What Interesting Facts Does the Mission Santa Barbara Have?

What Interesting Facts Does the Mission Santa Barbara Have?
The Santa Barbara Mission was founded on the Feast of St. Barbara in 1786 and is a prime example of the graceful Spanish-style architecture for which the Southern California city is known.

Part of a Chain

It is the 10th in a chain of 21 missions founded by Spanish padres and built along 650 miles of El Camino Real (The Royal Highway), from San Diego in the south to San Francisco in the north.


The Chumash Indians built the mission with the assistance of stonemasons from Mission San Luis Rey. The Moorish fountain and rectangular tiled lavanderia where the Chumash women did their laundry can be seen in the front grounds of the mission.

Art and History

The mission church features many fine examples of 18th and 19th century Mexican art, including two large paintings more than 200 years old. In the cemetery on the mission grounds, old tombstones show the cultural diversity of Santa Barbara's early settlers.

Early Days

The original purpose of the mission was the Christianization of the local Native American population. The mission was also a center of commerce, with industries focused on animal husbandry, agriculture, weaving, pottery and basket-making.

Tourist Information

The Santa Barbara Mission has a gift shop with religious items for sale. There is also a small museum on site featuring religious artifacts, the reconstruction of a missionary's bedroom and examples of Chumash tools and baskets. Guided tours of the mission and its grounds are available.

Article Written By Josefin Kannin

Josefin Kannin is a freelance writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She has worked as a writer and copy editor for print publications including the Santa Barbara Independent, The Stranger, and the JT News.

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