Explore California's 21 Missions




Mission Santa Cruz
Founded in September 25, 1791. Named for the Holy Cross. Nick named the "Hard Luck" Mission. In the early years of this Mission a group of rogues settled along the river directly across from the Mission. Smuggling, gambling, drinking and prostitution were the major activities of this rogue group. The trusting padres asked the rogues to help protect the mission against the pirate Buchard. The rogues ransacked the church's treasure and burned the Mission down. Early records show that the padres in this Mission had the lowest life expectancy of the Alta California Missions. The Mission was damaged by an earthquake in 1857. Rebuilt in 1885. Later a one third scale replica of the church was then built on the site.

Early painting depicting Mission Santa Cruz
Intimate church setting
Front of church
Father Serra
Church court yard
Stone baptismal fixture

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