Varra VaRRA, an acronym for the Vail Ranch Restoration Association, is dedicated to the preservation of the Historic Vail Ranch Headquarters. VaRRA, an acronym for the Vail Ranch Restoration Association, had its beginning in the mid 1990’s when a small cadre of Temecula residents who were interested in preserving the lore and legends of Temecula learned that portions of the Vail Ranch site might be razed to make room for development.
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As a result of their efforts over the years Vail Ranch is now a significant California historical site. VaRRA is dedicated to the preservation of the Historic Vail Ranch Headquarters Site in an area where Temecula originally started. Today this 4 acre site holds the last remaining portion of the Butterfield Overland Stage Trail and Ft. Yuma Road. This is also the route the Mormon Battalion marched in January 1847 on their way to San Diego during the Mexican-American War in California.

Mission: Dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Historic Vail Ranch Headquarters.

Operating as usual

Vail Headquarters
12/19/2019

Vail Headquarters

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Thank you Matthew Burlile for capturing the magic at Vail Headquarters this time of year🎄✨

Here's what's on the schedule this weekend:

SATURDAY December 21st, 3pm to 8pm, Ramble On at the Ranch Holiday Car Show:
A classic car show featuring pre-1980 customs, low riders, hot rods and bikes. A Family friendly show with:

🎄100+ classic cars and bikes
🎄Live music
🎄Food & brews
🎄Vendor booths

SUNDAY December 22nd, 1pm to 6pm, Small Business Holiday Bazaar:
A Holiday shopping event with:

🎄30+ Local Vendors
🎄Hot Chocolate Bar for adults (kids options available)
🎄Gift Wrapping Station
🎄Paint Time activity and Train rides for kids

Vail Headquarters Certified Farmers Market
10/17/2019

Vail Headquarters Certified Farmers Market

Vail Headquarters. Step back in time & enjoy a relaxing day outdoors with us at this beautiful historic site. Local farmers , local artists, delicious food and family friendly .
See you Tuesday !

THE VAILS BUILD A CATTLE EMPIRE WITH PURCHASE OF TEMECULA LANDIn 1876 Walter L. Vail, a native of Liverpool, Nova Scotia...
10/06/2019

THE VAILS BUILD A CATTLE EMPIRE WITH PURCHASE OF TEMECULA LAND

In 1876 Walter L. Vail, a native of Liverpool, Nova Scotia and Herbert Hislop, an Englishman purchased the 160 acre Empire Ranch located southeast of Tucson, Arizona. Over the years Vail, along with various partners, expanded the original land holdings to include over one million acres. In 1881 Margaret Newhall married Walter Vail and moved to Arizona. The next year the Southern Pacific R.R. built a railroad line that provided a means for the Vails to ship their cattle. In 1882 the Empire Land & Cattle Company was formed with Walter Vail as principal shareholder. Then in 1890 Ned Vail and Empire foreman Tom Turner drive over a 1,000 head of cattle overland to Warner's Ranch, California to defeat the Southern Pacific R.R. rate increase for shipping cattle. This would be the beginning of future efforts to purchase land in Temecula Valley and the formation of Vail Ranch. Then in 1901 Vail and his partner C.W. Gates bought the entire Santa Rosa Island off the Califor-nia coast for cattle grazing. From the 1800s until the 1960s, cattle remained the backbone of the local economy. The grazing land around Temecula was owned and leased by various ranchers until 1904, Walter Vail began to buy up the local ranches. He pieced together acreage from the four Mexican land grants - Pauba Rancho, Santa Rosa Rancho, Temecula Rancho and Little Temecula Rancho to form the Pauba Ranch.

Eventually, the Vails would own more than 87,500 acres surrounding the little town of Temecula. When Vail was tragically killed in a Los Angeles streetcar accident in 1906, the Empire Land & Cattle Company (later the Vail Company) took over control of his Temecula Valley ranches. Two of his sons ran the Empire Ranch and associated properties. Walter’s youngest son, Mahlon Vail, took over and managed the Temecula operation for many years. The Empire Ranch in Arizona was sold in 1928, and the Temecula area ranches became the primary Vail Ranch lands. Originally it was simp-ly open grazing, but by the 1940s, the Vail Ranch had become a huge feed yard, where cattle were fattened and finished for market. Hoping to grow more and more of their own feed, the Vails decided to dam Temecula Creek and develop an irrigation system for the ranch. The dam was completed in 1948, forming Lake Vail behind it.

