The Mission Viejo Company laid a strong foundation under the city decades ago; a foundation of community and the promise that the new city would continue to flourish and thrive, remaining a desirable and wonderful place to live and grow and do business. That strong foundation remains solid and relevant today. However, there was a history to the area long before that. The city has placed Historical Markers throughout Mission Viejo to take special note of the history and events of the area and educate residents about the significance of these places and events. The history and people who came before add color and depth to the character of Beautiful Mission Viejo.
The above photos depict the historical marker for the first businesses of Mission Viejo and the whale fossil that was found during construction in the 1970’s. It is permanently on display in this showcase on Chrisanta.
The photos above are of the La Paz Plaza and the Chrisanta Courtyard, businesses along Chrisanta Drive. These are some of the first business buildings built in Mission Viejo. They are really beautiful commercial buildings as you can see, enhanced by the mature sycamore trees. The old Viejo Cinema, which was next to the La Paz Plaza, is now a church. Last time I went to that theater was in 1990 to see “Home Alone.”
Father Junipero Serra helped establish the California Missions. The path that led from one to the other mission was the El Camino Real. Most of the original road is gone, but today’s roads and freeways follow the old. A Mission Bell marker was placed along the historic route decades ago, some in Mission Viejo. The city has dedicated a historical plaque to its site along La Paz Road. To find out more about the El Camino Real in California and the Mission Bell Project, click HERE.
Sycamore Park is a Historical Site where an old adobe and outbuildings once stood. The plaque reads, “This spring and the sycamore trees mark the area of an adobe house and outbuilding built in the 1840s by Jose Serrano, whose Rancho Canada de los Alisos stretched to the north. Within a short distance were the two adobes of Juan Avila’s Rancho Niguel, which extended to the south. The stage road, following the old Spanish “El Camino Real,” passed between the two haciendas. This glen was a welcome stop for travelers.” The spring they refer to is what we call Aliso Creek that runs alongside Sycamore Park. There is a stone marker and bronze plaque (as seen in the photos) near where the adobe once stood.
This monument at Lake Mission Viejo depicts the history of the area, and how it was once ranch and farmland, all the way up until the 1970’s. It also has a plaque illustrating and discussing the construction and backbone storm drain system of the lake. Other plaques depict lake activities and official tree (oak), flower (rose) and bird (red-tailed hawk) of the City of Mission Viejo, all of which I have photographed for this site. The large bronze plaque is a site map of the lake, illustrating its beaches and inlets and the surrounding streets, along with some facts and a north arrow.
Wilderness Glen Ranch Road runs along the north side of Los Alisos near Trabuco Road. The marker reads: “This trail is the remnant of a private ranch road that ran east to local canyons. According to legend, the notorious 19th Century Outlaw Joaquin Murieta used the Sycamore tree near the road for a hiding place.” Not sure if the hollowed out sycamore is the one mentioned in the legend, but it is possible. A creek is at the bottom of this little canyon and was streaming pretty well when I was there the spring of 2016.