In regard to its present ownership and condition, a gentleman interested writes:
“The abandoned Mission is on ground which now belongs to the Union Oil Company of California. The building itself has been desecrated and damaged by the public ever since its abandonment. Its visitors apparently did not scruple to deface it in every possible way, and what could not be stolen was ruthlessly destroyed. It apparently was a pleasure to them to pry the massive roof-beams loose, in order to enjoy the crash occasioned by the breaking of the valuable tile.
“On top of this the late series of earthquakes in that section threw down many of the brick pillars, and twisted the remainder so badly that the front of the building is a veritable wreck. During these earthquakes, which lasted several weeks, tile which could not be replaced for a thousand dollars were displaced and broken. To save the balance of the tile, as well as to avoid possible accidents to visitors, the secretary of the Oil Company had the remaining tile removed from the roof and piled up near the building for safety.”
Lasuen found matters far easier for him in the founding of Missions than did Serra in his later years. The viceroy agreed to pay $1000 each for the expenses of the Missions of Santa Cruz and La Soledad, and $200 each for the traveling expenses of the four missionaries needed. April 1, 1790, the guardian sent provisions and tools for Santa Cruz to the value of $1021. Lasuen delayed the founding for awhile, however, as the needful church ornaments were not at hand; but as the viceroy promised them and ordered him to go ahead by borrowing the needed articles from the other Missions, Lasuen proceeded to the founding, as I have already related.
At the end of the year 1791 the neophytes numbered 84. In 1796 the highest mark was reached with 523. In 1800 there were but 492. Up to the end of that year there had been 949 baptisms, 271 couples married, and 477 buried. There were 2354 head of large stock, and 2083 small. In 1792 the agricultural products were about 650 bushels, as against 4300 in 1800.
[Illustration: RUINS OF MISSION LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION.]