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May 15, 2018

Missions of the Gaviota Coast

The Gaviota Coast refers to the rural, undeveloped section of the California coast from the western (aka northern) edge of Goleta to Point Conception at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Of the 21 California Missions 2 are located along El Camino Real (Royal Road) in the Santa Ynez Valley (Saint Agnes) above the Gaviota Coast.  Each of the 21 California missions was a self-sustaining community, mission life was hard.  The Franciscan Padres did not wander pristine gardens with hands clasped in prayer.  The gardens contained vegetables and there was always work to be done. 

Each of the missions had two Franciscan Padres, one to meet the spiritual needs of the community, another to handle the business aspects of the mission.  I went back up the hill Monday to visit the 2 missions.

La Purisima Mission, now a California State Historic Park, is the most complete of all the California missions.  It displays the best representation of early mission life.
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Originally established in 1787 it was the 11th California Franciscan Mission.  In its heyday there were over 100 buildings on 2000 acres of land, but weather, neglect the 1812 earthquake left the buildings in ruin.  Union Oil acquired the property and donated it to the public in 1933.  By this time only 9 of the buildings remained intact.  Restoration began in 1934,  La Purisima Mission is the only example in California of a complete mission complex.  And there are no ornamental gardens …
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I wonder if the bell at the top of the carillon is original … I’d ask at the Visitor Center, but it is closed on Mondays!
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Franciscan Father Mariano Payeras served the mission until his death in 1923.  His grave is at the base of the altar.
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A presidio was maintained at every mission.  Each soldier had a small space to contain his belongings.  Outside of the buildings are long shaded walkways to offer a cool reprieve from heat or shelter from the rains.
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Ox carts were used to carry heavy loads of buildings materials or the results of the harvest.
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Wool was spun into yarn and woven into clothing and blankets.
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A complete leather factory produced every thing for clothing, to saddles or the rawhide for binding strips.  The blacksmith forged what was needed for repairs or construction.
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The Chumash Indians that chose to live at the mission were provided apartments.
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Although much of the orchards are now gone, trails cover the mission grounds to where cattle once grazed.
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I did not follow much of the trail system as I immediately recognized this 3-some on the smooth red stems.  No these are not wild blackberry bushes!
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Had I taken this loop trail in the other direction I would have had advance warning.
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Santa Ines Mission is in Solvang, across the street from the RV parking.  Established in 1804 it was the 19th California Franciscan Mission.  Santa Ines is another spelling for Santa Ynez, both are pronounced the same.
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For many this is a favorite destination.  The church stands on the original foundation giving the mission claim to the longest continuous use mission.
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The courtyard contains a beautiful well maintained garden.
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The first college in California was built at the mission.  There are no pictures or rendering of the building itself.  I did find it interesting that the Chumash built it using asphalt from the tar deposits.
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Mission Santa Ines also has the distinction of being the home of the Chumash Revolt in 1824.  The Chumash revolted not just at Santa Ines but also with coordinated efforts La Purisima and Santa Barbara missions.  The mission at La Purisima was captured from within.  The Mexican army used cannons to quell the siege and the mission never recovered from the damage.

The portico looks inviting
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I’ll save my day in Santa Barbara for the next post.  Until then thanks for stopping by.
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