The legendary swallows aren't the only annual returnees to San Juan Capistrano. The great coastal mission draws more than 500,000 visitors a year into the southern reaches of Orange County. The most famous of all the missions in the California system established in the 18th century by Franciscan friar Junipero Serra, Mission San Juan Capistrano still contains the Serra Chapel, the oldest church in California, and the only building still standing where the good padre celebrated mass. But San Juan Capistrano is more than its well-known mission. Its epic story encompasses the rancho days and land barons, California statehood, the arrival of the San Diego Freeway in 1958, city incorporation in 1961, and recent growth from 10,000 residents in 1974 to 34,000 in 2004.