Mission San Buenaventura

2 minutes read

San Buenaventura Mission is the ninth mission (over 21) established by the Franciscans along El Camino Real. Located in Ventura, a seaside community between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, let’s explore the founding, development, and fate of San Buenaventura Mission.

A pinch of history

  • The area has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years by the Chumash Native Americans people.
  • Chumash means “seashell people”
  • Mission San Buenaventura is the last mission founded personally by Father Junipero Serra
  • It is the first basilica in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the sixth in the State of California, and the 88th in the U.S.A.


On Easter day, March 31th, 1782, Father Junipero Serra founded Mission San Buenaventura. Named after Saint Bonaventure, this is the ninth mission along the Californian coast.

Father Junipero Serra

Did you know?

Buenaventura means Good fortune in Spanish.

Did you know?

Mission San Buenaventura was supposed to be the 3rd Mission. Its founding was postponed for 30 years due to the low availability of military escort!

The objectives of the Missions were to control more land in the New World and to evangelize Native Americans. 


Spaniards introduced a new religion, culture, agricultural methods, and domestics animals to the Native Americans.

Olive press

Did you know?

Spaniards named Chumash people Ventureño

Mission San Buenaventura extended quickly. According to numerous visitors like Captain George Vancouver (1793), gardens, vineyards, and orchards were abundant. The production included citrus fruits, wheat, corn, olives, grapes, peas, and more.

On its heyday in 1816, the Mission recorded 1,328 inhabitants, and 41,000 animals (23,400 cattle, 12,144 sheep, and 4,493 horses). 

Between 1805-1815, Father Cambon supervised the construction of an aqueduct. The 7.5 miles (11 km) channel delivered water from the San Antonio Creek to the agricultural land, and the community.

The city encompassed two filtering tanks, and a 26 by 30-foot lavanderia (a laundry). This system operated until the 1860s. It was destroyed two years later by flood and abandoned.

Water filtration tank above the Mission.

Don’t miss the two Norfolk Island Pines adjacent to the Mission. In 2000,  the American Beautiful Fund designated them as Millennium Landmark Trees.

According to the legend, a sea captain brought these trees from Norfolk Island. He planted them circa 1880 to use as mats replacement for his ships. He never returned, and the trees remained.


The secularization of the Missions in the 1830s and many natural disasters lead to deterioration. Only the restored church and garden remained today. The other parts of the Mission complex have been destroyed.

Since 1862, the date of its returned to the Catholic Church, Mission Buenaventura welcomes pilgrims and visitors.

Tour the Mission grounds and gift shop for more information and artifacts.

Did you know?

On June 9th, 2020, Pope Francis elevated Mission Buenaventura to the status of minor basilica.

Ready to explore the Mission?

Plan your visit:

  • Location : San Buenavanture Mission, 211 E. Main St.&Figueroa St., Ventura
  • Hours:
  • Duration: I spent 45 minutes discovering it.
  • Parking: street parking
  • More information available at https://www.sanbuenaventuramission.org/

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share it with a traveler visiting Ventura.

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