Some key facts about Ventura, Santa Barbara  and San Fernando Missions

Excerpts from


  • Founded in September 8, 1797
  • Founded by Fr. Fermín Francisco de Lasuėn
  • The Mission Indian neophytes of San Fernando were referred to as Fernandino, after the mission. Though originally identifiede with the Tataviam and Tongva, in the 20th century mission Indian descendants of San Gabriel and San Fernando adopted the name Tongva. The Tongva were recognized as a distinct tribe by the State of California in 1994. They have sought Federal recognition for decades.
  • On March 8, 1842 Francisco Lopez, a majordomo on one of the mission ranches, discovered gold particles clinging to the roots of wild onion bulbs in Placerita Canyon. The gold petered out in four years, but this was the earliest gold strike in California. For years thereafter, treasure seekers dug up the mission’s adobe walls and floors to find the gold they mistakenly thought the padres had hidden.


  • Founded in December 4, 1786
  • Founded by Fr. Fermín Francisco de Lasuėn
  • The mission church is filled with original and noteworthy paintings and statues, including a unique abalone-encrusted Chumash altar dated to the 1790s. The two largest religious paintings in all of the missions are at Santa Barbara. One painting, 168″ high by 103″ wide, depicts the “Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin.” It is thought to have originated in the Mexico City studio of Miguel Mateo Maldonado y Cabrera (1695-1768) and was acquired by the mission in1798. “The Crucifixion” (168″ by 126″) is not attributed to a specific artist.
  • Santa Bárbara was the third mission established in the land of the Chumash people at the native site of Xana’yan. The neophytes were referred to as Barbareño (after the mission) and Canaleño.


  • Founded in March 31, 1782
  • Founded by Fr. Junipero Serra
  • The mission was located near the sizable Indian village of Mitsquanaqa’n with about 500 inhabitants. San Buenaventura is 70 miles north of Los Angeles in the city of Ventura, which developed around the mission.
  • The peak years for this mission were 1802-1821. The highest recorded population was 1,328 in 1816. During the mission era there were 1,107 marriages performed at San Buenaventura.
  • There is a well-landscaped garden with a fountain, stone grotto, and exterior displays on the east side of the church. The inviting mission Museum (built in 1929) contains the original church doors and two original wooden bells, which were used during Holy Week when the metal bells were silent..
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