Hidden among the rolling hills and picturesque valleys of California's coastal mountain range is the quiet mission town of San Juan Bautista. Forged by the San Andreas Fault, the same stunning environment that attracted Spanish missionaries to establish Mission San Juan Bautista in 1797 would invite multitudes of visitors and settlers during the first years of California's statehood. Bypassed by the railroad in the 1870s, the town saw its population dwindle and seemed likely to fade unnoticed into history. In the 1930s, the structures around the ancient mission plaza narrowly avoided decay and demolition. The community, with the plaza at its heart, embarked upon a slow but steady restoration and revival of its former splendor. Today both mission and town thrive as important cultural and spiritual centers.
About the Author
Authors Joseph McMahon and Carla Hendershot wish to thank the San Juan Bautista Historical Society, the San Juan Bautista State Park, and the Plaza History Association for the archival materials that enabled them to produce this vivid portrait of the California mission town. McMahon, an interpretive specialist at the park and a former art history and archeology teacher, and Hendershot, retired from the staff at the historic park, craft captivating text to accompany the collection of vintage images of San Juan Bautista in this volume.