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FOCUS : Home of the Returning Swallows

April 14, 1988|Clipboard researched by Rick Vanderknyff, Susan Greene, and Henry Rivero / Los Angeles Times

Since 1776, the swallows have been returning, every March 19, to the old Spanish mission of San Jan Capistrano.

Their visit is not official however, until the bells atop the adobe walls of the mission have rung. The birds build their nests, lay their eggs, nurse their young and by October are ready for their 3,000-mile migration back to Argentina.

By day, the tourists come to adore the sunny mission gardens and walk through its ruins. By night the mission is transformed into the site of some of Orange Counties best ghost stories.

San Juan Capistrano's proposed Historic Town Center --estimated to cost from $30 to $45 million dollars--will build a town square and re-route streets. It will also create and restore shops and restaurants and a new hotel, to its downtown zone.

More than 400 visitors dip their bodies and drink the hot-sulfur tinged water at San Juan Hot Springs. Many believe that the soft water cures diseases and restores health.

The landmark Santa Fe Depot not only is one of California's busiest train stops, says Amtrak officials, but also is a railside restaurant.


City Council: Anthony L. Bland (mayor), Lawrence F. Bucheim (mayor pro tem), Gary Hausdorfer, Phillip R. Schwartze, Kenneth E. Friess

City Manager: Stephen B. Julian

Fire Chief: county

Chief of Police: county


Population: (1986 est.) 23,132

Area: 13.6 square miles

Incorporation: April 19, 1961

Median household income: $35,283

Median home value: $126,657

Racial/ethnic mix: white, 95.4%; Latino, 13.5%; black, 0.4 %; other, 4.2 %

(Total is more than 100% because racial/ethnic breakdowns overlap)

City Services

City Hall

32400 Paseo Adelanto


Police (business)

30331 Crown Valley Pkwy.


Fire (business)

31865 Del Obispo San Juan


Post Office

28081 Marguerite Parkway


In Emergency, Dial: 911

Employment status

Employed persons: 9,045

Unemployed: 373

Not in labor force: 4,853

Per capita income: $10,282


Adults over 25 Years of school completed:

0-11 years: 13.1%

12 years: 31.9%

13-15 years: 30.4%

16+ years: 24.6%

Median years completed: 13.4

Statistics: Donnelley Demographics

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