Founded on June 24, 1797, San Juan Bautista was named for St. John The Baptist and was the 15th of the Missions Forts built. The Mission served as the primary Military Garrison for The Region, housing over 150 Officers and men. A Nunnery was also established as was over 6,000 acres of farmland for cattle, sheep and swine. The Mission planted an extensive Winery (and produced superior grade wines). The first California Native American “Band” was formed when local Priest's (with a fondness for music) – taught a group of 20 Natives how to play and read music. The “Band” preformed many Concerts over the years. The local small Town of San Juan Bautista developed around the Mission, as a result of the California Gold Rush of 1848-49.
Due to the Missions location in relation to The San Andreas Faultline, it had suffered many earthquakes and is constantly in a state of repair (although technology and building is much more accurate that the 18th Century!) The final bit of recent damage was finally completed in 2010 with the rebuilding of the Mission Bell Towers. The Missions “real” claim to fame was due to iconic British/American Film Master Sir Alfred Hitchcock. He used both the interiors and exteriors of the Mission extensively in his classic 1958 Thriller “Vertigo”. In addition, the Mission has one of the largest Native American Cemeteries in The State, with over 6,000 burials dating from the 18th through 20th Centuries.