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New book by local historians brings San Juan Bautista to life
By Ben Bannister   - 07/20/2007

The Weekend Pinnacle

More Info on This Book: San Juan Bautista

Walk through the corridors of the Mission past dust-ridden streets and you will find what many people call a state treasure and what more than 1,500 people call home.

Local authors and historians Joseph McMahon, Carla Hendershot, along with the Plaza History Association, help readers to see a different perspective and experience San Juan Bautista in a fresh life with their new book on the Mission city.

"Images of America - San Juan Bautista" is a book of quality that is rich in text and information. It brings San Juan Bautista to life and allows for readers to garner a deeper understanding and connection with the historic town. With a detailed photographic history of three important stages in San Juan's history, including the Spanish Mission period, Mexican period, and Statehood and American Period, readers see the full spectrum of events that occurred throughout the centuries. Many figures, buildings, and places that would have already been forgotten are illuminated through old photography and factual manuscripts.

The book is a tribute to past patrons who worked, lived, and died within the one square mile of the Mission, as well as a testament to the people's perseverance in keeping the town alive through a number of difficulties.

The writers and historians do an excellent job in restoring forgotten events and misplaced stories in a historic and thoughtful context.

Readers can expect to discover personal stories of real men and woman who were influential in the forming and building of San Juan Bautista as well as important events that transpired and shaped not only the town's history, but the state's as well.

One interesting fact about San Juan Bautista that I learned from the book is that the mission used to be known as the mission of music because of the native Mutsun Indians who enjoyed singing.

Among the fascinating things I've learned there are also the tragic things. In its history something that threatened its very existence was the by pass of the railroad from San Juan to Hollister. This event was devastating to local businesses, which afterwards struggled to survive.

The book "Images of America - San Juan Bautista" is a great way to understand the historic past of one of the state's hidden treasures.

With insight and intuition San Juan Bautista is seen in a clear context more available even to the narrowest of perspectives. "San Juan Bautista" is a great book for any history enthusiast looking for personal stories weaved between historic events. The sheer quantity of vintage photographs and detailed information makes the book a hometown commodity.

For me, San Juan Bautista offers so much beauty and culture, from the historic mission to the lovely countryside in which it is placed, its not hard to understand why the spot was chosen in the late 18th century. Visiting the mission and its surrounding area can be a deep and enriching experience.

In previous visits to San Juan Bautista's mission my understanding and respect for its importance and value was pretty much non existent. I went, I saw, and at the end I left with little impact to me as a person.

There were remnants of how things used to be and how things used to function but with little information to bring the place to life, I found connecting difficult.

It is one thing to see a piece of architecture and admire the creativity of its design, and it is another thing to understand its background, history, and past in a way that connects you with it.

After reading many of the personal stories of individual's triumphs and of San Juan Bautista, the next time I visit San Juan Bautista I will feel connected more with its history and its present.

The book is published through Arcadia publishing most famous for its production of local histories across America. Arcadia Publishing Company has released more than 3,000 titles over its 13 year history.

San Juan Bautista, $19.99. Arcadia publishing. Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

Buy It Now: San Juan Bautista $19.99

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