SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A standing miracle. That's how many residents are describing the fact that the iconic Serra Cross atop Grant Park in Ventura is standing stall despite the Thomas Fire scorching the area surrounding it.
It's said that a large wooden cross was planted on top of a hill overlooking the Mission San Buenaventura church soon after the Mission's funding as a road sign for travelers in search of the Mission.
The Mission is the ninth in the series of California Missions and Father Junipero Serra's last.
The Serra Cross has been a point of contention in the past with a potential constitutional lawsuit in 2003 threatening to remove the cross after the city of Ventura was accused of violating the principle of separation of church and state by owning and maintaining the cross.
The Ventura City Council opted to sell the cross and an acre of land surrounding it which helped the cross stay in place.
The original cross was lost to the weather elements in the 1860's and replaced, but after the second cross blew down in a storm several years later, it was not replaced again until 1912. Nonetheless, the cross today stands as a symbol of culture, protection, and hope for Ventura County residents and visitors alike.
For more information on the Serra Cross, visit serracrosspark.com.