Southern California was growing, but Temecula remained much the same. Cattle still roamed the Vail ranch, and as one Elsinore newspaperman joked, the little town had no place to go but up – and it never went up.

But in 1964, the Vails announced the sale of their ranch for $21 million to a consortium of developers (Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, Kaiser Industries, and Macco Realty) who announced plans for a 135-square mile “semi urban pastoral” master planned community, Rancho California.

SOURCE: Vail Ranch Restoration Association website

10/06/2019
FINDING THE PROOF - WHEN WAS THE WOLF STORE BUILT?Anne J. Miller, Ph.D.Over the years, there have been questions about w...
08/06/2019

FINDING THE PROOF - WHEN WAS THE WOLF STORE BUILT?

Anne J. Miller, Ph.D.

Over the years, there have been questions about when the Wolf Store was actually built. The plaque on the Wolf Store dated 1 October 1950 states "Treaty of Temecula Signed here on 5 Jan 1852" and "Later a Butterfield Stage Stop." Research has proven that both of these 1950s statements are false. The Wolf Store building was built years after those events; in the 1860s. The builder was most likely Julius Szubinski.

When dating a building such as the Wolf Store, it is important to consider why the previous information was not accurate as well as proving what was in that location prior to the building of the structure. And it is also important to determine where events, such as the signing to the Treaty of Temecula, really did occur.

One good source for answering these questions are surveyors' field notes. They are especially helpful for the Wolf Store research because the Wolf Store was so close to the boundary line between the large Temecula Rancho and the much smaller Little Temecula Rancho. This boundary line between the two ranchos is roughly near where the current sidewalk is in front of Kohl's, running past the current Vail Ranch Headquarters and the stores east of the Vail Ranch Headquarters. The northeast corner of the Wolf Store was less than 50 feet from that boundary line so it would not be likely to have been ignored by surveyors.

Other research on the location of the Southern Emigrant Trail is quite clear that this trail passed just east of the location where the Wolf Store was later built. The trail was roughly in a southeast to northwest direction. On the other hand, the Butterfield Overland Stage service ended in 1861 before the Wolf Store was built. The Butterfield Overland Mail stop was in the village located on the hill south the Temecula Creek and west of Redhawk Parkway.

Other buildings noted in early surveyors' field notes were built before the Wolf Store building was built. There was a building near where the shoe store is today (just east of today's Vail Ranch Headquarters) which is obviously east of the later Wolf Store location. That earlier building was also documented during the Civil War (1861- 1865) when John Magee was reported to be at that location. While the military records mentioned Magee's location north of the pond, there was no mention of other buildings in that area. Many years later, M.G. Wheeler's 1872 field notes clearly mentioned the presence of the Wolf Store. Therefore, the Wolf Store must have been built between 1859 and 1872.

Additional research indicates that Louis Wolf was in the Warner Springs area between 1861-1868. Wolf was the postmaster at Warner's between 1861 and 1862 when the post office was discontinued due to the Civil War. He was reappointed as postmaster there when the post office was reestablished in 1867. He was the postmaster there and also had a store with Thomas Brady in that Warner Springs area during 1867-1868.

Extensive research of ownership of the location where the Wolf Store was eventually built, including a number of deeds, tax assessment records, etc., indicate that in 1867 Magee sold all his interest in the Little Temecula area to a Soloman Lazard. That sale included that existing building north of the pond that was used as a store, but there was no mention in that deed of a building where the Wolf Store is today. Years later, documents describe that building east of the future Wolf Store location as being 626 feet east of the Wolf Store.

The next owner of the property where the Wolf Store was later built was Julius Szubinski. He purchased the entire ranch in December 1866. Almost a year later, in October 1867, there was a newspaper report of the store being raided by a band of outlaws. Soon after that, Mr. Szubinski died and his son took over.

Although Louis Wolf was running the store in April 1868, he did not own the property or the store building. The tax assessment records indicate that Wolf was taxed for $1,300 for merchandise, with no mention of land or improvements, making it quite clear that Wolf did not own the store or the property at that time. Later that same year, in August 1868, Szubinski's son sold the property (including the store) to Wolf.

Regarding the other historic events reported in 1950 to have taken place at the Wolf Store, The Treaty of Temecula, was signed in 1852 at the Apis Adobe on the south side of the creek, many years before there was any structure where the Wolf Store was later built.

While the Butterfield Overland Mail service operated between 1858 and 1861, that was a number of years before the Wolf Store was built. There are many descriptions of travelers on the Butterfield Overland Mail and they mentioned stopping in the village that was located on the hill south of the Temecula Creek and west of today's Redhawk Parkway.

