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Mon Sep 16, 2013, 03:03 PM

Past is always a present for San Juan Capistrano preservationist (LA Times)

Past is always a present for San Juan Capistrano preservationist

For the last several decades, Swiss-born preservationist Ilse Byrnes, 86, has battled to save places that tell California's story.

By Paloma Esquivel
Photography by Don Bartletti
September 16, 2013

Ilse Byrnes wanders down Los Rios Street, pointing out San Juan Capistrano's patchwork of historic homes: elegant Victorians, 18th century adobes, picket-fenced cottages sheltered by a scattering of trees. Just across the tracks, a construction company is remodeling a two-story adobe building. A sign says it'll be a winery.

She grumbles. "Oh, God. Another winery."

Workers at the construction site sift through dirt and debris, searching, in part, fornative artifacts under the guidance of Joyce Stanfield Perry, of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians. Perry stops and waves at Byrnes.

"How are ya? Did you find any treasures?" Byrnes asks.

"Lots," Perry says.

Outside a teahouse, Byrnes greets a gaggle of older women wearing red hats, purple suits, and some feathers and beads to match — members of the Red Hat Society social group who had taken the train to San Juan on a sightseeing trip.

So it goes throughout her stroll-slash-tour: The 86-year-old preservationist is a bit of an institution in this town she fell in love with more than five decades ago.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-c1-ilse-byrnes-20130916-dto,0,5806212.htmlstory

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Reply Past is always a present for San Juan Capistrano preservationist (LA Times) (Original post)
pinto Sep 2013 OP
antiquie Sep 2013 #1
pinto Sep 2013 #2
Iwillnevergiveup Sep 2013 #3

Response to pinto (Original post)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 03:24 PM

1. Ilse Byrnes, another local hero.

 

I took the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society couch tour with Huell Howser. Thanks, this was a good story.

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Response to antiquie (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:11 PM

2. I love these local slices the LA Times brings up from time to time.

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Response to pinto (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 18, 2013, 12:37 AM

3. Same here

and bravo to Ilse.

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