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Franciscan monk Fr. Junipero Serra, founder of the Spanish mission system in California, raised a cross on the beach on March 31, 1782, at a spot that became a general wayfarer's midpoint between Los Angeles and Point Conception. This was the dedication of Mission San Buenaventura. Bordered by rivers out of the foothills, this coastal area had originally been home to many Chumash Indian villages, dating back to 1000 A.D. The small mission outpost quickly flourished and eventually grew into a town complete with dirt streets, wooden sidewalks, saloons, churches, and various adventures and calamities. On March 10, 1866, the "City of Good Fortune" incorporated and received one of the first charters from the then 16-year-old, 31st state in the union. Today the city of Ventura bustles with more than 110,000 residents and is known as the "Gateway to the Channel Islands."