Established: August 28, 1791
By: Father Fermin Lasuen
Order: 12th of the 21 missions
Named for: the Sacred Cross
Location: 75 miles South of San Francisco
Interesting Fact: Records from 1835 mention the existence of ten mission bells but none of the original bells are there today.
Mission Santa Cruz was established in 1791 by Father Lasuen and it is the 12th mission. It was named for the Sacred Cross (Santa Cruz means Sacred Cross in Spanish). It is 75 miles south of San Francisco near the beautiful San Lorenzo River. It even has a view of Monterey Bay!
The original church was destroyed by a bunch of earthquakes in the mid-1800s so we don't really know what it looked like. They think it was 112 feet long, 35 fee wide and 25 feet high. They did built a half-size replica of the church in 1931, so if you go to visit Mission Santa Cruz that is the church you will see.
The mission buildings were arranged in the standard quadrangle around a central patio (see our section on architecture). The padres living quarters and workshops surrounded the patio. The ground corn and wheat in the mission's mill and also had lots of animals.
In 1834, the mission was secularized (meaning the church stopped controlling it) but then in 1859 it was returned to the church. Today is part of the California State Park system and you can even get married there!