Mission San Juan Capistrano
The story of the "jewel of the missions" from its founding to the present day.
By Harry Kelsey
Mission San Juan Capistrano: A Pocket History provides a succinct and engaging account of the "jewel of the missions," encompassing its people, buildings, and history. This small book covers 200 years of mission history, highlighted by 20 historical photos, maps, and drawings, plus a complete tour guide of the mission grounds.
The author traces the mission's history from pre-European culture through encounters with the first explorers in 1542 and then the arrival of the Franciscan friars in 1775, accompanied by Spanish soldiers. The book explores daily life at the mission as it grew from a simple adobe chapel to a vaulted stone church. The narrative follows the great structure's fall in the earthquake of 1812, the mission's decline during Mexican secularization, and its slow but steady rebuilding over many decades from the late 19th century to the present day.
Written in an accessible style well suited to young readers as well as adults, this short book will appeal to anyone interested in California history. The author sums up the story fittingly in these words: "The mission has been here for two hundred years, and it stands today as a monument to the people who have lived in the San Juan valley since time immemorial."
Harry Kelsey is a historian and research scholar at the Huntington Library. He is the author of many books including Sir Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Mission San Luis Rey, and Discovering Cabrillo.
Softcover, 48 pages, 6" x 9".