Mission La Purisima – A Journey back in time

Mission La Purisima

Mission La Purisima

A view to the interior of a restored room at Mission La Purisima

“Living history” at Mission La Purisima, near Lompoc, CA
Photo by Anita Ritenour (“puliarf”) – link to original

I may well be in a minority, but I have never thought the study of history was dull and boring. Even as a child in school, I sensed that it was exciting because we were finding out how real people lived and acted and responded to circumstances.

This photo of the week was taken at the La Purisima Mission near the city of Lompoc in northern Santa Barbara County.

This mission, which was restored in the 1930’s to its condition around 1820, is the only complete mission complex among the 21 California missions.

La Purisima is now the La Purisima Mission State Historic Park and encompasses nearly 2000 acres.

If you visit here, you’ll find gardens, pastures, corrals and the fully-restored original water system which was built 200 years previous.

Like Mission San Antonio further north in Monterey County, you can imagine how it might feel to have lived in those days (at least until your cell phone rings).

Looking at this photo, it seems to be an “invitation” to enter into that long past time.

You first notice the threshold that is worn by the passage of many feet. You see the table with candles lit, perhaps for the evening meal. It is simple and rustic and still it is honorable as the place to join with others and break bread.

Looking to the far wall, we see the smoke of many fires which have cooked simple meals from items raised or grown on the mission grounds. A view of the restored interior at La Purisima Mission

I find myself asking: “How would it be to live this way, without modern conveniences? Would I be able to do it?”

And of course, the answer is that if born into that time, we wouldn’t know any different. So the question is really who were these people?

There is a prevalent line of thought that we today with all our technical achievements (and they are many and wonderful) are somehow more advanced in every way.

I don’t think that is so. But perhaps now you can see why the study of history and especially opportunities for being “immersed” in historical places like La Purisima Mission is so interesting.

An exterior view of Mission La Purisima

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