Santa Cruz The
Mission in the California Mission Chain Founded 14 September
1791 by Father Fermín Francisco de Lasuén
Naming of Mission:
means "Holy Cross" in Spanish. The full Spanish name of
the mission is "Misión la exaltación de la Santa
Cruz," named after a feast day in the Church calendar which
occurs on September 14: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross,
celebrating the Christian symbol of the cross on which Jesus was
crucified. The church was completed in
1794. It was 112 feet long and 29 feet wide.
South of San Jose and the
San Francisco Bay area on Monterey Bay's northern edge.
The mission was founded on
14 September 1791 by Father Lasuen. The first Padres here were
Alonzo Salazar and Baldomero Lopez. They wanted the mission to be
near good water to help them with growing their crops as well as to
have good drinking water. To help them get started, other missions
gave the new mission supplies and animals. This was very helpful for
the new Fathers at the mission. The first church was built of adobe
bricks and used the native Redwood for lumber. The roof was thatched
as were many of the early missions. The traditional tile roofs came
later. Since the first mission was built next to the San Lorenzo
River, the Padres thought they would have good water to use. They
did, but during the rainy season, the river was known to overflow.
It did so soon after the mission was built, washing it away. The
floor of the first church also was made of dirt which didn't offer a
good foundation whenever the rains came. The second site was chosen
on the top of the hill.
The mission did better on
the top of the hill than it had by the River. The new church had a
bell tower with nine bells in it. The church
was completed in 1794 and was 112 feet long and 29 feet wide.
Mission Santa Cruz grew crops and raised animals like all the
other missions, but they also utilized the Redwood trees which were
in the area abundantly. All the missions received lumber from the
Santa Cruz Mission. The two local Native American tribes here were
the Ohlone and the Zayante, but they were eventually just known as
the Santa Cruz Indians.
In 1797, The new pueblo of
Branciforte was built just a few miles from the mission causing the
Padres much consternation. The town was mostly populated by
ex-convicts and people with criminal pasts. The very vices the
Padres were helping the Natives to let go of were the ones espoused
by the people of the pueblo. It caused great troubles for the
mission, even the robbery of the mission while the Padres were away.
In 1840, there was a
strong earthquake which knocked down the belltower, including the
bells. They say the bells awakened the entire town of Santa Cruz
when they fell. The rest of the mission did not fall, but it was
greatly weakened by the quake. In 1857, there was another strong
earthquake. This quake did more damage because the buildings were in
a much more susceptible condition. The nine bells were sent to the
San Francisco Mission where they remain today. The Padres didn't
want to see the mission in ruins, so they quickly built a new
church. This one was made of wood rather than adobe. They weren't
able to take the time to build a larger church. Later, in 1889, a
large gothic-style church was built of stone and it still used today
by the Holy Cross Parish in Santa Cruz. Nothing remained of the
original mission church.
Due to the efforts of
Gladys Sullivan Doyle, the mission church was replicated on the
original hilltop site in 1931 next to the Holy Cross Church still
standing on the original mission chapel site. She left all her money
for the re-building of the mission here in Santa Cruz. It isn't as
large as the original because of the lack of funds, but just as
beautiful. Mrs. Doyle is buried at the mission church.
Contact the Mission:
Mission Santa Cruz Mission
Plaza High Street at Emmet Street Santa Cruz, California
95060 Park Office: 831-425-5849
Mission Santa Cruz is
known as "the hard luck mission." Due to its many
mis-adventures over the years.
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last updated on 28 June 2012 at 1:03 pm
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