- August 28, 1791
- 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.
- 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.
Key Facts About This Mission
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Christianity
Founding Father President
Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén
Frs. Isídro Salazar and Balamero López
Indians Joining Mission
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 San Cruz Mission church was destroyed in earthquakes. A painting by 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.
The current 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 or ten bells, none of which have survived. The mission replica has a 20th century bell hanging in tower
The interior of the church has only a few original artifacts, most of which were lost or destroyed in earthquakes.
The residents of the nearby pueblo of Branciforte looted the mission in 1818 after the mission's inhabitants fled under threat of pirate attack by Hippolyte de Bouchard. The pueblo was founded with former prison convicts from Guadalajara.
Year Returned to Catholic Church
1859, by President James Buchanan
The first autopsy in California was performed on Fr. Andrés Quintana in 1812, to determine the cause of death (poisoning was suspected).
The remains of Gladys S. Doyle, who funded the construction of the mission's one-third scale church replica, are buried in the church baptistery.
The only original mission neophyte housing in California is at the nearby State Historic Park.
Ostrow, K. (2004). Mission Santa Cruz. (PowerKids Press, Missions of California Series)
Weber, F.J. (1984). Holy Cross Mission: a Documentary History of Santa Cruz.
Van Coenen Torchiana, H.A. (1918). Story of Mission Santa Cruz