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Judge Richard Egan served as alcalde, or chief dignitary, of San Juan Capistrano in the late 19th century. San Juan Capistrano resident Judge Warren Siegel will assume the role of Egan in a special performance “interview” hosted by the Historical Society on Wednesday, October 16. Courtesy of the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society
Judge Richard Egan served as alcalde, or chief dignitary, of San Juan Capistrano in the late 19th century. San Juan Capistrano resident Judge Warren Siegel will assume the role of Egan in a special performance “interview” hosted by the Historical Society on Wednesday, October 16. Courtesy of the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society

Compiled by The Capistrano Dispatch

The Historical Society is hosting a special performance event that explores what life was like in late 19th century San Juan Capistrano through the eyes of two of the area’s most colorful historic residents, Judge Richard Egan and Madame Helena Modjeska.

The event, called “An Evening of Conversation with Judge Richard Egan and Madame Helena Modjeska,” will take place at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, 25925 Camino del Avion, on Wednesday, October 16, at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The Historical Society’s Michelle Kelly will moderate a “historical interview” with Judge Egan and Modjeska, who will be portrayed by San Juan Capistrano resident Judge Warren Siegel and Camino Real Playhouse actress Jessica Morrow, respectively.

Judge Egan, who lived from 1842 to 1923, was a resident of San Juan Capistrano for more than 50 years. He served as alcalde, or chief dignitary of the area, and was also a school board member, surveyor, county supervisor and Mission preservationist. His red brick house, known as the Harmony Hall, served as the center of the town’s social life and currently sits across the street from El Adobe de Capistrano.

Modjeska was considered one of the greatest Shakespearean actresses of her time. She and her husband built a home in Santiago Canyon called Arden, named after the forest in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Modjeska and her husband were also close friends with Egan.

For more information, visit www.sjchistoricalsociety.com or cal 949.493.8444.

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comments (1)

  • COMMENTS:

    Great article. This is going to be a very interesting event. Please save the date, mark it on your calendar and come on out and enjoy it. Judge Egan was a major character in San Juan’s growth. Let’s stop by and listen in on this historical conversation. Congratulations to the Historical Society for putting together this fabulous program. Judge Egan oversaw our area’s transition from a remote stage-coach outpost to a railroad town to a thriving early 20th agricultural center.

    Stop by the library if you’re in the mood for more California history; we will have a display of 19th century historical and Western books to help you brush up on that significant period in our history. The Reference Desk and the library’s reference librarians are a great resource for the New Spain, Alta California, the Mission, Californio, Statehood and Rancho Periods in our history (and virtually everything else, for that matter), so stop by and say hello, do a little research, or get your questions answered or just re-familiarize yourself with that era in our history. It continues to shape our town and has left its mark on our wonderful city in almost every way possible. And don’t forget to stop by the Friends’ Bookstore; we have some excellent Western books for sale as well.

    We are looking forward to this exciting opportunity to hear this very interesting historical interview with Judge Egan and Madame Modjeska.

    See you there!

    Mary D
    SJC Friends of the Library

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