126 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
August 28, 1791 - The 12th California Mission
Parish Chapel of the Parish of the Holy Cross of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey. The mission chapel is a reduced scale replica of the original church and is a popular site for weddings and baptisms.
Santa Cruz was founded on August 28, 1791, and is named for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Christianity. This mission is located on a bluff in the city of Santa Cruz, near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River.
126 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Mission Santa Cruz is located at the corner of Mission and High Streets, one block east of Highway 1 (Cabrillo Highway). Take Mission Street to High Street, turn left to reach the mission and Mission Park.
831-426-5686 - Mission Galeria Shop
831-423-4182 - Church Office
Please contact the mission directly by telephone or by visiting the mission website for the most current information.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is best to check for current information.
Weddings are held at both the Holy Cross Parish Church and the Mission Chapel. Visit the church Sacramental Preparation page for more detailed information.
1859 by President James Buchanan
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Christianity
Members of the Awaswas tribelet of the Costanoan family were the predominant early neophytes joined later by other Costanoans and Yokuts.
On a bluff in the city of Santa Cruz, near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River and the native site of Uypi on the Monterey Bay. Moved to this location in 1793.
Traditional quadrangle with a large garden and orchard near the mission.
San Lorenzo River and springs on the mission property.
Close proximity to the pueblo of Branciforte (present day Santa Cruz) and a series of natural disasters limited the success of this mission. The peak population recorded was only 523, achieved in 1796.
Santa Cruz ranked in the bottom 25% of the California Missions in the size of its livestock herd - 9,236 in 1832.
Approximately 75,000 bushels of grain and produce were produced over the active life of the mission.
The Santa Cruz Mission church was destroyed in earthquakes. A painting by Leon Trousset was based on details provided by the locals after a most devastating earthquake in 1857.
In 1858 a "modern" wooden church was erected where the mission church once stood. The ornate Gothic-style church seen today subsequently replaced it in 1887 by the current parish church.
The mission chapel is a well-executed, smaller (one-third scale) replica of the 1795 mission church. It was erected in 1931.
The original mission church, whose bell tower collapsed in 1840, contained nine (9) or ten (10) bells, none of which survived. The mission replica has a 20th century bell hanging in its tower.
The interior of the church has only a few original artifacts most of which were lost or destroyed in earthquakes.
Mission Santa Cruz (founded in 1791) moved to its present site, near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River, in 1793. The mission church was destroyed in an 1857 earthquake. A parish church was built directly over where the mission church once stood. A well-executed one-third scale replica of the mission church was erected in 1931.
This Historical Image Gallery contains a generous sample of the 19th century drawings and paintings of the original mission.
This Contemporary Image Gallery contains photographs from several different photographers depicting the restored mission chapel, the c. 1822 neophyte housing located in the adjacent Santa Cruz State Historic Park as well as some picturesque scenes from around the mission.
Mission Santa Cruz's final church was completed in 1795, four years after the mission was founded. An earthquake destroyed this church in 1857. A "modern" wooden church was built on the site of the mission church in 1858. The current ornate Gothic-style parish church was built in 1887. Because the historic mission church no longer existed, the Santa Cruz mission was not included in the Historic American Buildings Survey.