Widely referred to as the "Queen of Missions," this is one of the most beautiful and frequently photographed buildings in coastal California. Dating to 1786, the architecture evolved from adobe-brick buildings with thatch roofs to more permanent edifices as the mission's population burgeoned. An earthquake in 1812 destroyed the third church built on the site. Its replacement, the present structure, is still a functioning Catholic church. Mission Santa Barbara has a splendid
Spanish/Mexican colonial art collection, as well as Chumash sculptures and the only Native American–made altar and tabernacle left in the California missions. Docents lead 60-minute tours ($8 adult) Thursday and Friday at 11 and Saturday at 10:30.
Feb 14, 2003
As a resident of Santa Barbara and a lover of history, I have visited this mission several times. Each time, I discover something new at this unique and beautiful bit of California's past.