Santa Barbara is a Spanish mission located near Santa Barbara, California. It was founded on 1786 by Father Fermin Lasuen for the feast day of Saint Barbara as the tenth mission for religious conversion of the local Native American tribe. Although some of the towers have been destroyed by earthquakes, the interior remains the same as the original.
The name of the church comes from the legend of Saint Barbara, a young girl who was beheaded by her father for being a Christian. After three chapels were built and later destroyed by the Santa Barbara Earthquake in 1812, the current Mission’s construction was begun and dedicated to her.
The Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library occupies a portion of the complex but is an independent, non-profit research institution. It is the oldest library in the state of California that is still owned by its founders. The library contains collections of California maps, writings, images as well as many matrials from the Indians of Arizona.