San Juan Capistrano | photo of the mission at San Juan Capistrano

Beautiful San Juan Capistrano

San Juan, Capistrano is a beautiful town in southern California.  The palm trees that line the streets sway gently in the breezes blown in from the ocean and the golden sunshine warms your shoulders.  Cafe’s with rod iron balconies lined with red geraniums scent the air as people sip their drinks and enjoy the company of their friends and family members. The laughter drifts on the air to my ears and I smile. I can’t see a red geranium without thinking of this day.  
 
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Photo of arches of the San Juan Capistrano Mission in California
 

The Founding Of San Juan Capistrano 

 

Mission San Juan Capistrano was first founded on October 30th, 1775 by Father Lasuen and a detachment of soldiers. It is the beginning of what is now known as Orange County, California a beautiful area in Southern California.  It was the seventh of twenty-one missions that were built by Spanish priests to spread the gospel all along California.
 
 
Beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano | Fountain at the San Juan Capistrano Mission
 
A few weeks after they founded the mission the priest received word of a revolt of the Kumeyaay had sent a war party to San Diego, so the group returned to San Diego to help.  They completely destroyed Mission San Diego so the soldiers protecting the priests had to return to San Diego garrison and the priests had to go with them.
 
The mission was re-founded on November 1, 1776 (All Saints Day). It is the seventh of twenty-one missions to be founded Alta California.

 

Beautiful Mission San Juan Capistranto | photo of the San Juan Capistrano Mission fountain

 

 

Like the other six missions, San Juan Capistrano was established to expand the boundaries of Spain and to spread Christianity to the Native peoples of California. The missions were the center of learning.

 

Beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano | white flowers

 

San Juan Capistrano – Population Growth

 

During the next thirty years, the San Juan Capistrano Mission grew by leaps and bounds. In 1806 Mission San Juan Capistrano had a population of over 1,000 people, over 10,000 head of cattle and they had completed the “Great Stone Church”

 

Beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano Bells

 

San Juan Capistrano – Earthquake 

 

Sadly after 1812 the mission began to decline an earthquake struck causing the Great Stone Church to cave in killing forty people who tried to escape through the doors that had been twisted in there frames.

San Juan Capistrano Bells

 

The Spanish government could not protect and keep the mission’s supplied with the supplies they needed.

 

San Juan Capistrano | white flowers at the Mission San Juan Capistrano
 

In 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain, By 1834 the Mexican government decided to end the mission system completely, giving the land from Mission San Juan Capistrano were divided and sold to twenty prominent Families from California.

San Juan Capistrano – The Mission Sold

The Mission was sold at auction to John Forster Governor Pio Pico’s brother-in-law for $710 even though it was valued to be worth more than $54,000. 

 

Over the next twenty years the mission was a private ranch property of the Forster family

Model of the Mission San Juan Capistrano

 

San Juan Capistrano – California Becomes Part Of The United States of America

 

In 1848 California became part of the United States as part of the “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” Only two years after becoming a territory of the United States in 1850 it became a state. The padres contacted President Lincoln about returning the missions and he gave the missions back to the Catholic church.

Ruins of the sanctuary of the Mission San Juan Capistrano

 

On March 9th every year at dawn swallows return to the mission to rebuild their mud nests clinging to the shell of the old Stone Church.
 
Photo of a niche in the ruins of the San Juan Capistrano Mission wall
 
People from all over the world gather to watch “the miracle of the swallows” as the birds arrive from Argentina.
 
Photo of a Catholic priest and child with a cross behind them at the San Juan Capistrano Mission
 
 
On October 23rd they take flight again circling the mission twice as if to say goodbye then turn their wings back toward Argentina.
 

A plaque at the San Juan Capistrano Mission with its history.

 

 
 
Photo of the wall of the San Juan Capistrano Mission made of brick and plaster with plaster chipping away.
 
 

 

Image of one of the cots inside the San Juan Capistrano Mission

 

Photo of one of the Spanish soldier uniforms from the San Juan Capistrano Mission Museum

 

Photo of the wall of the San Juan Capistrano Mission from 1776 someone scratched a message in the wall

 

 

 

Photo of a red hot poker flower at the Mission at San Juan Capistrano

 

A stone metate ( meal grinder) used to grind grain at the San Juan Capistrano Mission in California

 

Old metate used to grind grain.

 

 

 

 

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