San Juan Bautista State Historic Park

Explore – San Juan Bautista State Historic Park

Imagine a place where you can step back into history and walk the paths of the Spanish padres, Mexican government officials, European emigrants, Gold Rush Miners, and Victorian ladies. All in one place.

San Juan Bautista, the crossroads of California.

The Amah-Mutsun village of Popelouchum once overlooked the rich marshlands of what is now San Juan Bautista. Called Ohlone, the Amah-Mutsun people arose to form an advanced culture and civilization.

In 1797 the Spanish created the mission using Native labor. The colony drained the marshes and grew wheat, corn, grapes, olives, and vegetables. Thousands of cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, and goats roamed the hillsides, destroying the natural habitats.

Later, Jose Castro and others moved from Mexico seeking independence from country and church. These Californios acquired huge cattle ranches in the 1830s when the missions broke up. The Amah-Mutsun lost their second home and livelihood.

The Californio dream did not last long. Immigrants from the United State, Europe, and Asia swarmed into California. Gold, land, and freedom brought thousands of settlers. The Breen family, John Comfort, Angelo Zanetta, and other immigrants built a new life in this rich valley.

Take a journey and discover how San Juan Bautista State Historic Park preserves the heritage of the many diverse peoples that crossed into California.


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