The San Capistrano Historical Society

Marco "Tom" Forster

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.

Understanding the history of our community is basic to our democratic way of life, gives us a better understanding of our state and nation, and promotes a better appreciation of our heritage. The Society has periodic general meetings of historic interest and publishes a quarterly newsletter with updates as needed.

The Historical Society includes the Walking Tour Guides who lead tours of San Juan explaining the relevance of the historic buildings. The Archival Program collects, preserves and maintains the historical photos, genealogies, oral histories, videos, and other unique and important historic records. Visitors, students and those wishing to utilize the archives are always welcome. Many students of local schools use the archives for their written reports. Serious historians and the media also use the archives.

O'Neill Museum

Headquarters for the Historical Society is the O'Neill Museum on Los Rios Street. The building is over 130 years old and is furnished as it would have been in the 1880s. The museum is open to the public Tuesday thru Friday 9 am to 4 pm, and generally on weekends from 12 noon to 3 pm.

To be a part of the preservation of our history, please join the Society by filling out the application form and mail it to the Society at 31831 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA. 92675.

Arley Leck House

The Historical Society raised funds to create the Richard Henry Dana statue in the Dana Point Harbor. With the help of the Mission Docents, funds were raised for the restoration of the Father Serra and Indian boy statue at Mission San Juan Capistrano. A bronze plaque in the Sacred Garden at the Mission was placed to honor Paul Arbiso, bell ringer of the mission for more than 60 years. Mr. Arbiso was also the Patriarch of the City of San Juan for 23 years.

The Society is presently raising funds to develop the Los Rios Historic Center, consisting of the O'Neill Museum, Leck House, Silvas Adobe and an old board and batten house on the property.


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San Juan Capistrano Historical Society
31831 Los Rios Street
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
For more information please
call: (949) 493-8444 or
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