Friday, January 10: After leaving Santa Barbara, I head south to Ventura so I can visit one more of the California missions, Mission San Buenaventura. The mission sits directly on Ventura’s main street, so it’s difficult to believe it was once surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and grain fields.
A reservoir and aqueduct system seven miles long supplied water to the buildings and fields, which extended from the foothills to the Pacific Ocean, making it a garden spot of the missions.
A strong earthquake in 1812 caused a tsunami so large that the padres and Indian neophytes were forced to take shelter on higher ground, although the mission wasn’t destroyed.
Six years later, the padres and their flock had to remove sacred objects from the church and flee into the hills to elude a pirate who was pillaging the Missions, but fortunately was headed off after a “bargaining session” at El Refugio in Santa Barbara.
Another earthquake in 1857 damaged the roof so badly that the red tiles were replaced with shingles. The tile roof was restored during the 1920s. The museum has two old wooden bells, the only ones of their type known in California.
Mission San Buenaventura had been planned as the third in the chain of twenty-one Missions founded by Fray Junipero Serra, but was destined to be the ninth and last founded during his lifetime, and one of six he personally dedicated.
Below is the church at the mission, from Figueroa Plaza.
Around Figueroa Plaza is some fun wall art.
I stand in the middle of East Main Street when no cars are coming to get a picture of the little town of Ventura. It looks like a nice town to linger in, but I have a date to meet Rosie of Wandering Rosie tonight at her home in Los Angeles. She’s kindly invited me to stay for two nights. Tomorrow we’ll attend a day-long inaugural Poets & Writers ((LIVE)) seminar.