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Temecula, CA 92593

Nestled between lush rolling hills with a climate of ocean-swept air, Temecula's natural splendor hosts a rich history, beautiful vineyards, resorts and casinos, recreation, and a choice of entertaining activities.

Temecula's picturesque wine country features over 18 award-winning wineries where you can spend a relaxing day touring and tasting world-class wines. Take pleasure in a round of golf at one of Temecula Valley's seven championship golf courses, go hiking, or spend a day of fishing at the lakes. Soar above the lush green vineyards in an early morning hot air balloon ride and see what makes the Temecula countryside so unique. Visit the Old West in Historic Old Town Temecula and then take a stroll along the streets to shop at the many antique, specialty, and boutique stores. Stop off at one of our exciting entertainment casinos for shows and sporting events. Be sure to experience the flavors of dishes created from top chefs at one of the many fine-dining establishments.

Recreation, Tourism, Cultural Arts. Temecula has 36 parks, joint-use school facilities and community centers covering 215.4 acres, an average of one acre per 337.5 residents, lower than any of the inland region's major cities. The system is family oriented and provides extensive access to soccer, baseball, tennis, in-line skating, swimming and basketball facilities. Nearly every park has children's play areas plus picnic and barbecue facilities. Areas and facilities have been set aside for serious joggers and cyclists. The city's largest park covers 73 acres and offers nearly every form of sports and entertainment possibilities. It has many lighted courts and fields, and a large community meeting facility.

Temecula's 18 wineries are a unique Inland Empire asset. They grow a wide range of varietal grapes, including California favorites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Areas like the wine country and Old Town serve as hubs for the city's tourism. The expansion of the Pechanga Entertainment Center, with the passage of the state's Indian gaming measure, is adding to the lure of an area already known for annual events like the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, the spring & fall Rod Run, Temecula Valley International Film & Music Festival, the Arts in the County Festival, the Frontier Days Rodeo, and more.

A wide array of arts and cultural programs are available in the Temecula Valley for adults and children. Art classes, art shows, jazz festivals, music and dance concerts plus theatrical productions are offered to appeal to people of all ages and interests. The Temecula Valley Unified School District provides an arts education curriculum and is working in collaboration with the Arts Council of Temecula Valley on after school art programs.

Temecula is centrally located in ideal surroundings, not far from sunbathing on the beach, skiing in the mountains, exploring the deserts, or a wealth of recreation opportunities to enjoy. With a population over 67,000, it is one of the fastest growing cities in California, located 85 miles southeast from Los Angeles, 42 miles south of Riverside, and 60 miles north of San Diego.

The Temecula Indians occupied this valley for nearly 1,000 years before the first Europeans arrived. They lived in domed tule-grass huts in a valley rich in food sources. Perhaps the most important source were the great groves of oak trees that provided their staple food of acorns. The name Temecula has been adapted from its original meaning to eventually be known as Sunlight Through The Mist.

The Indians' daily life, manner of producing food, and religious system forever changed with Spain's founding of the nearby Mission San Luis Rey in 1798. Having come under the influence of this mission, they became known as Luiseno Indians, where they gained ranching, framing, and construction knowledge from the mission padres.

After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, a law of secularization was passed. In 1833, the mission lands were to be handed over to the Indians, however, the mission came under the control of various secular administrators, several of whom managed to gain title to large portions of former mission land, leaving nothing to the Luisenos.

By the mid 1840's, it became apparent that Mexico's hold on California could no longer be retained, and Governor Manuel Micheltoreno and later Governor Pio Pico began the process of making land grants to individuals, usually retired soldiers or friends of the governor. These large land grants were called ranchos.

The first grant was that of Rancho Temecula, a provisional grant to Pio Pico in 1840. Felix Valdez, a Mexican army officer acquired it in 1844. In 1845, two more grants were given, that of Rancho Santa Rosa to Juan Moreno, and Rancho Pauba to Vincente Moraga and Luis Arenas. Another grant was made to Pablo Apis, establishing the Little Temecula Rancho in 1845. Pablo Apis was a young Luiseno Indian at Mission San Luis Rey, who later became chief of the Temecula Indians. The granting of the ranchos completed the secularization of mission lands in the Temecula Valley. The passing of the ranchos into private ownership ushered in the romantic era of rancheros and vaqueros, for which early California is best known. It was a short-lived era, but perhaps nowhere in California did its aura linger longer than in the Temecula Valley.

