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SOUTH BEACH: SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO

City Is Given Two Historic Bell Markers

July 16, 1998|LINN GROVES

The City Council recently accepted the gift of two free-standing bell markers from the Rancho Viejo Junior Women's Club. The bells will mark the city's portion of the historic El Camino Real route, which Franciscan monks blazed from Tijuana to Sonoma starting in 1769. The bells also will help celebrate the state's 150th birthday (sesquicentennial).

The markers, about 10 feet tall with a single bell at the top, are valued at about $1,000 each. They will be placed at two locations on El Camino Real in San Juan Capistrano, at least one mile apart, according to tradition.

The markers were originally placed along the trail by the California Federation of Women's Clubs in 1910. Club members began restoring bells along the route two years ago and have replaced about 100 markers so far.

Pet Phillips, the local club's Adopt-a-Bell coordinator, said the project aims to "give California back its bells."

She said she is hoping one of the bells will be placed in front of the Blas Aguilar Adobe. City officials have yet to make a final decision about where to place the bells on the local route.

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