California Historical Landmark
No. 227 Location: 1900 Adams, Costa Mesa
Above left: A mission bell from the Blue Star Memorial Highway
was saved and placed on the grounds near the restored adobe. Right: The
Estancia Adobe contains artifacts from four distinct periods.
Owned by the Segerstrom family from 1940 to 1963, the Diego
Sepulveda Adobe Estancia and a surrounding five-acre site were given to
the City of Costa Mesa as a memorial to the early settlers of the area.
It was recently restored and transformed by the City into a museum at 1900
Adams Avenue. On a bluff overlooking the present day cities of Costa Mesa,
Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach, adobe "Estancia" was constructed
some time between 1820 and 1823. Built by missionaries as a way-station
for the vaqueros who tended herds from Mission San Juan Capistrano, it
later became the home of Don Diego Sepulveda. The property changed hands
many times until local land owners, the Segerstrom family, acquired it
in 1940. They gave the property to the City of Costa Mesa in 1963, and
although only a tiny portion of the original adobe remains, every effort
was made to reconstruct and capture what once stood on the exact spot it
occupies today. Where is the Adobe? SEE
The adobe's three rooms reflect the history of the property
with artifacts on display from four distinct periods: Indian, Mission,
Spanish and Victorian. A mastodon skeleton which was discovered on the
property not long ago, takes guests back further in time. Who would
know that the lush, green lawns of a public park surrounding the building
hold so many buried treasures?
Open by appointment, you must call the Costa Mesa Historical
Society to arrange a tour of the adobe.. They can be reached at 949-631-5918.
Their mailing address is: P.O. Box 1764, Costa Mesa, California 92628
Towering trees which surround the building also provide
generous shade for picnics. A barbecue pit and picnic tables make this
a perfect spot to visit and enjoy. I called the City of Costa Mesa Parks
and Recreation Department, asking about arrangements for those interested
in holding special events such as weddings at the Adobe.. They said
the Adobe was small and would only serve well as a dressing area for an
outdoor wedding. They said a fee is charged to reserve the park area so
it is possible to hold special events here, apparently.
-Costa Mesa, A Brief History-
. In 1810, this same area was a part of the Spanish land grant
of Santiago Del Santa Ana made to Jose Antonio Yorba. By 1880, settlers
had begun buying portions of the rancho from Yorba's heirs and in the same
decade established the town of Fairview. A school house and church were
built near the present intersection of harbor and Adams, and a 25-room
hotel accommodated visitors to the nearby hot sulfur springs. But in early
1889, a storm washed out the railroad and brought financial disaster to
the community which soon reverted to a farming country.
By this time, the little town of Harper, named after a
nearby rancher, had emerged on a siding of the Santa Ana and Newport Railroad.
Its first business, Ozmen's General Store, stood on the corner of Newport
and 18th Streets and contained the City's first post office, established
in 1909. On May 11, 1920, Harper officially changed its name to Costa Mesa,
which means coastal tableland in Spanish, and continued as an agricultural
community, growing sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, strawberries, and apples.
Building and oil drilling industries began to bring growth
to the City when the depression hit Southern California. Industries collapsed
and the local bank closed. More disaster followed when the 1933 earthquake
shook the town, damaging businesses and the Main School. But the school
was soon rebuilt and continued in operation as the Clara McNally School.
These buildings are now used for school administrative and service purposes.
World War II brought many thousands of people to
the area for training at the Santa Ana Army Air Base, located on what is
now the Orange County Fairgrounds, Orange Coast College, and the present
site of the Civic Center. When the war ended, many of these men returned
with their families to begin the population boom which continues today.
On June 29, 1953, the City was incorporated and City Council-Manager
form of government was chosen. The new City had an area of 3.5 square miles
and a population of 16,840. Within 35 years, by 1988, the population had
risen to 90,000 and the area to 17 square miles.
Today, Costa Mesa is a major commercial and industrial
center of Orange County. The City, which formally adopted the slogan "The
City of the Arts in late 1984, is home to a regional symphony orchestra
and the South Coast Repertory Theater. Ground was broken in 1983 for the
Orange County Performing Arts Center. This center includes a 3,000 seat
facility which was completed in 1985, and a 1,000 seat auditorium slated
for future development.
-Information from: the City of Costa Mesa, California
and Costa Mesa Historical Society
Mission San Juan Capistrano, 21
Newland House in Huntington
Airports serving Costa Mesa
Diego Sepulveda Adobe Estancia
South Coast Plaza