Historic Sites

Explore San Juan Capistrano’s historic sites.

Arley Leck House - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31865 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Arley, originally from Kansas, was a former bean and grain farmer in Tustin. After he married Alicia, he built his new Craftsman style home on his small farm and ranch, where he raised citrus, avocados, and cattle. At one time he was the manager for Rancho Mission Viejo.

Avila Adobe - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31831 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Juan Avila, a beneficiary of the Mexican policy of land grants, built the ten room Avila Adobe in the 1840s. Called "El Rico," (the rich one), Avila's land holdings included most of what is now Laguna Niguel and Laguna Hills. An 1879 fire led to a partial rebuilding, but the adobe is currently less than a third of its original size. An extensive restoration of the structure was completed in 1992 which included raising the roof to pre-fire height.

Blas Aguilar Adobe & Acjachemen Cultural Center - Historic Site
(949) 493-4933
31806 El Camino Real
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Blas Aguilar Adobe is a historical site operated by the Blas Aguilar Adobe Foundation that dates back to 1794, when the Mission San Juan Capistrano built a number of adobes to house soldiers and the local Native Americans who worked at the mission. The museum holds numerous artifacts and also offers educational programs.

Capistrano Depot - Historic Site
(949) 493-9593
26701 Verdugo St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The red brick, dome topped railroad station was built in 1894 by the Santa Fe Railroad and is the oldest Mission Revival style rail station in Southern California. At the time of its completion in 1894, the Depot was called "the finest depot on the Santa Fe system."

Egan House - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31892 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Called Harmony Hall, this distinguished terra cotta brick building, constructed in 1883, was rebuilt in 1898 after fire partially destroyed the second floor. Originally a local farmer, Richard Egan was later elected Justice of the Peace and became known as "King of Capistrano," Egan built Harmony Hall from the leftover brick used to build Casa Grande, John Forster's nearby mansion, (torn down 1964), and the home was visited by many influential and famous people of the day.

Esslinger Building - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31866 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Completed in 1939, the Esslinger Building is one of the best examples in Orange County of the Streamline Moderne style of architecture. The Moderne style was an outgrowth of the machine aesthetic and the curved aerodynamic form of the airplane. An outstanding feature of the structure is the bold use of glass blocks across 70 feet of the front facade. Built by Dr. Paul Esslinger as a medical office, it was one of the most advanced medical buildings of its time. The architect was Albert Law.

Eyraud/Chabre House (private residence) - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31382 El Camino Real
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
This Spanish Revival style home was built in the early 1020's for Mr. & Mrs. Leon Eyraud, proprietors of San Juan Hot Springs in the 20's and 30's. Typical elements of the Spanish-Revival style seen in the home include a low pitched roof, limited deep-cut openings, decorative iron work and cast building ornamentation. A relationship with the outdoors via French doors and a formal axial garden design are also indicative of the style. Private residence, view from street only.

Ferris-Kelly Buildings - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31754 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
This group of three buildings, c.1920's, are among the city's oldest commercial structures. All three have distinct facades, the two fronting Ortega Highway being a Mission Revival style, and the brown brick building on Camino Capistrano having art deco stylized elements. The Ferris-Kelly buildings were placed on a part of the town plaza site, where fiestas and bullfights were held during the Spanish and Rancho eras.

Garcia Adobe - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31861 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The Garcia Adobe is the only 2-story adobe in San Juan Capistrano. This structure, whose exterior walls are over three feet thick, originally had second story over only have of the ground floor area. In 1880, the remaining ground floor area was covered by a second floor and the Monterey style balcony was added. A striking feature of the balcony is the lacey wood accents which are original to the addition.

Historic Town Center (HTC) Park - Historic Site
(949) 493-5911
31806 El Camino Real
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
To the east on El Camino Real, within the vicinity of the HTC Park area, were a series of adobes including: the Canedo Adobe, Casa Tejada, the Burruel Adobe, and the only surviving earthen structure, the Blas Aguilar Adobe. Now a location for local events such as San Juan Summer Nites, Shakespeare in the Park, Swallows Day Mercado and many others.

Historical Society/O'Neill Museum - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31831 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
To preserve the history and heritage of San Juan Capistrano, the people of our community organized a Society to do just that. The purpose of the Historical Society is to bring together people interested in history, especially the history of California and the area and region surrounding and including San Juan Capistrano.

Ice House - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31531 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The Ice House residence, built in 1920, perhaps as early as 1905, is the only surviving structure from the commercial ice business. This structure served as the home for the operator of the commercial ice operation conducted on the site until the mid 1940's. In the 1940's commercial ice was replaced by electrically operated residential refrigeration. Notably the Ice House has been in continuous use as a commercial structure.