SOURCE: Temecula Valley Historical Society Newsletter – August 2019 – Volume 19 Issue 8

Vail Headquarters has a blacksmith "shop" at the back of the property.  Visiting blacksmiths give demonstrations of thei...
07/29/2019

Vail Headquarters has a blacksmith "shop" at the back of the property. Visiting blacksmiths give demonstrations of their trade and also craft wares. Today Jeremy was working the forge and making wine bottle holders. Here are two short video clips of Jeremy in action. These guys know how to stand the heat!

Tonight is the Starlight Bazaar at Vail Headquarters.  The bazaar is from 6 - 10 PM.  The VaRRA Antiques and Collectible...
06/28/2019

Tonight is the Starlight Bazaar at Vail Headquarters. The bazaar is from 6 - 10 PM. The VaRRA Antiques and Collectibles store will be open, drop on in and browse the many treasures that we have.

Aerial view of Vail Headquarters circa 1990.  Note the original locations of the water building (parking lot) and main b...
06/20/2019

Aerial view of Vail Headquarters circa 1990. Note the original locations of the water building (parking lot) and main barn and machinery barn (Kohl's).

The interior of the Wolf Store looking east during the days of the Vail Headquarters.
06/20/2019

The interior of the Wolf Store looking east during the days of the Vail Headquarters.

TEMECULA VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETYThe Temecula Valley Historical Society invites the public to attend a free presentatio...
06/19/2019

TEMECULA VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The Temecula Valley Historical Society invites the public to attend a free presentation about the U.S. Balloon Corps during the Civil War at 6 pm on Monday, June 24 at the Little Temecula History Center, the red barn at the corner of Redhawk Parkway and Wolf Store Road.

Steve and Patrice Demory of Anaheim will portray Thaddeus Lowe and his wife Leontine in period attire will give an extensive PowerPoint presentation “Thaddeus Lowe and the U.S. Balloon Corps," a little known aspect of the American Civil War”.

The U.S. Balloon Corps is considered the forerunner of today's Air Force and paved the way for our nation's future in the sky. Their presentation primarily focuses on the Balloon Corps during the Civil War and Thaddeus Lowe's pre-war biography and activities that led to his founding of the Corps. Also, included will be information on the technology and personalities involved with the Balloon Corps as well as the tactical use of “aerostats” in battle. The Confederates were also very interested in the tactical advantages of using balloon, therefore, the Confederate "Silk Dress" balloon will be addressed, as well.

The U.S. Balloon Corps was officially formed on July 25th, 1861 and was commanded by Professor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, a scientist, inventor, aeronaut, balloon manufacturer and patriot. At the onset of the Civil War, Lowe offered his services to President Lincoln who personally appointed him as Chief of the Aeronautic Department of the Army of the Potomac. Professor Lowe made over 3,000 ascensions and became known as "The Most Shot at Man in the Civil War."
The primary mission of the Balloon Corps was reconnaissance: To observe Confederate Army operations and troop movements and report its findings to the command staff. During the first two and a half years of the war, Professor Lowe achieved an amazing record of innovations, which include:

* First use of Airborne Telegraph
* Built and operated the First Aircraft Carrier
* Developed Mobile Hydrogen Gas Generators to Inflate Balloons in the Field
* Invented Aerial Artillery Spotting
* Revolutionized the science of map making
In addition, the presentation will cover Professor Lowe's post-war achievements, including his residency in Pasadena, his contributions to Southern California and the building of the Mount Lowe Railway.

Guests may arrive at 5:30 pm for refreshments.

For any questions, please contact Rebecca Farnbach at 951-775-6057.

The stagecoach is located at the Little Temecula History Center located next to Kohl's on Temecula Parkway.
04/20/2019

The stagecoach is located at the Little Temecula History Center located next to Kohl's on Temecula Parkway.

Vail Headquarters
04/15/2019

Vail Headquarters

Back Alley Escape is officially OPEN with two escape rooms and a virtual reality game room! Previously known for Terror in the Oaks (a haunted house at Vail Lake), they’ve opened Back Alley Escape with a Laser maze and Ski Hut escape room to start (more in the works)!Slightly less terrifying, but equally as mind-bending, come out and see if you have what it takes to survive! 😱

Vail Headquarters Certified Farmers Market
04/08/2019

Vail Headquarters Certified Farmers Market

Visit one of our newest vendors, Citak Smoked Meats ! Tomasz creates the most delicious snack sticks in several flavors , from mild to ghost pepper hot ! Try a sample !
See you Tuesday !

