Mission Santa Barbara is the tenth of the 21 California Missions. It was founded by the Franciscan friar Fermín de Lasuén on December 4, 1786 which is the feast day of Saint Barbara. It is often called the Queen of the Missions because of its size, its beauty and the fact that it is named after a female saint. Likewise, Misson San Luis Rey is also large, named after a male saint (Saint Louis — King Louis IX of France) and is called the King of the Missions.
The Mission was secularized in 1833, returned to the Franciscans for two years in 1843 and then sold by the governor in 1845. Unlike most of the other missions, however, the Franciscans were still allowed to hold church services during this period of secularization that lasted until President Lincoln returned the property to the Catholic Church in 1863. In 1925 The Bishop of Los Angeles (he became an archbishop in 1936) gave the Mission back to the Franciscans but it still operates as a parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (the parish rents the church from the Franciscans).
Santa Barbara was also the only California mission to serve as a cathedral. In 1840 the Pope appointed Francisco García Diego y Moreno as the first Bishop of California and he chose Santa Barbara as his pro-cathedral but in 1859 Bishop Thaddeus Amat moved the cathedral of the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles to Los Angeles.
The Franciscans established a high school at the Mission in 1868 and different educational institutions were based at the Mission over the next hundred years. But the Franciscan School of Theology moved to Berkeley in 1968 and has just recently relocated to Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside.
The third church on the grounds was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812 and rebuilt in 1820. The present church was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1925 and underwent a major restoration shortly thereafter. All of the buildings are currently being retrofitted to be able to withstand a severe earthquake.
How to get to the Mission: Take the Mission Street exit on US-Highway 101 and drive east on Mission for about .9 miles. Then turn left on Laguna and you’re there! What you’ll find besides the church is a gift shop, a museum, a Franciscan Friary, some beautiful gardens and a retreat house. The Santa Barbara Mission-Archive Library, the oldest library in California, can also be found on the Mission grounds.
Santa Barbara is about 312 miles from our house in Castro Valley. My wife and I traveled down Highway 101 to visit Santa Barbara during the summer of 2004 which is when this picture was taken.
All of the prior photos in the Missions in Monochrome series were taken with my old Olympus 35 mm film camera. I took this shot with my first digital camera, a Canon Powershot G2. I used Lightroom last night to convert the photo to black and white.
This picture is my entry this week to Laura and Leanne’s Monochrome Madness Challenge. Why don’t you drop by Linda’s website and take a look at all of the other entries?