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The original fountain and lavadero are also intact near the entrance to the Mission.
A dam constructed in 1807 is situated in the current Santa Barbara Botanic Garden up "Mission Canyon".
It was only after the Santa Barbara earthquake on December 21, 1812, which destroyed the existing buildings, that the construction on the current Mission was begun. The towers were considerably damaged in the June 29, 1925 earthquake, Many elements of the Mission's extensive water treatment system, all built by Chumash Indians' labor under the direction of the Franciscans (including aqueducts, two reservoirs, a filter house, and a hydro-powered gristmill) remain to this day.
The larger reservoir, which was built in 1806 by the expedient of damming a canyon, had been a functioning component of the City's water system until 1993.
Some Franciscans serve on the Board of Trustees along with scholars and community members; the institution is directed by a lay academic scholar.
The mission is the namesake of the city of Santa Barbara as well as of Santa Barbara County.It is for this reason that of all the California missions, only the chapel at Mission Santa Barbara has two matching bell towers.At that time, that particular architectural feature was restricted to a cathedral church.The weekly Catholic liturgy is serviced by two choirs, the California Mission Schola and the Cappella Barbara.The Mission archives contain one of the richest collections of colonial Franciscan music manuscripts known today, which remain closely guarded (most have not yet been subjected to scholarly analysis).