The city of San Clemente encompasses 15 square miles of both coastlines and scenic foothills. The area though long admired by explorers remained almost uninhabited until the year 1776. At that time, Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded by Father Jiipero Serra. This establishment resulted in both Indian and Spanish settlements nearby.
Though rights to the property changed hands several times, few attempted to build on it until Ole Hanson, former mayor of Seattle, purchased it in 1925. From that point, he designed a 2,000 acre community. Hanson believed that the gorgeous beaches, inviting climate and bountiful soil would serve as a haven to California residents that were tired of city life. He decided to name the city “San Clemente” San Clemente island. The island itself was named by the explorer Vizcaino in 1602 as a tribute to Saint Clement, the patron saint of November 23rd
(the day he arrived on the island).
Ole Hanson worked tirelessly promoting the beauty and benefits of the area while selling property to interested buyers. His vision for “San Clemente by the Sea” was to build structures in the classic Spanish style with red tile roofs. He built many public structures including the Beach Club, the Community Center, the iconic pier as well as the Max Berg Plaza Park. All of these properties were eventually donated to the city and the area was incorporated on February 27th 1928.