August 28 marks the 52nd anniversary of the restoration of the Diego Sepulveda Adobe. Originally built in the early 1800s as an outpost for vaqueros from Mission San Juan Capistrano, the adobe is not just Costa Mesa’s oldest building, it’s one of the oldest in Orange County.
In 1961 clapboard walls that had been built around the original building caught fire, reminding historians, among others, of the adobe structure beneath. The Segerstrom family donated the adobe’s 5-acre site to the city the next year. The city, led by assistant city engineer George Madsen, restored the structure under the direction of the Costa Mesa Historical Society. Some reconstruction was necessary, but the restoration and furnishing process employed period methods wherever possible. The project was a resounding success. An estimated 700 people toured the “estancia” during the first open house in August 1966.
In 2012 Mexican artisans made further restorations. Floors were sealed, walls whitewashed, and exhibits updated, thus preserving the California landmark for a new generation.