Old Mission Santa Barbara

I had the chance to visit Old Mission Santa Barbara on January 20, 2020 on my way to Solvang. This was my first time visiting a mission. It was an interesting experience, and I learned quite a few interesting facts that provided me with better insight of its history. This mission was officially established on December 4, 1786, and it was the tenth mission originated by the Spanish Franciscans and is currently occupied by a group of Franciscan Friars. The land in which this mission is situated was previously used for farming wheat, beans, barley, corn, and peas. Unfortunately, the weather would occasionally destroy the crops due to natural disasters such as droughts and floods. The Indians overcame this misfortune and were able to find ways that would allow these crops to sill flourish. The padres established a watering system to water the crops using the adobe clay pipes and stone troughs. The padres would bring seeds from Mexico, so that the Indians could plant and raise these crops. The land also had livestock that included sheep, pigs, donkeys, and cows, which eventually grew in number. The Indians were also responsible of herding the cows. This mission is said to be one of the largest and most pronounced among the missions because of its Greco-Roman architectural appearance. During lecture, there was a huge emphasis on the red tiled roofs and the bell towers of the missions. This mission has somewhat of a dull red tiled roofing. Mission Santa Barbara stands out from all the other missions because it is the only mission composed of two bell towers with six bells in total. In the past, these bell towers served as a means of calling the Native Americans and the padres for work purposes. In addition, these bell towers were constructed at different times; one was built in 1820, while the other one was built in 1831. There are many more historical elements to this mission, but these were the ones I found the most interesting.

One Comment

  1. AB


    Thank you so much for this post. I, too, am fascinated by the history of the missions, and although I haven’t visited Old Mission Santa Barbara, this post has helped to further my knowledge of said history.

    It is an incredible fact that many of the crops grown on the land were destroyed by natural disasters, and even more so that the Native Americans were able to overcome these obstacles. It is especially sad to me, considering that Native Americans weren’t exactly in the best conditions, yet they still were able to save the crops.

    It seems like the Native Americans really did most of the “dirty work” at these Missions, and it makes me wonder if there are any memorials of, or some sort of dedication to, them at any of the Missions which still stand today.

    I hope to visit this site some day, and thank you once again.

    – Alara B.

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