Mission Viejo is steeped in a tradition that dates back to the vanishing days of men on horses driving cattle. Nearly 25 years ago, the Mission Viejo Co. bought a 10,000-acre section of Rancho Mission Viejo from the O’Neill family, which once owned much of the land from Oceanside to El Toro. The company would create a master plan for a community, specifying the number of parks, homes, recreational activities and retail spaces. The rolling hills of the valley, home to a sea of grazing cattle, soon would also become home to seekers of “The California Promise.”
The vision for the community began in 1963 with a planner’s blueprint. The general development plan wound its way through the maze of county permits and by 1966 the first homes were sold, according to the Mission Viejo Co. Fewer than a handful of changes – among them the additions of Saddleback College and lake Mission Viejo – have been made to that initial plan. Currently, over 100,000 people call Mission Viejo home.