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A Tour of Early California Architecture from San Diego to Sonoma

The Spanish missions of California represent the state’s oldest and richest architectural legacy. Established in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century by Franciscan missionaries, the missions were designed by artisans from Mexico, and built and decorated largely by Native Americans. Learn More The California …

old mission san buenaventura basilica

Mission San Buenaventura

All that remains of the original mission is the church and its garden. A small museum sits at the mission with displays of Chumash Indian artifacts and mission-era items. Located in the historic downtown of Ventura, very few California missions had the center of business …

on the california missions trail

Guess Who is Walking the Trail from Sonoma to San Diego?

In his latest project, travel guide and author Sanford “Sandy” Brown is making preparations to write a guidebook for the California Missions Trail, the 815-mile walking/biking itinerary…

antique mission trail postcard

The Road the Famous Fathers Trod

Postcards from the first half of the 20th century give us a glimpse of the past. The route shown on the postcard below has the missions often located on spurs that are off the main road. The postcard shows an image of the Monterey …

mission la purisima historic state park

La Purísima Mission State Historic Park is within the California State Parks System

Mission La Purísima was originally established at a site known to the Chumash people as Algsacpi and to the Spanish as the plain of Río Santa Rosa, one mile south of Lompoc. 

Drawing by Henry Chapman Ford

Turn of the Century Drawing of the Mission San Juan Bautista

In the summers of 1880 and 1881, while living in Santa Barbara, California, Henry C. Ford traveled by horse and buggy to each mission. In 1893, he exhibited his mission etchings at the Chicago World’s Fair. He died in 1894, leaving behind his California mission paintings.