Down by the River
Of San Antonio
's five missions, San Juan Capistrano, named for the 15th-century Franciscan friar and theologian, is perhaps the most unusual in appearance with its intimate chapel sanctuary and its distinctive belfry of triple arches set along the length of an exterior wall, rather than perpendicular to it. Established in 1731, the mission’s church and most of its buildings were completed by 1756. The estate’s fertile farmlands made it not only self-sustaining but a supplier of produce to other missions.