Mission San Juan Capistrano is a former Spanish mission founded in 1776 by the Spanish Catholic missionaries of the Franciscan Order in Colonial Las California. Named for Saint John of Capistrano, the Spanish Colonial Baroque-style church was located in the province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, Upper California. It is now located at 26801 Ortega Highway in San Juan Capistrano, Orange County, California. The Mission was secularized by the Mexican government in 1833 and returned to the Roman Catholic Church by the American administration in 1865. A number of natural disasters have damaged the mission over the years, but the restoration and renovation efforts date back to around 1910.
Mission San Juan’s history began in the woods of East Texas. Mission San José de los Nazonis was established in 1716 to serve the Nazon Indians. The mission was not successful, however, and whatever was transportable was moved here. On 5 March 1731, the mission was restored to the east bank of the San Antonio River and renamed San Juan Capistrano.
Despite the new location, the mission still had to deal with adversity. Epidemics of smallpox , measles and other European diseases have swept through the mission, causing a great deal of suffering and death among natives. Early on, the bands raiding Apaches and later Comanche terrorized the community. At times when food was plentiful and danger was low outside the protective walls, some mission Indians left, returning to their hunting and life-gathering.
Political problems have also arisen. As the governance figures in the area have changed, so has the support for the mission. Still, the mission has persevered and grown. By 1762 there were 203 Indians living in Mission San Juan. The mission consisted of a granary, textile shops, and Indian houses made of adobe with roofs of thatched roofs. In 1767, a government inspector wrote, There is no need for supervisors or administrators. The Indians themselves take care of the work of the cloth factory, the carpenter’s shop, the forge. And attend to all the work that needs to be done in the city. They are industrious and diligent and skilled in all kinds of labor.
San Antonio Missions NHP, in partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank, includes a living demonstration farm in Mission San Juan Capistrano. This demonstration farm is fed by a historic acequia and shows visitors how the work surrounding the San Juan Capistrano Mission would have looked like. To visit the farm at Mission San Juan, cross the mission site and take the trail southwest of the mission.
San Juan was a community of self-sustaining people. Indian craftsmen produced iron tools, cloth, and prepared hides within the compound. Outside the walls, orchards and gardens provided melons, pumpkins, grapes and peppers. In addition to the mission complex, Indian farmers cultivated maize (corn), beans , squash, sweet potatoes and sugar cane in irrigated fields. Over 20 miles southeast of Mission San Juan was Rancho de Pataguilla, which reported 3,500 sheep and nearly as many cattle in 1762.
These products have helped to support not only the San Antonio Missions, but also local settlements and presidential garrisons in the area. By the mid-1700s, San Juan, with its rich farmland and pasture lands, was a regional supplier of agricultural products. With its surplus, San Juan established a trade network extending east to Louisiana and south to Coahuila, Mexico. This prosperous economy helped the mission to survive the epidemics and attacks of India in its final years.
The Yanaguana Trail is a beautiful stretch of the original San Antonio River. The path has paved and the ADA is accessible. Looking down the San Antonio River, visitors can often see turtles, owls, snakes and other wildlife. The Yanaguana Trail feels like an oasis in the city, transporting visitors to a place with only natural sounds.
This amazing historic site is located in beautiful San Antonio, Texas, along with these other must-see important historical sites for you to check out:
- Fairmount Hotel
- Hot Wells Resort
- Menger Hotel
- Mission Concepción (Mission Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de Acuna)
- Mission Espada (Mission San Francisco de la Espada)
- Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo)
- Mission San José (Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo)
- Roosevelt Park
And after your visit make sure to stop by the best CBD Store in Helotes, Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary, on Bandera Road!