San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano is Historic Charm in the heart of Orange County.
San Juan Capistrano is unique in Orange County and a rarity in California, a community whose foundation was laid by the earliest people to inhabit the land, and a community still evolving after more than 220 years.
The years after 1900 were a period of stability for San Juan. The early years saw the community become a tight knit group of farm families and merchants, relatively untouched by the explosion of development to the north and south. The Capistrano Valley, instead, developed into an agricultural center with an orange processing and produce packing plant near the railroad.
During this early period, the Mission languished. Despite an early stabilization effort by the Landmark Club, it wasn't until 1910 when Father John O'Sullivan came to town, that the Mission was restored to a semblance of its earlier self. San Juan then became a destination for those interested in a glimpse of early California life and visitors included Hollywood stars and tourists from around the world. In 1939 a live NBC radio broadcast spread the fame and legend of the swallows' return to a nationwide audience.
Intense development pressures in the early 1970s caused the citizens to create a new General Plan which preserved historic resources and open space, limited development density, and provided for ridgeline preservation. These measures,adopted in 1974, have proved to be years ahead of many California communities, and have helped assure the perpetuation of San Juan Capistrano's unique heritage.