San Juan Capistrano
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The legendary swallows aren't the only annual returnees to San Juan Capistrano. The great coastal mission draws more than 500,000 visitors a year into the southern reaches of Orange County. The most famous of all the missions in the California system established in the 18th century by Franciscan friar Junipero Serra, Mission San Juan Capistrano still contains the Serra Chapel, the oldest church in California, and the only building still standing where the good padre celebrated mass. But San Juan Capistrano is more than its well-known mission. Its epic story encompasses the rancho days and land barons, California statehood, the arrival of the San Diego Freeway in 1958, city incorporation in 1961, and recent growth from 10,000 residents in 1974 to 34,000 in 2004.
company purchased excess land from the diocese in December 1917—land that had been cut off from the body of the mission when Highway 101 went through in 1915. A touring car parks in front of the Palm Café. The 1870s building once housed San Juan Grammar School, which was relocated downtown and converted into a restaurant around 1912. It originally had a tower with a school bell, which was removed prior to the restaurant opening. Fred Stoffel, standing, greets guests at the San Juan Inn, located
the event ended, it was to protect the cattle and dairy industry from the spread of hoof and mouth disease, which was at an epidemic stage. The race was never revived, and today the hill is much altered. This is another view of Camino Capistrano, looking toward the mission sometime between 1912 and 1915. The schoolhouse has just been moved and is not yet transformed into the Palm Restaurant (right). There does not appear to be any pavement in the rutted road. The mission at the end of the street
celebrates the return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano on March 19. The non-motorized parade that features equestrian and walking units is generally held on a Saturday. Earlier parades, dating back to the 1930s, were held on Swallows’ Day, but were not as organized or formal as they are today. This shows a group from 1951, marching up Camino Capistrano toward the mission. The road is shared, not closed, and there are fewer spectators. The town population was less than 1,000 in the 1950s
because of development pressure from the east. This view looks north. Looking directly east through the arches of the Capistrano Depot is the old Ferris Kelly building, which in 1961 became Capistrano City Hall. The city incorporated on April 19, 1961, and leased space in the then-vacant building that had been Connor’s Department Store. This view was not possible until the Capistrano Hotel was demolished and now another building blocks it. This is Camino Capistrano looking north toward the
these images organized in a manner that researchers and visitors to the O’Neill Museum could view, many people and businesses opened their collections and files. They either donated their treasured photographs or permitted the society to copy them. Many of the people obtained their images from other sources—some known, and some unknown. The following is just a few of those who generously allowed the society to own and make copies available to the media, collectors, individuals, businesses,