California missions spotlight: See how San Buenaventura in Ventura conquered fire, earthquake

San Buenaventura, ninth mission, 1782
At night, downtown Ventura lights up the mission.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

San Buenaventura, Ventura

Ninth mission


Explore all of California’s 21 famed missions >>


This was the last of the nine missions founded by Father Junípero Serra. Destroyed by fire in 1793 and rebuilt after an 1812 earthquake, the church was dramatically modernized in the 1890s, then restored to a historical appearance in the 1950s. The almost overflowing mission museum includes two wooden bells, Chumash baskets and a confessional made from Spanish shipping containers. In the church there’s a copper baptismal font that dates to the mission’s early years.

Nearby: The neighboring Museum of Ventura County ( at 100 E. Main St. has exhibits on the Chumash people before European contact as well as contemporary art. The heart of downtown Ventura is just east of the mission, with many restaurants and shops along highly walkable Main Street.

Info: 211 E. Main St., Ventura; (805) 643-4318, Driving distance from Los Angeles City Hall: 74 miles northwest.

From the archives:


In 1912, The Times covered the installation of a new cross at San Buenaventura to replace the one Father Junípero Serra put up in 1782.

In 1997, The Times reported on the discovery of old blueprints that shed new light on the use of rooms of the Ventura mission.

Interested in the stories shaping California? Sign up for the free Essential California newsletter >>