04/06/2019
Locations of the Little Temecula History Center and the VaRRA Antique and Collectibles Store at Vail Headquarters.
03/29/2019

Locations of the Little Temecula History Center and the VaRRA Antique and Collectibles Store at Vail Headquarters.

03/29/2019
02/26/2019
Cookhouse Food Hall at Vail HQ

Yummy!! Just in time for the warmer months ahead.

Now Open! A unique indoor/outdoor food hall featuring four chef operated kitchens, a full bar, and retails shop.

Photos from Varra's post
12/20/2018

Photos from Varra's post

12/19/2018
10/29/2018
10/01/2018
Vail’s Operated from 1876 - 1928 FIRST VAIL RANCH WAS IN ARIZONA(Compiled from Internet Sources)The first Vail Ranch was...
09/04/2018

Vail’s Operated from 1876 - 1928

FIRST VAIL RANCH WAS IN ARIZONA

(Compiled from Internet Sources)

The first Vail Ranch was in Arizona about 50 miles southeast of Tucson and is now known as the historic Empire Ranch. It has been a working cattle ranch for 140 years. Its rich history includes successive ownership by two prominent ranching families, two corporations, and finally by the federal government on behalf of the general public.

The Empire Ranch was originally established in the 1860’s as a homestead ranch of 160 acres with a flat topped four-room adobe ranch house and adjoining adobe-walled corral. In 1876 the ranch was owned by Edward Nye Fish, a Tucson businessman, when it was acquired for $2,000 by Walter L. Vail, a native of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and Plainfield, New Jersey, and Herbert Hislop, an Englishman. John Harvey, an Englishman from Bermuda, joined the partnership a few months later.

Over the next 20 years, as a part of the historic expansion of ranching, railroads, mining and other growth in the West, Vail and various partners expanded the original land holdings to include over 100,000 acres. The Total Wreck silver mine was discovered and developed, adding to ranch prosperity. The Ranch House became an extended complex with more than 22-rooms and a number of outbuildings and structures were added. Their original flat earthen roofs were later replaced with wooden gable roofs

Continuing Empire Ranch operations were overseen by Vail Company foremen until 1913 when William Banning Vail, Walter’s third oldest son, took over ranch management. He and his wife Laura Perry Vail, and their three children lived at the ranch until it was sold by Vail Company in 1928.

In 1896, in order to turn his attention more fully to growing corporate holdings in California, Walter Vail moved his family to Los Angeles where he established his corporate headquarters. 1905 saw the establishment of the Vail Ranch in Temecula with an initial purchase of land and the rapid expansion to encompass 87,500 acres. The Temecula operation consisted of two primary areas of cattle grazing; the Santa Rosa Plateau and the Pauba which included most of modern day Temecula.

The Empire Ranch was purchased by the Chiricahua Ranches Company (CRC), and incorporated by three brothers, Henry, Frank and Charles Boice, who were respected ranchers known for their promotion of the Hereford breed of cattle in the Southwest. During their years of ownership, the Boices added many modern conveniences to the Ranch House. Propane, and eventually natural gas, was piped into the house; a large electric walk-in refrigeration unit was installed; plumbing was upgraded and cement stucco was applied to the exterior house walls. During the 1940 and 1950s many Hollywood films were shot at the Empire Ranch and in the vicinity. The Boices hosted numerous film stars, including John Wayne, when Red River was filmed at the Empire Ranch.

In 1969, the Boices sold the Empire Ranch to Gulf American Corporation (GAC) which planned to build a large residential community development. GAC contracted with Pancho Boice to continue ranching the Empire Ranch under lease arrangements. However, in 1974 Anamax Mining Company purchased the Empire Ranch from GAC for its water rights and mineral potential. Anamax leased the Empire Ranch to rancher John Donaldson. Neither of the planned corporate enterprises materialized, so that to this day the Empire’s lands and ranch headquarters have supported only cattle operations and further remodeling changes to the ranch house and buildings have been minimal. In 1976 the Empire Ranch House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1980s a groundswell of public support developed to preserve the ranch and its natural resources in their pristine condition. In 1988 a series of land exchanges put the property into public ownership under the administration of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a division of the U.S. Department of Interior. In 2000, the U.S. Congress officially designated these 42,000 acres to be Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (LCNCA).

SOURCE: VaRRA NEWS, 3rd Quarter 2018 - Volume 9, Issue 3. A publication of the Vail Ranch Restoration Association.

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32075 Temecula Parkway
Temecula, CA
92592

Opening Hours

Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

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