About Temecula History

Ancestors of the Temecula Indians were in the area as early as 900 A.D.  A Franciscan padre was the first known white man to set foot in this area.  Then, around 1821, the Pala Mission was built.  The arrival of stagecoaches brought new settlers to the valley.  In 1859, the second California post office was established in Temecula, the first was in San Francisco.

In 1882, the Pechanga Indian Reservation was created about eight miles from downtown Temecula.  In that same year, a rail line from National City to Temecula was completed.

At the turn of the century the cowboys ruled Temecula, and the great cattle drives from the backcountry turned Temecula into a cow town.  That spirit lives on in Old Town Temecula.  In 1915, the first paved, two-lane county road was built through Temecula.  Temecula had its share of excitement in the late 1920’s and 30’s.  There were murders, a bank robbery, a flood, and visits by Hollywood celebrities, including Prizefighters Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey.

In 1948, at a cost of more than $1 million, a dam that created Vail Lake was completed.  In 1964, the Vail Ranch was sold to Kaiser Development Company, launching the transformation of the Temecula Valley.  Soon, the area became known as Rancho California.

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 incorporated in December 1989, the citizens voted to officially name their city “Temecula“.

A short drive east on Rancho California Road from historic Old Town Temecula takes you into Temecula Valley’s wine country with more than two dozen wineries with over 3500 acres of producing vineyards.  There you will find wineries and tasting rooms ranging from the rustic to the elegant.

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