Our past is a link to understanding ourselves and our community. Residents and visitors of San Juan Capistrano have been entrusted with a heritage unlike any other. From the native Juaneño (Acagchemem) Indians, Spanish Mission, cattle ranchlands and railway station, the history is rich with stories of the unique and visionary people that shaped the special town we enjoy today.

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.

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.

San Juan Capistrano is one of the oldest towns in California. Cowboys and Indians, a Spanish Mission and Mexican ranchlands, vast farms and small adobes, the noble and humble all make up the rich history surrounding this area. Help preserve our heritage by supporting the Historical Society today. Future generations will be grateful for your generosity.