Old San Juan Capistrano

I spent some time in one of my favorite places yesterday – on Rios Street, in San Juan Capistrano – near the Mission and the train station.

O’Neill Museum in the Los Rios Historic District // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

My favorite house was built in 1870 by Jose Dolores Garcia, as a gift to his wife. He wanted to build a unique home, so he did extensive research on horseback, in Anaheim, looking at other homes built in that era. It was the first wooden house built in San Juan Capistrano and is now the O’Neill Museum.

O’Neill Museum // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsPink Rose // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

O’Neill Museum // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Pink Bougainvillea // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

A wrap-around porch with pink Bougainvillea..

Bougainvillea // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsO’Neill Museum // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

O’Neill Museum // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsOverblown Rose // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

I’m a big fan of the Victorian penchant for mixing flowers and fruit – if you look at the art from the era, still life paintings, with ripe succulent fruit and overblown flowers were extremely popular. They also combined the two in their front yards – as witnessed here – an orange tree, with a few oranges still clinging to the bottom branches, and one overblown, past it’s prime, rose. Perfectly Victorian!

Amtrak Train // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

The train still runs through the center of town, just as it’s done for over a hundred years. The Metrolink is a commuter train that can take you to Los Angeles, Riverside, or San Diego.

Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsTwisted Vine // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Old San Juan Capistrano // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Red Santa Fe Railway Caboose // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsGraffiti Cactus // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Hidden House Coffee // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Orange Flowers // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsTrain Station // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Chains // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsYellow Berries // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Artist Courtyard // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Pretty Alpaca // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsWhite Alpaca // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

There’s a petting zoo right on Rios Street – and I did a portrait session with a very pretty Alpaca who posed for me. We did a few headshots, and then a full length shot. She has that hair in the eyes thing going on that I just love!

Alpaca on Rios Street // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Brown Alpaca // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsOrange Bougainvillea // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Eventually one of her Alpaca friends wandered over, and wanted in on the action…

/ Photo: Cheryl Spelts

The houses in the Los Rios District range in age from 50 to over 200 years old. You can read more about the individual houses, and the Los Rios District at sanjuancapistrano.net

Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsRios Street // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Rios Street, in San Juan Capistrano // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

White picket fences seem to be quite popular on Rios Street.

Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

San Jaun Capistrano Train Station // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsOld San Juan Capistrano // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

I arrived on Rios Street just before sunset, and by the time I left the sun had set, and the the restaurants were hopping, and the movie theater across a side street was open for business…

2 Replies to “Old San Juan Capistrano”

  1. I am interested in your pictures of the homes on Rios Street for a series for a wall in an office at a school in San Juan. How would I go about purchasing prints or digital access ?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Jeannine! I was really involved with law school in 2015, and unfortunately I didn’t see this comment. I’m so sorry! I hope you were able to find images of Rios Street somewhere else!

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