Some of the oldest walls at the Santa Barbara Mission are literally turning to sand.
It's a serious concern for the development staff.
"We have disintegtrating door jams, some pillar sections, and windows,"said Kristina Foss, the Mission Cultural Resources Director. "They are literally turning to sand. Moisture is being held in the walls of the building and unless we can mitigate that problem and fix that we are going to lose that portion of the building which is actually the oldest part of the building."
Mission Development Director, Jason Womack, said "and I think part of what the problem is, is that it some of the previous materials that were used wouldn't let the sandstone breathe, and naturally evaporate."
This comes at a time when the first phase of a special grant has been used to shore up the Mission's front façade. Now it has the look we saw in 1953 after the last big restoration.
Father Richard McManus says the Mission has a unique religious and community significance that brings visitors to its steps from around virtually every nation. "I don't know a place in the world that they don't come from, and the excitement of having their pictures taken in front of this place. It is one of the most photographed places, certainly of all of California,"he said.
He recalls the 1925 earthquake damage, "which rallied this community that said 'no we are not going to let it die or no we are not going to leave it in rubble'"
If you would like to help with fundraising for this phase of the Mission Santa Barbara restoration contact: