Mission la Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima was founded on December 8, 1787. It is also known as Mission Vieja, or La Purisima Mission. Since it is state-owned, La Purisima is a State Historic Park. Located in Lompoc, California in the Santa Ines Valley, one of California’s wine country.
We first toured the museum. Many relics in enclosed glass, such as pottery, spearheads, music books, and other essentials used by Chumash and priests were on display. Afterwards, we walked down to see the Mission. After a hundred years, the mission was rebuilt on the original foundation by young and uneducated men, under Roosevelt’s New Deal (Civilian Conservation Corps CCC). In exchange for $30 each month and an education after work. It took the men 7 years to rebuild, and in 1941, La Purisima became a state park.
Like most missions, in 1812, La Purisima too succumbed to an earthquake, which destroyed the church, vestry, community kitchen, and shops. To rebuild, La Purisima moved about 4 miles from the original location to a more ideal place rich with resources. And in doing so, it brought the mission closer to El Camino Real, the pathway leading to all the missions. I was a bit scared entering the church, chapel, and some of the rooms. This mission felt big and isolated. The adobe rooms were cold…and eerie; though, I could not help but admire the colorful and beautiful murals. And once I stepped out, I felt relieved and welcomed the songs of birds and the warm breeze. A town normally grows around the mission; however, La Purisima being a state park, is away from civilization making it unique.
Compared to our prisons now, this prison is not a bit intimidating at all. In fact, it looks restful and homely.
The Chumash Indians called what became Lompoc, home. According to the brochure, “The Chumash religion was based on the cosmos – the sun, moon, and stars. A calendar was developed and oral histories passed down. Caves and rock walls were painted with animal and geometric designs…The Chumash were gentle people who loved music and games.” They also created songs for their entertainment. They were excellent in the crafts essential for survival. The men were great canoe builders, which enabled them to travel the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.
La Purisima Mission SHP, 2295 Purisima Rd., Lompoc, California or www.lapurisimamission.org. In case you want to visit. It is a beautiful area. Bring your water bottle, sun block, and sense of adventure. ps. watch out for poison ivy’s.