We spent a week-end in Lompoc a couple of years ago with our grandson, then nine years old. All fourth-graders in California’s public schools learn about the California Missions and the mission assigned to our grandson was La Misión de La Purísima Concepción de la Santísima Virgen María, or The Mission of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the 11th of the 21 California Missions and was founded on December 8, 1787 by Spanish missionaries. Our grandson has a strong interest in history and geography and the trip was a real treat for him. And it was a treat for us just having him along for a road-trip!
La Purisma Mission is located just northeast of Lompoc in Santa Barbara County and is about 275 miles south of our Crow Canyon home in the East Bay of San Francisco. The site is now a state historic park and is managed jointly by the State Parks and Recreation Department and a non-profit organization called Prelado de los Tesoros de la Purisima. Click here to visit their website for more information on the historic park whose buildings were restored in the 1930s to look just like they did in the 1820s.
Once a month or so the park celebrates their Live History Days and we were fortunate to visit during one of those celebrations where local volunteer docents dressed as Native Americans, padres and soldiers showed us how people lived in La Purisma in 1822. We had an interesting conversation with one of the docents who told us she was a school teacher, now retired, who came west with her rocket-scientist husband when he was offered a job at nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base.
This photo from our weekend trip will be my entry this week to Laura and Leanne’s Monochrome Madness Challenge over on Leanne’s website.
Here are a few more photos of La Purisma I took that day:
The next day we drove about a half-hour south to Solvang where we visited the Santa Ines Mission which, unlike La Purisma, is still an active Catholic parish. Then we drove home on Highway 101, passing another mission, San Miguel Arcangel, on the way.
We visited about a dozen of the California Missions over the years. I’ll write about some of these trips in future postings.