Los Rios District - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
Los Rios St
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92676
The Los Rios District includes 31 historic structures which line both sides of Los Rios St between Del Obispo and Mission Streets. The District comprises of the oldest continually occupied residential streets in California and includes three adobe homes built in 1794 as housing for families with ties to the mission.

Mission Basilica - Historic Site
(949) 234-1360
31522 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
This magnificent church is a replica of the original stone church, destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. The New Parish Church is 30% larger than the original, whose ruins can still be seen within the Mission walls. The Church bell tower, whose bells can be heard throughout town, makes it the tallest building in San Juan Capistrano.

Mission San Juan Capistrano - Historic Site
(949) 234-1311
26801 Ortega Hwy
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Founded November 1, 1776, The Mission is the seventh in the California missions chain and the centerpiece of San Juan Capistrano's historic downtown. The "Jewel of the Missions" occupies a ten acre site and includes the beautiful central courtyard and numerous museum rooms.

Montanez Adobe - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31745 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The Montanez Adobe on Los Rios is located on the picture perfect postcard section of San Juan Capistrano. It is the oldest and the first street ever built in the town and it is best toured on foot. Parking is available on the other side of the train tracks near the station, or on the west side at the Los Rios Park. The home was built around 1850 by Polonia Gutierrez, one of the town's original residents and the area's midwife. The home is now a national historical site.

Old Union High School - Historic Site
(949) 234-9200
31422 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
This 1939 moderne-style building replaced a 1922 Mission style structure deemed seismically unsafe. It features many elements characteristic of the Streamline Moderne style including flat roof, grooved horizontal wall lines and asymmetrical facade. In addition, curved corners and glass blocks corner windows are typical moderne features. Currently Serra Alternative High School.

Rios Adobe (Private Residence) - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31871 Los Rios St
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The Rios Adobe is still home to the Rios Family (10th generation) and is the oldest residence in California continuously occupied by a single family. Adobe bricks were formed with the mud and straw available on-site or nearby. Los Rios District adobes reveal a policy unique to Mission San Juan Capistrano. It was the first mission to allow Native American working within the mission system to reside outside the mission grounds.

San Juan Capistrano Regional Library - Historic Site
(949) 493-1752
31495 El Camino Real
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
"The first postmodern building" is the title bestowed on this famous structure designed by architect Michael Graves. The 1983 Library received numerous awards by architectural societies and is visited by architectural aficionados from around the world. The building features a generous children's library, a reading room with fireplace, courtyard with fountain and a community meeting room.

Silvas Adobe - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31861 Los Rios St
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
This 1794 adobe home is typical of the Los Rios District adobes, being a small, rectangular structure featuring few windows, gable ends, wide adobe brick walls and a simple front and back doorway.

Stone Field - Historic Site
(949) 493-5911
Camino Capistrano & La Zanja St
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Stone Field gets its name from the stone walls that surround it. These walls were built between 1936-1939 as a WPA project, and are representative of a significant American era - the Depression. Archaeologists have documented the Mission period brick-lined aqueduct, or zanja, traverses Stone Field traveling between Trabuco Creek and the Mission grounds.

Stroschein House - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
El Camino Real & Spring Street
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
This 1927 yellow clapboard home was originally built by Carl and Fred Stroschein for Carl and his new bride. The 650 square foot vernacular gabled house was built on land purchased by German immigrant William Stroschein in 1887 from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Stroschein originally raised walnuts on the property, and later oranges and avocados. It is suspected the house plan may have originated from a popular source of the day - the pattern book.

Yorba Adobes - Historic Site
(949) 493-8444
31871 & 31891 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The c.1830 Domingo Yorba Adobe is typical of San Juan Capistrano adobes from this period with 12"-20" thick walls and a wood shingle roof. The adobe has been owned by the Oyharzabal family since 1880 and still serves as a residence for family members. The Miguel Yorba Adobe was originally two separate 1840's structures. The Vander Leck family connected and renovated the buildings for their home, but the structures were transformed into the El Adobe Restaurant in 1948.

Yorba/Decorative Arts Villa - Historic Site
(949) 443-1342
31431 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The Yorba/Decorative Arts Villa, built between 1920 and 1925, has served many uses over time. The 750 square foot house was constructed as a part of the Yorba estate and one of the few remaining of what was several board and batten style structures along Camino Capistrano in the 1920's. In the 1930's the home was used to house workers during the harvest of local crops. In 1967 the house was extensively remodeled and enlarged to become a complex of buildings.