From a mission outpost, to a Mexican
Rancho, to an Indian crossroads settlement, to a Mexican Rancho, to a railway
community, to a modern city, Temecula is one of the most historic communities
in Southern California. The story of Temecula is varied and rich.
The Temecula Indian tribe were the
first inhabitants of the region and lived on the hillsides of Temecula. As
early as 900A.D. descendants The Temecula Indian Tribe lived s in this area.
During the 1700’s, the Temecula area was also inhabited by Luiseno Indian
Tribes. This was around s the same time that some the first Spanish pioneers arrived.
A man named Juan Norberto Santiago was the first known European man to arrive
in the valley in 1797.
In order to keep control of the
region during the middle 1800’s Mexican politics were changing as governors of
the province began making land grants to various people. A man named Felix
Valdez was granted Rancho Temecula in 1845. In 1858, Temecula became a stopover
on the Butterfield Overland Stage route, which established the region as a
center for commerce. The Temecula Post Office was established as the first post
office to be located in inland Southern California in 1859. The stagecoaches
brought new pioneers to the region and mail became an important link with the
remainder of the nation.
The great Butterfield Overland Stage
service was brought to an end by the Civil War. However, in 1882, a railroad
line between Temecula and National was finished with regular service between Temecula
and National. This gave regular access to and from San Diego and a minor
business boom started in Temecula. In 1883, the line was extended to San
Bernardino further providing for a thriving commerce in 1883. However, during the
late 1880’s, numerous floods washed out the tracks and the railroad service was
New roads helped to make Temecula
known to the outside world during the early 1900’s. In 1984 and 1968 the first
commercial vineyard was planted by a man named Vincenzo Cilurzo. Altogether, there
were eight wineries in operation. The year 1989 brought the official incorporation
OF Temecula as a city. Temecula started growing at an amazing rate and the current
population of Temecula’s is more than 100,000 people. However, the City of
Temecula still retains a bright outlook on its future as well as a connection
to its history despite the rapid growth that Temecula experienced.
Preserving the Old West charm and heritage
of Temecula has been a successful as the beautifully restored Old Town Temecula
has come to be known favorite location for exploring unique dining, and shopping
exclusive boutiques, art galleries and antique dealers, not to mention visiting
one of the many museums. There are special events all year round as well as a
weekly Farmer’s Market.
Visitors and their families can stroll
down the streets of Old Town Temecula and enjoy the sight of storefronts that
are reminiscent of the historic golden west during the 1880’s, sidewalks and rustic
became a stop on the stage lines that were becoming the best route in
California during the 1850’s. This route became so popular that a post office
was established in a community that, at the time was a rare institution in Sothern
California. In the late 1860’s displaced Confederate soldiers relocated to the
area after the Civil War, settlement increased.
retained many of its Mexican, Spanish and Native Indian culture and customs primarily
as the result of the area’s isolation long after California was ceded to the U.S.
However, during this timeframe, Native Indian lands were being seized or bought
and when the tribal nations signed a treaty that relinquished the rest of their
lands in the Temecula Valley, in 1875, it was effectively the final blow. The Native
Indians who were still there were relocated to the Pechanga some ten years
1881, the economy in Temecula was boosted with the arrival of the railroad line
when the route was extended to the area. However, this railroad was later abandoned
as the result of damage due to continuous flooding. During these years, the primarily
industries were shipping, cattle, and stone quarries.
Vail arrived in Temecula and purchased almost
90,000 acres in the area in 1904. During the first half of the 1900’s Mr. Vail’s
family helped to shape and influence the community. The biggest achievement
that was made by the Vail family was damming the Temecula River, which in 1948,
created Vail Lake.
1961, Mahlon Vail had been successfully operating the huge Vail Cattle Ranch
for almost 60 years. Mr. Vail wasn’t in his 70’s and had failing health. Mr.
Vail started actively looking for a buyer for his ranch since he didn’t have
any immediate heirs. A man named Richard Break who was an experienced broker
and farm manager from Fresno was one of the potential buyers. Mr. Break sought
the opinion for a professional with regard to the feasibility of growing citrus
on the land. Mr. Break became convinced that the soil conditions and climate in
the Valley were best suited for growing wine grapes after reviewing temperature
records for the Temecula region that were maintained by the University of
California at Riverside.