Like many cities in the state of California, Ventura was originally founded as the site of a Spanish mission. Although Native people had been living in the area for generations, the Spanish missionaries that came to the state and established missions are credited with colonizing California. They not only brought their religion with them, but they also brought their culture and their resources, setting the table for the prosperous state that California is today. The best way to appreciate and understand this early history is to visit these mission sites. In the city of Ventura, the Mission San Buenaventura still stands today, and is a great place to visit!
History of Mission San Buenaventura
On Easter Sunday in 1782, the Mission San Buenaventura was founded in the city that is today known as Ventura. For then Father Junipero Serro, who has since been granted Sainthood, it was his 9th and last mission. Mission San Buenaventura was named after Saint Bonaventure, who was a Cardinal in the Church. This mission church in Ventura is also known as the “Mission by the Sea” due to its oceanside location. Part of the Mission’s contributions to the area was the building of aqueducts to support both the existing Native population and the growing number of settlers. The original structure of the Ventura missionary church was not completed until 1809, and has had to repaired and have had aspects replaced since then. The San Buenaventura Mission is still home to an active parish, and the rapid growth means that the church and the garden are all that remains of the original Mission.
Visit the Mission
The Mission San Buenaventura is welcoming to visitors 7 days a week. In addition to the church and the beautiful gardens on site, there is also a museum and gift shop. The museum display artifacts from the Mission’s history and tells the story of its founding. The gift shop offers a variety of Christian and Catholic devotional items, gifts, seasonal items, and collectibles. Their most popular items, however, relate to the Mission’s founding and missionary history. Although you are more than welcome to wander the grounds of the San Buenaventura Mission on your own, they also offer daily guided tours for guests.
Your Ventura Vacation
Whether you are interested in the missionary history of California, or simply enjoy touring historical sites, the Mission San Buenaventura is a fun place to stop on your next vacation in Ventura. Wander the gardens, explore the historic chapel, and make a stop at the museum on site to truly experience the exceptional history of the Mission San Buenaventura!
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