Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park
Founded in 1791 under promising circumstances, the 12th mission, named in honor of the Holy Cross, suffered severe hardships brought about mainly by the ruffianesque settlers in the nearby pueblo of Branciforte. After achieving a peak population of 531 neophytes (the smallest of all the missions), Santa Cruz declined slowly; following secularization, its structures were destroyed by earthquakes, fires and floods. In 1931 a small replica of the adobe church was erected 200ft from the original site. A seven-room barracks is the only structure remaining from the original mission complex. Built in 1824 to house converts, it was later occupied by Californio and Irish citizens; the Californios remodeled the structure by encapsulating it within a Victorian-style house, thus protecting its adobe walls from dissolving. Today restored to its 1840s appearance, it is maintained by the state park system. Displays in its rooms tell the story of the adobe's various occupants.
Address:School Street 144, 95060 Santa Cruz
Thu-Sat 10am-4pm (times liable to variation)