Mission San Buenaventura

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Mission San Buenaventura was founded on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1782 in Las Californias, part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain. Named for a Franciscan theologian, Saint Bonaventure, it was the last of the missions founded by Father Serra. Mission San Buenaventura was planned to be founded in the year 1770, but the founding was delayed because of the low availability of the military escorts needed to establish Mission San Buenaventura. In 1793, the first church burned down. Today, only a small section of the entire mission still stands; the Cemetery to the left of the church is covered by a school. It took the neophytes 16 years to build the new church, which still stands today.



A system of aqueducts were built by Chumash Indians between 1805–1815 to meet the needs of the Mission population and consisted of both ditches and elevated stone masonry. The watercourse ran from a point on the Ventura River about ½ mile north of the remaining ruins and carried the water to holding tanks behind the San Buenaventura Mission, a total of about 7 miles (11 km). The entire water distribution system was destroyed by floods and abandoned in 1862.

In 1893, Father Cyprian Rubio "modernized" the interior of the church, painting over the original artwork; when he finished, almost nothing remained of the old church. New priests restored the church to its original style in 1957. Today all that remains of the original Mission is the church and its garden. Services are still held in the parish church. A small museum sits at the Mission with displays of Chumash Indian artifacts and mission-era items.

Other historic designations

  • National Register of Historic Places #NPS–75000497 — Mission San Buenaventura Aqueduct
  • California Historical Landmark #113 — Site of "Junípero Serra's Cross" (the first cross on the hill known as La Loma de la Cruz, or the "Hill of the Cross") can be found in Grant Park, and was erected by Junípero Serra upon the Mission's founding
  • California Historical Landmark #114 — Old Mission Reservoir, part of the water system for Mission San Buenaventura (the settling tank or receiving reservoir; the site can be found in Eastwood Park)
  • California Historical Landmark #114–1 — Mission San Buenaventura Aqueduct (at Canada Larga Road) consists of two surviving sections of viaduct about 100 feet (30 m) long, made of cobblestone and mortar

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