In dedication of a mission to San Buenaventura, a cross was raised at "la playa de la canal de Santa Barbara," (the beach of Santa Barbara Channel) on March 31, 1782 by Fray Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest and scholar.
This would be the ninth and final mission founded by Padre Serra within his lifetime.
A seven mile long aqueduct was built to bring Ventura River water directly to the Mission. With this commodity, the finest orchards and gardens could flourish there.
The Mission's first church building was said to have been destroyed by fire, but in 1792, construction was underway and completed somewhat later in 1809. Then in 1892, the Mission's tile roof had to be replaced due to severe earthquake damage, and replaced once more in 1976.
The Mission, though restored in the 1800's in hopes of modernizing the church, had been reconstructed under the supervision of Father Aubrey J. O'Reilly in 1956-1957 in order to bring back the original atmosphere many years back.
The old Mission, located at 100 East Main Street in historic downtown Ventura, can be viewed daily, sunrise to sunset, except major holidays.
Guided tours can be arranged through the Ventura County Historical Museum, 653-0323.