San Juan Bautista Plaza Historic District

Buildings surrounding plaza at Washington, Mariposa, and 2nd Sts., San Juan Bautista, California


Mission San Juan Bautista, Second Street

1. Historic American Buildings Survey Roger Sturtevant, Photographer Feb. 16, 1934 EAST ELEVATION OF MONASTERY AND CHURCH (FRONT) - GENERAL VIEW

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress



This historic district consist of the San Jaun Bautista church, the Plaza Hall, the Plaza Stable, the Jose Castro House & the Plaza Hotel. The Castro house also has it's own listing.

The Plaza Hotel is located on the site of the original barracks for the soldiers of the Mission San Juan Bautista, which was founded in 1797 as California's fifteenth mission. The church and attached arcaded monastery on the northwest side of San Juan Plaza were completed in 1812. The soldiers' quarters on the southwest side of the plaza -- consisting of a one story adobe and an adjoining two story guard house -- were completed in 1815. Beginning in 1835, San Juan served as headquarters for Jose Tiburcio Castro while he served as the mission's secular administrator. From 1839 to 1848 it was headquarters for his son, Jose Antonio Castro, while he was prefect of the "First District" (Northern California) and then as comandante of California. San Juan developed into a prosperous commercial center shortly after the occupation of California by the United States. In 1855 an Italian chef, Angelo Zanetta, purchased the property on which the soldiers' quarters was located, combined the two existing structures, and added a wood framed second story to the adobe to complete the structure as it exists today. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS CA-1954)

The square bell tower shown in the 1934 photos was demolished in 1949 due to its poor condition. The current tower on the north side.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1969
Reference number
Architectural styles
Colonial; Other architectural type; Spanish colonial
Areas of significance
Community Planning and Development; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Religious structure; Hotel; Single dwelling
Current functions
Religious structure; Single dwelling; Hotel
Periods of significance
1850-1874; 1800-1824; 1750-1799; 1825-1849
Significant years
1813; 1874
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 4
Contributing structures: 1

Update Log 

  • October 30, 2017: New photos from Jim Allen
  • October 11, 2017: New photos from Jim Allen
  • March 1, 2017: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger

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