Rebuilding La Purísima Mission

La Purisima

The CCC and WPA at La Purísima Mission SHP

By 1934 the old Spanish mission of La Purísima had been reduced to heaps of dissolved adobe bricks with floor tiles and a few partially standing walls marking building locations. That year the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) began the restoration and rebuilding of the mission—the largest CCC project undertaken in California, and one of the largest historic restoration projects ever undertaken in the nation.

Young architect Frederick C. Hageman oversaw the project. Before work could begin, Hageman's team conducted extensive historical and archaeological research. Experts working with the National Park Service carefully checked all of Hageman's architectural plans to ensure that the reconstruction was as accurate as possible.

After the CCC had completed the main buildings, they began the work of recreating mission furniture and fixtures. CCC and Works Project Administration (WPA) artists painted elaborate decorations inside the church and chapel, based on designs found on plaster fragments.

The enrollees made 250,000 adobe bricks, 91,000 roof tiles and 55,000 floor tiles to complete the reconstruction of 13 buildings.

The grand opening celebration was held on December 7, 1941, the 154th anniversary of the original mission dedication.

Slide show: The Civilian Conservation Corps Rebuilds La Purísima Mission, 1934-1941

Neglect and erosion took its toll on the historic La Purísima Mission. Workers for the Civilian Conservation Corps lovingly restored and rebuilt the mission from the ground up in the 1930s.

Please Note: The slide show does not have audio.