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History of Mission Viejo

Mission Viejo which houses over 96,000 residents, is labeled as one of the biggest master-planned communities under a single project in the USA.

Do you know how a perfect city came to life? Let’s take a trip down memory lane as we explore the history of Mission Viejo.

Looking back, Mission Viejo was once a witness of the days when men rode on horses to drive their cattle. Mission Viejo was a hilly region without anybody thinking that it could be what it is right now – a significant and progressive community. In fact, early developers labeled most parts of the land as ‘undevelopable.’

This town was once a part of a 53,000-acre land owned by the O’Neill family. When Richard O’Neill died, the property was divided to his three children: Jerome, Mary and Richard Jr. Later, Richard Jr., who had two children, inherited his part of the land.

In 1963, the O’Neills decided to sell the 11,000 acres of their land for non-agriculture development. But they didn’t sell it to anyone who wasn’t responsible enough to preserve the surrounding areas. They chose a buyer that could maintain the environment.

The Mission Viejo Company was formed by Dick O’Neill, Jerome Moiso, and Tony Moiso, who were also the board of directors. Together, they ensured that the land would grow and develop with controlled quality.

The Mission Viejo Company worked hard to create a master plan community. They specified the number of houses, parks, recreational activities, and spaces. The community’s master planner was Donald Bren. He was an urban planner that later become Irvine Company’s President. History says that Mission Viejo was the first and largest project that represented Bren’s Spanish architecture obsession.

The plan included placing roads in the valleys, houses on the hills, and contoured the geography of the area. The first sold real estate property in Mission Viejo was in 1966.

With all the efforts of the Mission Viejo Company, the plan was completed by 1980.

In the early years of 1970 to 1980, houses in Mission Viejo were highly demanded and competitively priced in the Southern California region. In fact, housing territories were already sold even before the construction of homes was done.

Then it was all history! More houses were constructed as well as shopping malls that had a Spanish influence added to them.

In 1988, Mission Viejo was officially declared a city. After that declaration there were many popular attractions such as Lake Mission Viejo and Saddleback College that were developed. Further developments of the city were a library, hospitals, public, and private schools.

It’s hard to believe that a once hilly region turned into a middle class suburban community with over 100,000 people calling it their official home.

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