National Register of Historic Places (1971). Mission San Juan Capistrano is famous for the return of the swallows on Saint Joseph's Day (March 19). The ruined old stone church was the largest mission structure built in California. The extant Serra Chapel is one of the oldest buildings in California, and the only one still standing where Fr. Serra is known to have performed Mass.
Mission San Juan Capistrano is the seventh mission, founded November 1, 1776 by Fr. Serra. Named for St. John of Capistran, a 14th-century Italian theologian. Stone church was built 1797-1806; but destroyed by the 1812 earthquake. The mission was secularized in 1833, sold in 1845, and returned to Church in 1865.
Structure and Condition:
- The extensive stabilization (1897-2004) of the old stone church ruins is complete. Current structural condition of the Serra Chapel is poor, needing roof and arcade replacement and extensive structural repairs.
Immediate and Long-Term Funding Needs:
- Extensive art and artifact collections need conservation.
- Adobe convento and chapel buildings need roofing, structural stabilization, and moisture control.
- The Serra Chapel wood and gilt reredos need conservation.
- Upgrade security and housing of artifacts.
Exit Ortega Highway and travel west. The mission is located
on the corner of Ortega and Camino Capistrano. (Orange County).