Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park is home to the oldest building in Santa Cruz County. Built between 1822 and 1824 by local Ohlonean and Yokuts Indians, the park’s signature adobe is the only remaining structure from Mission Santa Cruz, founded in 1791. One of just four adobe buildings left in Santa Cruz County—and sometimes confused with the nearby replica mission chapel—it is the only building of its kind preserved as a museum in the State of California.
The adobe served as housing for Neophyte families who lived and worked at the Mission, which operated until 1834 when it was secularized. After decades of private ownership, the adobe was sold to the State of California, extensively restored and finally opened in 1991 to the public as the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.
Today, the park is supported by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, a non-profit state park partner dedicated to sustaining the legacy of our state parks and beaches. Friends funds the committed state park staff who conduct free educational programs including tours, junior rangers, campfire programs and educational programs for approximately 2,500 school children annually. Friends also operates the Mission ParkStore to benefit the park.
Friends rallied the community and saved the park from closure, maintaining its many benefits, including historic preservation, heritage education and tourism promotion.
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Currently Funds the State Park Interpretive Staff, who provide all programs including:
- Mission Day Field Trips for thousands of 3rd and 4th graders
- Mission Campfires
- Junior Rangers
- Interpretive Special Events
- All material support for field trip activities, including crafting adobe bricks, candles and tortillas
- UCSC Work-Study Student Staff
- The Mission ParkStore
To keep the park open, Friends funds all expenses, including the park ranger and maintenance staff. You can help by making a donation to Friends and shopping in the ParkStore.
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park Mural Contest winners selected!
Mural designs by Mission Hill Middle School students Katherine Tkoch, 12, and Flora Chatwin, 13, have been chosen for the new Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park mural in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the park.
Kathrine and Flora submitted separate designs and the Mural Selection Committee liked elements of both girls’ work. The students will work with their teacher to combine their designs.
The combined design will be recreated in tesserae, a colorful tile that will be formed in the shape of the artist’s design to create the mosaic mural. Community volunteers, Mission Hill Middle School students, in cooperation with Friends and California State Parks will install the public art May 21-23 under the direction of noted local artist Kathleen Crocetti who has created murals on Water Street, Soquel Avenue and Laurel Street bridges.
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park is located at 144 School St. in Santa Cruz. As a guidepost to draw visitors to the park, the mural will be located on a series of retaining walls along the park’s Mission Street boundary, facing downtown. The mural site is at the stairway entrance to the park, across from Lighthouse Bank on Mission Street and up the hill from the Town Clock.