War between the United States and Mexico started in 1846, and troops were sent to California where they suffered their worst defeat of the war at San Pasqual on December 6th. A few days later, Luiseno Indians ambushed a group of the victorious Mexicans at Pauma Valley, known as the Pauma Massacre.

In 1847, near the end of the war, a group of 15 Mexican soldiers was dispatched to avenge the Pauma Massacre and enlisted the help of Cahuilla Indians, who were enemies of the Luisenos. Many Luisenos lost their lives after being lured to open ground and attacked from behind. This attack became known as the Temecula Massacre.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848 officially ended the Mexican War, and resulted in Mexico transferring California and most of the Southwest to the United States. After California became a state in 1850, Congress settled Indian land claims.

On January 5, 1852, the U.S. government and various area tribes signed the Treaty of Temecula. The Indians were promised all the lands from Temecula and Aguanga east to the desert, including the San Jacinto Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass, in exchange for ceding all other land rights to the government.

Public opinion was immediately against the terms of the treaties, and once Congress learned of the terms of this and the other treaties, they refused to ratify any of them. American landowners evicted the Indians, many of them ending up at Pechanga, about 3 miles southwest of their old homes. In 1882, by executive order of President Chester A. Arthur, a reservation of 4,907 acres was officially established in the Pechanga Canyon.

The California Southern Railroad was also completed at this time and carried quarried granite from the hills surrounding Temecula to Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Francisco. The tracks between Fallbrook and Temecula were laid too low in the canyon, so heavy rains flooded the tracks twice in the early years. Limited railroad service continued until 1935, when the development of major roads made the valley much more accessible.

In 1858, John Butterfield of New York, founder of the American Express Company, signed a contract with the United States government for $600,000 a year. The Butterfield Overland Mail Company would be the first regularly scheduled mail carrier between the Mississippi and the Pacific. The route would start twice a week in St. Louis, Missouri and arrive in San Francisco, California about 23 days later. The 2,600 mile route traveled at 5 miles an hour on the Southern Emigrant Trail, passed through Temecula, stopping at the Magee Store. The Butterfield Overland Mail Company ceased operations in 1861, due to the start of the Civil War. The federal government would no longer honor the contract, as the mail route traversed a number of southern states.

The first public school opened near Wolf Valley around 1873. It later came to be known as the Little Temecula School, and classes were still held there as late as 1929. The school burned down in 1981. In 1914, the Temecula Union School District was formed and voters approved a $10,000 school bond for the new Temecula Union School that had two classes of four grades each.

Mr. Walter Vail began his cattle ranching career near Tucson, Arizona in 1876. In 1888, after a dry period in Arizona, Vail and his partner, C.W. Gates leased the Warner Ranch about 35 miles southeast of Temecula. Then in 1901, they bought Santa Rosa Island off the coast for cattle grazing.

In 1905, they began buying land in the Temecula Valley. When Mr. Vail died from a streetcar accident in Los Angeles in 1906, his son, Mahlon Vail took over the running of the Temecula operation. He continued to acquire land, and by 1947 the Vail Ranch had grown to 87,500 acres, the largest ranch in this part of California.

As water was not plentiful enough to sustain the ranch, the Vails built a dam to store water from Temecula Creek. The dam was completed in 1948 and created Vail Lake. In 1964, the Vail Ranch was sold in its entirety to a consortium headed by Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation.

The late 1960's and early 70's brought changes to the original Old West sites in the Temecula Valley. The area was marketed by The Kaiser Land Development Company and became known as Rancho California.

The deep cut of Rainbow Gap allows coastal fog to pour into the valley, creating a micro-climate that fostered the creation of a successful wine-making industry in Temecula. In 1965, developers of Rancho California brought in experts from the university of California to plant a demonstration vineyard along Rancho California Road. The success of this vineyard attracted Vicenzo Cilurzo to the area, and in 1968 he planted the first commercial vineyard.

The I-15 corridor between Los Angeles County and San Diego was completed in the early 1980's and the subdivision land boom began. A feasibility study was conducted in 1987 to conclude that the area could be self-supporting, and would be better served by a local government. In January 1989, boundaries were approved and by the end of the year, the voters chose the name Temecula. The City of Temecula became Riverside County's 21st incorporated city on December 1, 1989.

Today, the area proudly boasts residential developments, commercial and industrial areas, a regional mall, theaters, wine country, entertainment resorts, auto mall, retail, hotels, and plenty of excellent restaurants.
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