Varra VaRRA, an acronym for the Vail Ranch Restoration Association, is dedicated to the preservation of the Historic Vail Ranch Headquarters.
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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. 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.

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!

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours
07/16/2019

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours

Louis Wolf passed away in 1887 at the age of 54. His tomb stands on a knoll overlooking the Temecula Valley. This is appropriate since he was known as the "King of Temecula". The tomb measures 13 feet in length and is approximately 5 feet wide.

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours
07/16/2019

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours

Then & Now - Wolf Tomb. The top picture is circa 1940 and the bottom photo is present. The current tomb was restored in 2001 after the Temecula Valley HIstorical Society had reformed and raised $30,000 for the project.

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours
07/16/2019

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours

Shown are items found under the floor of the rooms during the Wolf Store renovation. Other than the normal whiskey bottles, beer bottles, and beer cans was also found an ironing board and of all things, a pair of ice skates (shown in the back on the left side).

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours
07/16/2019

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours

TEMECULA VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEETING

At 6 pm on Monday, July 22, Oscar Muñoz, M.A., a public historian for the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside will present a program on the 1894 murder of Mary J. Platt. Muñoz, who researches Native American history of Southern California, will discuss the documentary evidence as well as traditional oral narratives and will analyze possible motives that led to the murder of Platt and the destruction of the Pechanga schoolhouse on September 20, 1894.

Muñoz will tell how news of the event spread throughout Southern California, the public outrage that ensued, and the investigations that resulted in three court trials and the arrests of five Indians, including the reservation Captain.

The public is welcome to attend this presentation at no charge at the Little Temecula History Center, the red barn at the corner of Redhawk Parkway and Wolf Store Road. The doors will open at 5:30 for a social time with refreshments.

Questions regarding this presentation may be directed to Rebecca Farnbach, 951-775-6057.

The photograph is with Mrs. Platt with students outside the Pechanga School in approximately 1890.

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours
07/16/2019

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours

JET CRASHES ON VAIL RANCH

As reported in the Lake Elsinore Valley Sun - Thursday, 19 July 1962

Monday morning at 9:30 just south of the Vail Ranch in Temecula, a F9F-8T Marine jet fighter trainer from El Toro, piloted by Capt. John C. Coffin of 2814 W. Castor in Santa Ana crashed. The plane was from the Marine Training Squadron Two at El Toro.

The crash resulted in three separate brush fires and wreckage was strewn over a wide area. Seventeen units of the State Division of Forestry were called to the scene and with the aid of three Hemet based borate bombers, the fires were quickly extinguished.

The main section of the plane made a crater in the ground approximately 10 feet deep. The largest part of the plane, a section of wing about 3 ft. long and 1 ft. in width was found. A picture of the plane part and the crater may be seen elsewhere in the Sun.

The pilot radioed to his base that he was bailing out. He landed in Vail Lake. According to an Elsinore Sheriff’s deputy, Mrs. Anna Dagle, who is an employee at the ranch, heard the jet pass over and saw the pilot bail out. She then took a row boat and rowed out to the pilot who was apparently unharmed except for a wrenched back. By the time they reached shore a military helicopter was on hand to return the pilot to his base.

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.

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours
06/25/2019

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours

The COOKHOUSE at Vail Headquarters is now open. Come by early to get a bite to eat before taking the Spirited History Tour.

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.

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours
06/20/2019

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours

O.T. HACKETT RECALLS THE GREAT FLOOD . . .

Perilous Days of Pioneers

(Editor’s Note: This is a reprint of an article that appeared in the Lake Elsinore Valley Press, October 15, 1915 and is based on an interview with Samuel Warren (O.T.) Hackett late in his life. Mr. Hackett was so reliable that he attained a reputation for always being On Time, hence the adopted initials of O.T. Hackett. He was a regular in Temecula, staying overnight by renting a room at the Wolf Store. He is remembered with an appropriately appointed room in today’s restored Wolf Store.)

At the recent grape day exercises at Escondido the registry of old residents of San Diego County showed that S. W. Hackett, whose home is at 1534 First Street is the oldest resident of the county who has continually been resident in this city. He has been a citizen of San Diego since 1859 and during the intervening has followed various occupations, having at one time been the owner of the stage and mail route between this city and Temecula, member of the city council and superintendent of streets, which latter position he resigned the office of councilman or alderman as it was called at the time. He is on the eve of four score years, says the San Diego Examiner.

In all these years Hackett says he has not voted outside the limits of San Diego. There are other old-timers here whose date of coming was about contemporaneous with that of Hackett, but they left the place and for a number of years resided in other parts of the county or country. Hackett was asked if he remembered the storm during which a great part of the line of the Santa Fe in Temecula canyon was washed out. It is this destroyed line which has since remained out of existence and which the people of this city have asked the state railroad commission to order the Santa Fe company to rebuild, an order which has just been made by the commission.

In answering the question Hackett said: “I should say that I do remember it because I was right in it. I was running the stage and carrying the mail at the time between this city and Temecula. The rain commenced to fall in Temecula on Saturday, February 3, 1884, just about as I was leaving Temecula for this city. The washout took place on the following day, February 4. The rain was like a deluge and swept everything before it. That was the first time the track was washed out. The second washout occurred, I think, in 1890.
“I started to return to Temecula on Monday.

The rivers were all swollen, I was compelled, with the help of another man, to draw my stage across the railroad bridge over San Diego near Old Town and then swim my horses over the river. The section man refused to give me permission to cross on the bridge, but no trains came along while I was crossing.

“All the rivers were full of running water and although I left San Diego on Monday morning I did not get my mail into the post office at Temecula until just midnight on the following Sunday.”

SOURCE: Temecula Valley Historical Society Newsletter – June 2019, Volume 19 Issue 6

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.

Address

32075 Temecula Parkway
Temecula, CA
92592

Opening Hours

Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

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