People of all ages will have a chance to see, breathe and relive the making of this master-planned community through a massive oral history project that captures the roots of Mission Viejo. To give the public a condensed sneak peek of this incredible project, the City will air two 30-minute episodes of “Mission Viejo: A Living Legacy” beginning Tuesday at 8 p.m. on MVTV Channel 30.
The City’s oral history project – “Capturing the Origins of a Master-Planned Community Through Oral Histories: Mission Viejo and Saddleback Valley” - is about preserving the unique history of the founding of one of the first planned communities in the nation. It’s an inside look at the overall process and what kind of planning it took to build Mission Viejo, now a city of over 100,000. The project, which was fueled by a $30,000 grant, took several months and 1,000 volunteer hours to complete. It features roughly 30 hours of interviews with 10 different people – many who were intimately involved in the Mission Viejo Company that talk about how this community went from ranchland to a city.
“I can think of no greater way to honor the legacy of the Mission Viejo Company than to allow the pioneers who created this master-planned community ‘from scratch’ to tell their fascinating story in their own words,” said former Mayor Robert Breton, who wrote the scripts and conducted the interviews for the project. “The magnificent story of how these trailblazers developed America’s most successful master-planned community from the ground up deserves to be told and to be preserved for future generations. Mission Viejo residents young and old will be captivated as they learn just how it all happened.”
The purpose of the project was to create a series of oral history video interviews, written transcripts of the interviews and a highlights program about the founding of the community. The Mission Viejo Library’s Local History page will feature links to the actual interviews, full transcripts, and the TV episodes. DVDs of the interview and printed, bound copies of the transcripts will be held in the library’s Local History Collection as well as in the University of California, Irvine Library’s Special Collection. The oral history project is perfect for residents, students and scholars studying history, planned communities and the development of suburban California in the late 20th Century.
“For me, this year-long project has been a labor of love,” Breton said. “I always wanted to capture this intriguing story on film – to see it in their faces and hear it in the voices of Mission Viejo’s founding fathers – before memories fade and people die. What an exciting privilege it has been for me to interview these visionary geniuses who created such a unique, world-class community.”
This City project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.