Mission San Juan Capistrano

The Mission and California Preservation

Not only is the mission site in San Juan Capistrano the first known European settlement in Orange County (c. 1776), it was also arguably the first preservation project in the state of California.

The earliest effort to restore the mission began in 1896 with the Landmarks Club of California. The Landmarks Club was founded by Charles Fletcher Lummis in 1895, and was the first preservation organization in the state. The relationship with the mission site would last for more than 20 years, and members active on the site included architects Arthur Benton and Sumner Hunt, and well-known local resident, Richard Egan.  

Restoration continues at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Here, in 2005, Architectural Resources Group worked on the Serra Chapel. (photo courtesy of ARG Conservation Services)