Welcome to Historic Old
Temecula. Rich in history and traditions Temecula was
established in 1859. Temecula get its name from the Luiseno Indian
Band word "Temecunga" from "teme" meaning
"sun" and "nga" meaning "the place of the
sun" The Luiseno indians lived in the area during the 1700's.
Later the Spanish interpreted and spelled the word as
"Temecula" . Its latest interpretation is "The City That
Shines Through The Mist".
100 years ago Shoshone Indians made this
valley their home. Over the centuries many famous people "passed
this way" including mountain men like Jedediah Smith, Indian
scout Kit Carson and authors Helen Hunt Jackson and
Gardner that have had two Temecula schools name after them.
In 1904, Walter Vail bought 87,500 acres
(four Spanish land grants) and drove 1,000 head of cattle from Arizona.
It was the last large cattle drive in the United States. It remained a
working cattle ranch for the next 60 years. in 1882, when the Santa Fe
Railway came through our valley, Old Town Temecula was born.
The first known European to
discover the valley was Father Juan Norberto de Santiago, in October
1797, while seeking a site for a new mission. Temecula was one of the
stops on the route of the Butterfield Stage and in 1859 became the
location of the seventh post office in California. The first post office
was in San Francisco.
During the later 1900's, a developer tried to change the name of the
area to Rancho California, but when Temecula became a city, voters stuck
with the old town name which came from Luiseno. The name's meaning
varies, but includes "that place where the sun shines through mist."
The I-15 corridor between Los Angeles County and San Diego was completed
in the early 1980's and the subdivision land boom began. When Rancho
California/Temecula incorporated in December, 1989, the citizens voted
to officially name the city "Temecula".
CODE OF THE WEST
"I won't be wronged; I won't be insulted; I won't be layed hands on.
I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from
them." John Wayne - "The Shootist"
its share of excitement in the late 20’s and 30’s. There were murders,
a bank robbery, a flood, and visits by Hollywood celebrities. Prize
fighters Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey worked out in a makeshift ring on
the second floor of the old Welty building at Front and Main Streets over
the Blind Pig Saloon and some moonshining was conducted in the surrounding
The Old Town Temecula Gunfighters perform shootouts in Old Town. To find
out about performances safety shows or other info. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Old Town Temecula is also home to many other events such as;
For dates and information visit the events
Mr. & Mrs. R.J. Welty built this store/saloon about
the same time as the hotel. In 1902 Joe Winkles bought it and named it "Ramona
Inn". In the 1920's a "Blind Pig Saloon" with gymnasium hosted prize
fighters Jefferies, Sharkey and Dempsey for workouts. Today an antique store and deli
occupy the building.
|Wine Cellar - Temecula Jail
Originally built as a wine cellar with rubble granite
from the Temecula Quarry, later known as the "jail" when used by the sheriff to
hold lawbreakers. Fine quality Temecula granite was used for headstone, hitching posts and
curbstones on San Francisco's Market Street.
|Welty Hotel/Temecula Hotel
Built in 1882 by R.J. and Mary Welty, the year the
railroad came to Temecula, It burned down in 1981 and was rebuilt in the same year. Bought
by Dr. and Mrs. Horace Parker in 1960, renamed "Temecula Hotel" and restored to
its turn-of-the-century decor. It is now a private residence
Built in 1891
from local bricks, Mr. Burnham ran this complete "shop center" for ranchers for
60 years. A terminal for jerkline freighters who delivered supplies to isolated ranches.
See granite hitching posts and steps. Now an antique mall.
|First National Bank of Temecula
Built in 1914, it was the first poured cement building
constructed in Inland California. Mr. Vail called it his "pawn shop". Robbed
only once in 1930. Upstairs featured a community center and dance hall. Closed in 1914,
now a Mexican restaurant.
Catherine's Catholic Church
Built in the early 1920's
with construction fund raised by a big fiesta thrown by Mahlon Vail, the building was
moved from its original location to Sam Hicks park where it will serve as part of our new
| Machado's Store
Built in 1892 by Macedonia Machado, this general
merchandise store later became the Temecula station post office with Mr. Machado serving
as post master. For a long time it was the "Long Branch Saloon" and is now and
Space available for lease