Mission Historical Park is a 10-acre park located at the cross section of Laguna and East Los Olivos Street and spans between Alameda Padré Serra and Mission Ridge Road. The park is divided by Alameda Padré Serra, a major access roadway. Directly across from the Mission, this park offers a variety of well-tended roses, a bubbling fountain and exquisite views of the mountains and city. There is also a large grassy area perfect for lounging in the sun or tossing a Frisbee. During the year there are several festivals held here including the I Madonnari Italian street painting festival, and The Little Fiesta which is the opening ceremony for Santa Barbara's annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta celebration.
- Features: Alcohol Allowed, Hiking Trail, Parking On Site, Picnic Site, Popular Event Venue, Reservable Areas, Restrooms, Views
- Dog Policy: Dogs Allowed On Leash
The surrounding homes are of historical importance - meaning most of them are real Spanish colonial, not neo-colonial - and give the area a distinctly authentic feel. The park includes ruins of Mission Santa Barbara’s old reservoir, aqueduct, tannery vats, filter house, and a grist mill. Large grassy areas include a reservable reception area.
The A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden, adjacent to the Santa Barbara Mission, contains over 1,500 rose plants and is maintained throughout the year by Rose Society members, Parks Division staff, and volunteers. For many years the All-American Rose Selections designated the garden as one of many demonstration rose gardens throughout the country, displaying the top performing new rose varieties developed and selected each year after an extensive two-year trial program where they are judged on 15 characteristics - from disease resistance and flower production to color and fragrance.
This monument to Santa Barbara was the tenth Californian Mission built by Spanish Franciscans. Established in the late 1786, it is known as the "Queen of the Missions". Following the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake and post-restoration efforts made to the Santa Barbara Mission, the Franciscan Fathers of California offered to sell a 7.8 acre parcel of land in the area. In 1928 the City purchased the land and a master plan was approved in 1940. In 1948, the remainder of the land comprising the present day park was gifted to the City by the Franciscan Fathers. In 1954, at the suggestion of Miss Pearl Chase, the City changed the name of the park from Mission Plaza to Mission Historical Park. These facilities, along with the Mission itself, are all designated California State Historical Landmarks.
Upper Reservoir and Grist Mill: In 1827, a water-powered grist mill and its adjacent hexagon-shaped sandstone reservoir were constructed.The ruins of the 30-foot grist mill remain. Water was introduced into the mill via a wooden-gated penstock and a clay pipe causing it to rotate and generate power for the millstones to grind grain into flour.
Filter House: Next to the upper reservoir to its north are the ruins of a filter house which purified water for domestic purposes. The incoming water flowed through a mix of charcoal and sandstone before it was channeled to the lower reservoir.
Lower Reservoir: In 1806, a square stone reservoir was constructed as part of an irrigation system providing water for the Mission's orchards and gardens. This reservoir was utilized by the City for water storage until 1993.
Aqueduct: In 1807, a dam and complementary aqueduct system was constructed in Mission Canyon to supply water to the residents of the Mission. Dams were built at the west and east forks of Mission Creek, north of the Mission. A remaining portion of the lower aqueduct wall still exists north of the grassy area within the park.
Tannery: This housed the massive stone vats containing treatment chemicals that were used to convert animal hides into leather. The leather product was used to manufacture horse saddles, footwear, and other leather accessories.
Pottery: The Pottery is located at just north of the intersection of Alameda Padre Serra and East Los Olivos Street. Built in 1808, the facility was where the Chumash workers produced tiles, water pipes, and cooking pottery.
Olive Trees: A small grove of olive trees was planted by The Garden Club of Santa Barbara in 1919 to honor those who gave their lives in World War I. The Garden Club and the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first planting by adding several more olive trees.