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Trip PlannerUSA  /  California  /  Orange County  /  San Clemente

San Clemente

4.2
Piers & Boardwalks · Beaches · Hiking Trails
San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California, United States. The population was 63,522 at the 2010 census. Located on the California Coast, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego at the southern tip of the county, it is known for its ocean, hill, and mountain views, a pleasant climate and its Spanish Colonial style architecture. San Clemente's city slogan is "Spanish Village by the Sea". The official city flower is the Bougainvillea, the official city tree the Coral.HistoryEarly colonizationPrior to colonization by Spaniards, the area was inhabited by the Juaneño native people. Long admired by explorers and passing settlers, it remained virtually uninhabited until 1776, when Mission San Juan Capistrano was established by Father Junipero Serra, which led both Indians and Spanish settlers to establish villages nearby. After the founding of Mission San Juan Capistrano, the local natives were conscripted to work for the mission.Becoming a cityProperty rights to the land exchanged hands several times, but few ventured to build on it until 1925, when former Mayor of Seattle, Ole Hanson, an out-of-town, major land developer, with the financial help of a syndicate headed by Hamilton Cotton, purchased and designed a 2000acre community. Hanson believed the area's pleasant climate, beautiful beaches, and fertile soil would serve as a haven to Californians tired of "the big city." He named the city after San Clemente Island, which in turn was named by the explorer Vizcaino in 1602 after Saint Clement, whose feast day occurs on November 23, the day of Vizcaino's arrival on the island. Hanson envisioned it as a Mediterranean-style coastal resort town, his "San Clemente by the Sea." He had a clause added to the deeds requiring all building plans to be submitted to an architectural review board in an effort to ensure that future development would retain red tile roofs and white exteriors. But this proved to be short-lived; in the oldest parts of town you find an eclectic mix of building styles.
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