Mission San Juan Capistrano
after initial reconstruction. circa 1921
photo courtesy of ocbook.com
more than 200 years, the Mission San Juan Capistrano
has played a crucial part in the life of this
Junipero Serra founded the "Jewel of the
Mission" in 1776, and a town eventually grew
up around the Catholic outpost.
to help colonize California for the Spanish and
to ease the local Indians into the Spanish culture,
the mission today makes the city a major tourist
is especially true during the annual March 19th
celebration, marking the return of the swallows
to their summer home. The
St. Joseph's Day celebration, once a day long
religious commemoration, has evolved into a three
week Heritage Festival sponsored by the local
San Juan Capistrano is a mix of new residents
and descendants of early ranchers and native Americans.
Small, modern business developments are only blocks
from the mission and other historic buildings,
and housing projects spread east across the valley.
villages once dotted the small valleys near present-day
San Juan Capistrano. Soon after the mission was
built, cultivated fields, grazing lands, granaries
and the making of ceramics, bricks, tiles and
textiles made the settlement a self-contained
the 1850's, San Juan Capistrano was booming. It
was a convenient stopping place for travelers
and prospectors on their way to the Northern California
1888, the California Central Railroad was extended
from Santa Ana to Oceanside, which brought people
to San Juan Capistrano. Between 1910 and 1920,
electricity, paved roads and the telephone arrived.
1950s brought swift changes, including the extension
of the San Diego (I-5) Freeway through the city.
The opening of the freeway in 1959 brought tourists
- and the city began to realize its marketability.
voted 358 to 88 to incorporate as a city in April
1961. At the time, the city had 1,287 residents,
according to city records. Today, the population
is well over 34,000.
city's first library, completed in 1983, has received
national attention for its unique mix of modern
and mission-style architecture.
San Juan Capistrano - Camino Capistrano &
Founded in 1776 by Padre Junípero Serra, this
is the seventh in the chain of 21 missions established
in Alta California. The stone church was destroyed
in 1812 earthquake. Expropriated during Mexican
rule, the mission was returned to the Catholic
church in 1865 by proclamation of President Abraham
Garcia Adobe - 31871 Camino Capistrano
Built in the 1849 by Portuguese merchant Manuel
Garcia, this is the only Mission-Revival Style
adobe still standing in Orange County. It has
been owned by the Oyharzabal family since 1880
and used as a hotel, general store and the town's
first US-era post office. It is not open to the
Blas Aguilar Adobe - 31806 El Camino Real
In 1794, the Mission San Juan Capistrano built
a number of adobes to house soldiers and the local
Native Americans who worked at the mission. Don
Blas Aguilar purchased two of these adobes in
1845, which he named "La Hacienda Aguilar." The
Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum is maintained and operated
by the Blas Aguilar Adobe Foundation, a non- profit
Juan Capistrano Jail Cell - 31745 Los Rios
Built in 1896 to serve as a holding cell, the
jail originally was located on the west side of
Camino Capistrano at the Ortega Highway intersection.
It was the scene of several jailbreaks and one
hanging. The jail is not open to the public, but
is pointed out on the San Juan Capistrano Historical