Mission La Purísima Concepción

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Spanish missions in California

Deakin LPC circa 1899.jpg
Mission La Purísima Concepción, circa 1899.[1]
Location: Lompoc, California
Coordinates: 34° 40′ 13.69″ N, 120° 25′ 14.22″ W
Name as Founded: La Misión de La Purísima Concepción de la Santísima Virgen María [2]
English Translation: The Mission of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
Namesake: The Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary [3]
Nickname(s): "The Linear Mission" [4]
Founding Date: December 8, 1787 [5]
Founded By: Father Fermín Lasuén [6]
Founding Order: Eleventh [3]
Headquarters of the Alta California Mission System: 1815–1819 [7]
Military District: Second [8]
Native Tribe(s):
Spanish Name(s):
Primordial Place Name(s): Laxshakupi, 'Amuwu [9]
Baptisms: 3,255 [10]
Marriages: 1,029 [10]
Burials: 2,609 [10]
Secularized: 1834 [3]
Returned to the Church: 1874 [11]
Caretaker: California Department of Parks and Recreation
Current Use: Museum / State Historic Park
Current Land Area: 1,934 acres
National Historic Landmark: #340
Date added to the NRHP: 1970
California Historical Landmark: #200
Web Site: http://www.lapurisimamission.org

Mission La Purísima Concepción is a former religious outpost established by Spanish colonists on the west coast of North America in the present-day State of California. Founded on December 8 ("Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin"), 1787 by Roman Catholics of the Franciscan Order, the settlement was the eleventh in the twenty-one mission Alta California chain. Named for The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Mission La Purísima lacks the tradition quadrangle found in most other Spanish missions (giving rise to its nickname, "The Linear Mission"). La Purísima is the only mission out of the twenty returned properties that was not retained by the Church (the site was subsequently donated to the State of California). Designated as a historic landmark at both the state and national levels, today the Mission operates as a museum administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation as part of the La Purísima Mission State Historic Park.

Other missions bearing the name La Purísima Concepción include:

Mission Puerto de Purísima Concepción near Yuma, Arizona,
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña in San Antonio, Texas,
Misión La Purísima Concepción de Cadegomó in Baja California Sur,
Misión La Purísima Concepción de Caborca in Caborca, Sonora, Mexico, and
Misión La Purísima Concepción de Hawikuh located in Cibola County, New Mexico.


Mission Period (1769 – 1833)

The present site is located east of the City of Lompoc, California between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The City of Lompoc was so small that the Roman Catholic Church made an exception to the rule that no mission is to be established within seven miles from any city (the original site of La Purísima was only one mile from the tiny town). It was moved four miles east of the town in 1812 after the Santa Barbara Earthquake severely damaged the Mission buildings on December 21st of that year. In 1824, there was a major Indian revolt at the Mission. Spain had stopped funding the missions after Mexico won its independence, and there were many soldiers at the Mission who were no longer being paid and took out their frustrations on the local Chumash Indians. A soldier had beat an Indian at Mission Santa Inés and a revolt spread to Mission La Purísima, where the Indians took over the Mission for one month until more soldiers arrived from Monterey; after a three-hour battle, the Indians lost. Many of the Indians left the Mission soon thereafter; those who did not fight and were hiding in the mountains during the revolt came back to the Mission, but there were not enough of them to keep the Mission going as it once had.

Rancho Period (1834 – 1849)

California Statehood (1850 – 1900)

Following Mexican secularization in 1843, the grounds were abandoned. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation on January 24, 1874 that restored ownership of the Mission proper to the Roman Catholic Church.[12]

20th century and beyond (1901 – present)

The Union Oil Company purchased almost the entire landholdings in 1903.[13] In 1934, only nine of the buildings remained. The Civilian Conservation Corps pledged to restore the Mission if enough land could given back to make the Mission into a historical monument. The Church and the Union Oil Company then donated enough land for the restoration. The buildings were all reinforced and reconstructed (including many small structures and the original water system) to such an extent that La Purísima is considered to be the only example in California of a "complete" mission complex. The dedication day for the newly-restored Mission La Purísima Concepción was December 7, 1941.

Other designations

Notes and references

  1. (PD) Painting: Edwin Deakin
  2. Leffingwell, p. 79
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Krell, p. 202
  4. Ruscin, p. 97
  5. Yenne, p. 104
  6. Ruscin, p. 196
  7. Yenne, p. 186
  8. Forbes, p. 202
  9. Ruscin, p. 195
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Krell, p. 315: as of December 31, 1832; information adapted from Engelhardt's Missions and Missionaries of California.
  11. Krell, p. 202: The property was subsequently sold in 1874 due to its dilapidated state, and acquired by the State of California in 1935.
  12. Leffingwell, p. 82
  13. Leffingwell, p. 82