Buenaventura Report

Mission Report: San Buenaventura

Date: 5/3/95

Travel Statistics:


We arrived in Ventura at 2:00 pm this afternoon. It's been exciting to visit this Mission and it's beautiful gardens. This Mission was the very last one that Father Serra ever founded, yet it's the first one that we are visiting. I guess we decided to start at the end!

San Buenaventura was founded March 31st, 1782. In 1812 there was a terrible earthquake (this same earthquake damaged almost all 21 of the Missions!). This earthquake caused a tidal wave so big that the people at the Mission feared for their homes even though the Mission is about 1/2 mile from the beach!

In 1818 a pirate named Bouchard was sighted near this mission. This news scared Father Jose Señan. He decided to pack up all the Missions valuables and hide in the hills while this pirate passed by.


We learned something interesting about the Native American Indians who lived at this Mission. This is a door on the side of the church that has a "Moorish" design over it. ("Moorish" means of Moroccan influence.) We have sent you a picture of this door. The Indians interpreted this design in the following way: They thought that the small statue of the Virgin Mary over this door represented the Mission and that the two sloping lines on each side of the Virgin represented the two rivers that pass on each side of the Mission. For the Indians the upper line that looks sort of like a mountain represented the hill on the west side of the Mission.


  1. This Mission used to use wooden bells. It is the only Mission ever to use bells made of wood. These bells have a metal ring inside them that makes noise when the metal clapper hits it. (Sorry we couldn't get a picture of these!)


  1. Why do you think the Indians interpreted the Spaniard's design above the door in this way?

More Soon!

--Brian and Matt

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