This clothes washing basin or lavanderia was built by the Chumash Indians of
Santa Barbara Mission village in 1808. Not all missions built such a structure.
The Chumash particularly valued cleanliness and worked to construct this
lavanderia fed by water from the complex aqueduct system. The only other
colonial lavanderia, which survives intact, is at Mission San Luis Rey near
Oceanside. Note the finely carved mountain lion's head forming the south spout,
which was carved by a Chumash artisan and may be the oldest public sculpture in
California. (The Bear's head on the north end is a modern replica.)
Please treat this historic structure with respect as the achievement of the
Chumash people who lived and worked here in Mission time.
Landscaping around this lavanderia features native and colonial period plant
varieties. Along the west (driveway) side from the north (fountain) end to the
south various historic rose varieties are found interspersed with mission period
cacti and perennials). The roses are from the north end, the native Rosa
Californica, then the colonial import, Rose of Castile propagated from historic
stock found at Mission San Antonio. Farther south is the "Kinevan Rose" from
the stagecoach stop on San Marco Pass, a mid-nineteenth century variety from a
ranch that gathered its orchard cuttings from Santa Barbara Mission stock.
At the Southwest fence corner is a Mission grape variety collected from Mission
San Jose. Starting at the top (north) of the east fence plantings include the native
Red" grape and a selection of imported colonial period grapes collected
from various and Mission and rancho sites (Mission San Jose, San Gabriel, La
Purisima and various Santa Barbara County ranchos). The Chumash's success in
cultivating these grapes originated the wine industry in Santa Barbara County.