work of rebuilding. On July 7, 1935, the first adobe brick was laid and construction of the first unit of the monastery, based on painstaking research, was started. The monastery building alone required the molding of 110,000 adobe bricks, 32,000 roof tiles, and 10,000 floor tiles.

Instead of destroying the existing ruins, they were incorporated into the new buildings. As a result, the visitor is able to compare the later cloister columns with the original, and only a careful inspection will reveal the difference. Once the mission structures were completed, the young craftsmen turned to the creation of furniture and everything was made as an exact copy of pieces in other mission museums. The monastery, the church, even the seemingly endless row of rooms that housed the soldiers and some of the neophytes, have been restored to their original condition. La Purísima gives the traveler an excellent opportunity to comprehend the size and scope of a large mission establishment.

Once the adobe structures were restored, workers in the Conservation Corps turned to the re-creation of the mission gardens. They began by rebuilding the intricate water system which collects water from springs located more than a mile above the mission, and leads it through the gardens and on to the grain fields below. On its course, the water is first introduced into a charming fountain. From there it flows into a broad circular pool whose sloping stone banks formed the laundry where the Indian women did the mission wash. After passing through a huge settling pool, the water continues on to irrigate the fields.

The gardens represent a great deal of research by eminent horticulturists, headed by Mr. E. D. Rowe of Lompoc. Every shrub and tree in the garden was known to the mission padres and could have existed here at the time the mission was in its active state. Today, this garden is considered the finest collection of early California flora in existence and is well worth the visitor's time and study.

La Purísima is now a State Historic Park operated by the Division of Beaches and Parks, with an area now encompassing 967 acres. A remarkable docent program welcomes visitors of today. The docents, all volunteers, assume the roles of mission inhabitants of the 1820s. In historic dress, they conduct tours, spin and weave wool, produce mission period iron implements in the blacksmith shop and much more including an outreach program.


Archaeology

In 1903 Union Oil Company acquired most of the mission site at Los Berros. Union Oil officials realized the historical importance of the site. Timing was on La Purísima's side. The Civilian Conservation Corps began to assign work units to the National Park Service for development work in national, state, county and municipal parks. Restoration of La Purísima was a viable project if enough land could be acquired to make it into a historical monument. The Catholic Church donated the old church site to Santa Barbara County, and Union Oil Company gave six parcels including the site of the residence building. The county and State of California purchased additional land until there was a total of 507 acres. The total acreage was deeded to the State of California, then Division of Beaches and Parks. The first CCC crews began arriving in 1934 to start the job of restoration.

The first order of business for the CCC crews was to collect historical information, both written and physical. What we would term as "inner city" young men were taught archeological techniques as they located and uncovered the ruins of 13 buildings. Their findings provided information about the physical fabric of the structures and opened little windows into mission life. Initial construction techniques were very similar to those used by the padres and Indians. Thousands of adobe bricks had to be made and dried, most of the soil coming from the overburden removed from the building foundations. Clay was dug from the surrounding hillsides and processed into roof and floor tiles. Furnishings and hardware were made in the carpenter shop and blacksmith shop. The work was very labor intensive.

Reconstruction of the three main buildings was completed and the walls were up on three smaller buildings when the mission was dedicated as a State Historical Monument on December 7, 1941. Over the years, the three smaller buildings were completed and additional buildings reconstructed. La Purísima Mission has become the most completely reconstructed of the 21 California Missions.

The advisory committee overseeing the reconstruction issued the challenge that La Purísima Mission State Historic Park could become the Williamsburg of the west. The Department of Parks and Recreation has worked toward making La Purísima a living example of the missions. In 1973 a major step was taken to achieve this goal when a group of five volunteers joined with the Department to create a volunteer organization known as 'Prelado de los Tesoros de la Purísima' (loosely translated, 'The Keepers of the Treasures of La Purísima').

Over the years thousands of school students have been guided through the mission, and visitors have experienced firsthand what mission life was like. Visitors today may experience grinding corn with a mano on a metate, see sheep being sheared and the gardens being tended, learn how to spin and weave wool into cloth, and much more, all through the generous efforts of Prelado members. Prelado's goal is to bring life to La Purísima Mission so that the visitors gain a greater understanding and appreciation of California's past. Without the help and dedication of Prelado's members, the park staff would be unable to provide the quality and quantity of interpretive programs offered to the park visitors.

La Purisima Mission State Historic Park in central coastal California was studied and reconstructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in what was certainly one of their most impressive undertakings. At that time, certain portions of the site of the mission were not owned by the State of California and so no work was done on them. This was the case with a site known only from a mid-19th century land survey which showed the outline of an adobe "warehouse" that was measured to be 200 feet long by 58 feet wide. Remarkable as it may seem this massive building was not mentioned in the annual reports and correspondence during the time the mission was active (1813-1834). Although identified as a warehouse, it is believed that there was probably both a warehouse (almacin, in Spanish) and a granary (trox or troje) located there. The latter was especially necessary to the mission as a place to store the considerable amount of grain being raised to feed the Indians living there. Such utilitarian buildings were seldom mentioned, much less drawn, by visitors of the early 19th century who often provided excellent descriptions of the mission church, friar's quarters, etc. Therefore, the only solid evidence to be obtained was through archeological testing.

In 1964 the northernmost portion of the foundation was relocated by Parks employees and excavated by a team from UC Santa Barbara under the direction of Dr. James Deetz. It was determined that the majority of the site was under nearby Purisima Road and then extended onto a piece of private land to the south. This land was obtained by the Department of Parks and Recreation in 1978, but it was not until 1995 that some test excavation was done to determine the condition and actual placement of the southernmost foundations. It was discovered that the foundations were generally in quite good condition.

Buoyed by this knowledge, a second dig was organized in May 1996 with the cooperation of the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) which sent a team of 12 young people from their west coast base in San Diego. They are the 1990s successors to the old CCCs, some of whom visited the site toward the end of the dig. In the course of three weeks, large excavation units were dug to allow us a better understanding of the building(s) there. We found that the walls would have been 4'8" thick, both exterior and the central north/south interior wall. It is presumed that the walls were so thick in response to the scare engendered by the destruction of the old mission site in the 1812 earthquake. The length of the foundations was determined to be 206 feet rather than the reported 200 feet. This would have been an even 75 Spanish varas. In addition, it was discovered that the east wall foundation continued further to the south indicating even another building for which we had no previous knowledge.

The difference in height of the tops of the foundation walls from the north end to the south end of the main structure(s) came to approximately 9 feet while the difference in the height of the adobe block floors varied by about 6 feet. Based on this differential it may be that we have two separate, but joined, buildings or that it may be one long building but stepped down over the length of it, probably where cross walls were set. Unfortunately, the crucial information is still hidden under the World War II road (Purisima Road) which was constructed right over the middle of the site.

Remarkably few artifacts were found in the 1964 dig as well as the 1995/6 testing. This would fit well with the presence of a granary or a warehouse, each of which would have been cleaned out prior to the abandonment of the buildings. In the north end, possible evidence of stacked hides was reported by Deetz which would indicate a likely warehouse. Within the south foundation, an iron tool, believed to be a stone-mason's pick/hammer was found. It is presumed that it was broken and discarded during construction of the foundation. The few pieces of ceramics found were of the expected Chinese Export porcelain and English transferprint wares.

Thus through the cooperative efforts of Prelado de los Tesoros and the California State Park system, La Purisima Mission continues to live today!


Sources

http://www.lapurisimamission.org/

http://archaeology.parks.ca.gov/cultural/spanmex/lapurisima/lapurisima.htm

http://www.californiamissions.com/morehistory/lapurisima.html