La Purísima Concepción

La Purísima Concepción

General Information


December 8, 1787 - The 11th California Mission

Also Called:

La Purísima sometimes referred to as the "Linear Mission". Other times, referred to as "La Purísima Concepción De María Santísima".

Current Status:

Now a California State Historic Park surrounded by approximately 2,000 acres of parkland. It is the most fully-restored mission in California.


La Purísima Concepción is the most completely restored California mission, with over twenty buildings. The mission was founded on December 8, 1787. This is the only mission that is a "living museum" with docents in period costume walking the grounds and live animals in a mission coral. La Purísima is now a California State Historic Park.


2295 Purisima Road
Lompoc, CA 93436
United States

Get Directions

Special Designation for La Purísima Mission

This mission is run by an organization known as Prelado. Prelado's support provides La Purísima Mission State Historic Park with animal care, money for enrichment programs, docent training, building repairs and many other aspects of operating this historic park.

The Prelado de los Tesoros (keepers of the treasures of La Purísima) is one of the largest and most robust group of trained volunteers in California. Docent candidates undergo eight (8) weeks of training and must accumulate 96 hours of volunteer work before they officially become docents.

Telephone and website information are provided below.


805-733-3713 - Park

805-736-3605 - Gift Shop

Fees, Hours and Tours

Please contact Prelado de los Tesoros de La Purísima directly by telephone or by visiting their website for the most current information regarding fees, hours of operation and tours.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is best to check for current information.

Weddings and Other Special Services

La Purísima Mission State Historic Park offers a bucolic and relaxed setting for weddings and events, surrounded by historic buildings and tucked within a small canyon, La Cañada de los Berros. Visit the CA Department of Parks and Recreation website for more information regarding the options available.

Special Events

The park stages "special" days throughout the year. Check the most current calendar for a list of scheduled events.

Unique Attractions

  • La Purísima is a "living history" museum. Time your visit on a day when there are special activities or an encampment scheduled.
  • There are always docents in period costumes that create a realistic feel for life in the mission era.
  • The mission complex has been extensively restored and even includes an active blacksmith shop at the far end of the property.
  • La Purísima is the only California mission with live animals (carefully selected to reflect the animals of the mission era).
  • Most of the missions were laid out in quadrangle format (including La Purísima at its first site).
  • When the mission was rebuilt at a new and safer spot between 1813-1815, it was laid out in a linear fashion.
La Purísima Mission Reenactment
La Purísima Mission Reenactment
La Purísima Docent in Garden
La Purísima Docent in Garden
La Purísima Longhorn Grazing
La Purísima Longhorn Grazing
La Purísima Mission Livestock Corral
La Purísima Mission Livestock Corral
La Purísima Blacksmith
La Purísima Blacksmith

Other Historic Attractions

Make time to enjoy the town of Lompoc and its incredible collection of thirty-six (36) large murals. Download a copy of the Murals of Lompoc before visiting.

Tips for Visitors

  • Allow plenty of time to explore and enjoy this mission, wear comfortable shoes and pick a sunny pleasant day.
  • If at all possible, visit La Purísima during one of the Special Event Days.

Year Secularized


Year Returned to Catholic Church

1874 - subsequently much of the land was sold.

Patron Saint (Named For)

Mary, Mother of Jesus. The name honors "The Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Most Pure".

Prominent Missionary Leaders

  • Founding Father President - Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén.
  • Founding Missionaries - Fr. Vincente Fuster and Fr. José Arroíta.
  • Prominent Missionaries - Fr. Mariano Payeras served nineteen (19) years at this mission.
Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén
Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén

Indians Joining Mission

This mission was established in the land of the Chumash people. The Chumash, who joined the La Purísima Mission were the Purismeño  (from villages near the mission), the Ineseño (from villages closer to Santa Barbara), and the Island Chumash. There were also the Yokuts at this mission.

Chumash Village
Chumash Village

Mission Site

Originally established at the Indian Village of Algsacupi on the edge of present-day Lompoc. An earthquake on December 21, 1812 destroyed the mission, which was then relocated about 4.5 miles to the northeast in the Valley of the Watercress.

Mission Layout

The rebuilt mission (completed between 1815-1818) was laid out in linear fashion, the only California mission not organized as a quadrangle.

Water Source

Springs in hills three (3) miles away. The mission had an elaborate system of open aqueducts, pipes, reservoirs, and dams.


The mission population ranged from 900 to 1,100 most years between 1798-1818, with a peak population of 1,520 in 1804.


The peak number of livestock at La Purísima was 22,764 in 1822 (10,000 cattle, 11,000 sheep, 46 goats, 104 pigs, 1,367 horses, and 247 mules).

La Purísima Cattle Brand
La Purísima Cattle Brand

Agricultural Output

Between the years 1788-1834, La Purísima harvested 189,276 bushels of wheat, barley, corn, beans, peas, lentils, garbanzos (chickpeas), and habas (broad beans). This was the third largest agricultural output in the mission chain.

There were two large vineyards, Jalama was eight (8) miles south of the mission and San Francisco was two (2) miles east.

Mission Church

The mission church, which has a simple exterior, has been handsomely restored. Located as it is in a State Historic Park, it is not an active church.

La Purísima Church Interior
La Purísima Church Interior

Mission Bells

The campanario (bell tower) was copied after the one at Santa Inés since no records existed that described the original design. The bell tower has two rolling bells and one stationary bell.

Mission Art and Artifacts

The mission museum and the new Visitors' Center and Exhibit Hall display many period artifacts including an 1818 bell, a complete set of vestments, a handsome confessional, tools and tiles, and two original paintings from the mission.

Significant Events

In 1824, a revolt of the neophytes that began in Santa Inés spread to La Purísima. The rebels captured the mission and held it for about a month. In the battle, sixteen (16) Indians and one soldier died. Seven (7) Indians were condemned to death.

Interesting Facts

  • For four (4) years, when Fr. Payéras served as Father President, La Purísima was headquarters of the mission chain.
  • La Purísima is the most fully-restored mission, with over 20 buildings and a corral. Restoration was completed between 1934-1942 by the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
  • The mission is a frequent site for historical reenactments and encampments.
La Purísima Mission Livestock Corral
La Purísima Mission Livestock Corral
La Purísima Mission Reenactment
La Purísima Mission Reenactment

For Additional Information

  • The Missions - California's Heritage : Mission La Purisima Concepcion by Mary Null Boule (a popular summary, published in 1988 as part of the author’s series on all of the California Missions; somewhat dated).
  • La Purisima Mission - A Pictorial History by Joseph H. Engbeck, Jr. (a 1987 California Department of Parks booklet).
  • A Mission for the People: The Story of La Purisima by Mary Ann Fraser (published by Henry Holt Company in 1997, extensively illustrated).
  • An Archeological and Restoration Study of Mission La Purísima Concepción: Reports Written for the National Park Service by Fred C. Hageman and Russell C. Ewing. (A 302 -page substantive study, sponsored by Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, published in 1980).
  • Mission La Concepcion Purisima by Fr. Zephyrin Engelhardt (this is the definitive early history of the mission, published in 1932, available in many libraries).