Considered to be the most complete, restored church of the Alta California missions, Mission La Purisima State Historic Park was officially founded in 1787, the eleventh church of the 21 California missions. The church's translated name identifies as Mission of the Immaculate Conception of Most Holy Mary, established by Father Presidente Fermin de Lasuén. Many of the original buildings were destroyed in an earthquake in 1812, and many others have deteriorated over the years, though ten have been almost completely restored and furnished to authentic conditions.
Located in beautiful Santa Barbara County, Mission La Purisima State Historic Park offers visitors a deeper look into the history of early California through a religious and political lens. The Alta California Missions had been growing steadily until the early 19th century when the Mexican government took over from the Spanish and turned over all mission churches to the secular authorities. In the following years, many of the churches fell into disrepair. Thus was the history of Mission La Purisima. It wasn't until 1933 when an oil company purchased a great deal of land in the area and deeded the mission church over to the State of California, to be fashioned into a state park and restored to its former glory.
Recognizable by its pinkish adobe hue and Spanish style architecture, La Purisima is as enlightening today as it was when it was first opened. Unlike many of the Alta California missions, La Purisima is no longer an operating church though it is still open for the thousands of yearly visitors curious about the history of the area. The buildings are situated on a 2,000 acre park with 25 miles of hiking trails, live historical demonstrations of weaving and blacksmithing, and more. The park is open daily for self-guided tours.