During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, Gov. Antonio De Otermin and Father Francisco de Ayeta led Piro Indian and Spanish refugees out of New Mexico into this region, establishing a settlement they named Socorro after the home they had left. The town's first permanent adobe church was built in 1691 and was called Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion de las Piros del Socorro (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of the Piros of Socorro.) Construction of the present structure began following a destructive 1829 flood and was completed in 1840. The flood changed the course of the Rio Grande from north of socorro to south of the townsite. When the river was declared the U.S.-Mexico boundry, Socorro became part of the United States.
Under the adminstration of the Franciscan Monks for 172 years, the church was later governed by Diocesan priests as well as by Italian and Mexican Jesuits. Its history spans the time of the regions occupancy by Spain, Mexico, and the United States. Although Socorro Mission La Purisima, as it is know today, has been overshadowed by urban growth in nearby El Paso, it remains one of the oldest continuously occupied settlements in the southwest.