Behind The History of Mission Viejo

The United States Census Bureau states that the city spans an area of 18.1 square miles, with 17.7 square miles being land and the remaining 0.4 square miles, or 2.12%, being water. A notable feature is Lake Mission Viejo, a man-made lake that extends about a mile, stretching from Olympiad Road to Alicia Parkway along Marguerite Parkway.

Don Juan Forster: The English-born Mexican Ranchero

Rancho Mission Viejo, a significant landmark, was once under the ownership of Don Juan Forster. Born in England but deeply rooted in Mexican culture, Forster played a pivotal role during the Mexican–American War. He generously supplied fresh horses to the U.S. military, aiding their march from San Diego to Los Angeles.

Mission Viejo: The Undulating Grazing Lands

The picturesque terrain of Mission Viejo, characterized by its rolling hills, was primarily a sanctuary for cattle and sheep. Its intricate geology rendered it less favorable for farming. Consequently, it remained one of the last untouched regions in Orange County, with many developers in the 1960s labeling vast stretches of its land as “undevelopable.”

Donald Bren’s Visionary Urban Planning

Enter Donald Bren, a visionary urban planner who would later helm the Irvine Company. Bren saw potential where others didn’t. He meticulously crafted a master plan, aligning roads with the natural valleys and positioning houses atop the hills, ensuring harmony with the area’s unique geography. This innovative approach bore fruit, and by the 1980s, Mission Viejo transformed into a bustling urban hub. The city’s homes, designed in the iconic Spanish mission style, became a hot commodity. Their “adobe”-like stucco walls and barrel-tile roofs became synonymous with the city’s identity. Many attribute this architectural trend in Mission Viejo to Bren’s profound appreciation for Spanish designs. But his influence wasn’t limited to this city alone. His company was instrumental in shaping developments in Irvine, Newport Beach, and even ventured beyond California, marking its presence in Tempe, Arizona, and the Denver Metropolitan area.

The Emblematic Seal of Mission Viejo

A city’s seal is emblematic of its identity, and Mission Viejo’s is no exception. Crafted with precision and artistry by Carl Glassford, a former resident and renowned artist, the seal stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and vibrant culture.

Today, Mission Viejo known for wonderful inspiring landscapes and parks.

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