The Santa Barbara Mission was the tenth of the California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans. December 4, 1786.
The original buildings were made of adobe. Over time three adobe churches were constructed on the grounds, each larger than the one before until the fourth and present church was built in 1820.
The earthquake of June 29, 1925 caused considerable damage. Restoration work was completed in 1927, and the towers were reinforced in 1953.
The original people were the Chumash Indians who inhabited the land from Malibu to San Luis Obispo.
They were hunters and gatherers. They made baskets, stone bowls and tools. They also built plank boats (tomols), which used to travel to the Channel Islands.
In 1807, an Indian Dam was built to bring water thru an aqueduct. There were also cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, mules, and horses in great number. In 1809, there were 5,200 head of cattle and in 1803 11,221 head of sheep.
The Franciscans taught them how to grow wheat, barley, corn, beans, and peas. They also grew orange trees, olive trees, and grapevines.
When the Mission period ended, the buildings were used for a number of purposes. From 1868 until 1877, the Franciscans conducted a high school and junior college.
For the full story behind the Old Santa Barbara Mission check out their website