The Purisima Mission was founded by Father Presidente Fermin de Lasuén in 1787. This was one of many Franciscan Missions which were established back then in Alta California. To be exact it was the 11th of 21 Missions. After an earthquake in December 1812, many of the buildings got destroyed. Father Mariano Payeras, therefore, relocated the mission community further north. The Purisima Mission was then established in its new location in April 1913.
In 1834 came an end to the California missions after the Mexican government gained independence from Spain. The property of this mission fell into private ownership. This is when the buildings fell into ruin. Only in 1933 the National Park Service restored and reconstructed most of the buildings.
Thanks to these efforts the "La Purísima Mission State Historic Park" is today the most completely restored mission in the whole of California. Ten of the original buildings are fully restored and furnished. Church, living quarters and a blacksmith with a shop can be seen today.
"Special living history events are scheduled throughout the year. A visitor center features information, displays and artifacts, and a self-guided tour gives visitors the opportunity to step back in time for a glimpse of a brief, turbulent period in California’s history." - parks.ca.gov
There are free guided tours being offered through the park which take place on certain days of the week and special times. The park is open seven days a week and invites visitors now again after the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Costumed staff and docents create demonstrations like candle making, blacksmithing, corn grinding, and other activities from March until October on selected days. This is called the Living History Event.
This State Park is an interesting visit for history buffs but also for those who enjoy a serene place to explore. The Park also offers lots of exploring on 25 miles of hiking trails. Next to hiking trails also horseback riding can be done in the park.
The La Purísima Mission State Historic Park offers many features for visitors. Next to the Historical and Cultural Site there is a Visitor center where guided tours can be booked and park maps can be purchased. Exhibits and Programs are taking place on certain days throughout the year. Picnic areas are available in the park where Nature and Wildlife Viewing can be done. Even Geocaching is an activity possible here.
The Camping Ground is currently still closed due to Covid restrictions but the park is open for day visitors.