Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours

Old Town Temecula Candlelight Walking Tours Join your Old West guide on a 90 minute walk. You will visit the oldest spots in Historic Old Town Temecula while hearing local history blended with tales of legends and hauntings."Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story."
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Meanwhile at Vail Headquarters.Us Versus Them and Vail Headquarters present: Ramble On at the Ranch – HOLIDAY EDITION!A ...
11/30/2019

Meanwhile at Vail Headquarters.

Us Versus Them and Vail Headquarters present: Ramble On at the Ranch – HOLIDAY EDITION!
A classic car show featuring pre-1980 customs, low riders, hot rods and bikes.

Family friendly show with:
🎄100+ classic cars and bikes
🎄Live music
🎄Food & brews
🎄Vendor booths
🎄 free photo ops and crafts for the lil ones
🎄TOY DRIVE and raffle with awesome prizes!

3 to 8pm on Saturday, December 21st at Vail HQ.

Get out those ice skates, jackets and mittens!
11/30/2019

Get out those ice skates, jackets and mittens!

This is a long and fun tradition for the whole family to enjoy.
11/30/2019

This is a long and fun tradition for the whole family to enjoy.

Need to get out of the house with young children?  Check out the Touch History area at the Temecula Valley Museum.
11/30/2019

Need to get out of the house with young children? Check out the Touch History area at the Temecula Valley Museum.

11/25/2019
11/25/2019
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2587237668007416&id=155705604493980
11/14/2019

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2587237668007416&id=155705604493980

Happy birthday to the most famous highway in the world, Route 66! The Mother Road opened 93 years ago. It stretched for more than 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, crossing N. Arizona and changed forever how Americans traveled. Route 66 would go on to be immortalized in novel, movie, television and song—a pop culture legend that symbolized freedom and sense of adventure. It connected us as a nation and became known as the “Main Street of America.” Sadly, with the rise of interstate system, the old road became a relic. US 66 was decommissioned in 1985. America no longer had a Main Street. But you can’t suppress a sense of adventure. The old highway is back, now known as Historic Route 66, and is more beloved than ever. And it was a handful of folks from Seligman, Arizona leading the charge to reinstate the Mother Road. Today, it still offers the sweet taste of freedom. A road trip on 66 is a chance to dip into the past and rediscover a bygone era when life was less complicated, less stressful, and full of flavor. Put your wheels on that sliver of pavement and aim for the horizon sometime soon. It’s a journey you’ll never forget. Photo by Instagrammer @the_kentish_traveller

11/03/2019
Old Town Temecula Gunfighters
10/26/2019
Old Town Temecula Gunfighters

Old Town Temecula Gunfighters

Experience the Old West with the Old Town Temecula Gunfighters with family friendly shows featuring:

- Gun Safety
- Authentic 1880s Costumes
- A Whimsical Cast of Characters
- Shootouts
- Law Dogs
- Outlaws
- and Ladies

Restoring Law & Order to the Old West this Saturday, October 26th at High Noon and 2pm!

Tonight's tour is cancelled.  Thank you.
10/24/2019

Tonight's tour is cancelled. Thank you.

TEMECULA VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEETINGIn a departure from their usual presentations, Great Oak Press is bringing Gre...
10/24/2019

TEMECULA VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEETING

In a departure from their usual presentations, Great Oak Press is bringing Gregory Cumming on Monday, Oct. 28 at 6 pm at the Little Temecula History Center. As a co-author of the recently released book "The Symbionese Liberation Army and Patricia Hearst Queen of the Revolution" he will share from intensive research on the subject and will answer the question of whether Hearst was a victim or a willing participant. Copies of the book will be availble at a discounted price of $15. @SLAANDPATRICIAHEARST

10/24/2019
10/24/2019
At Vail Headquarters.
10/19/2019

At Vail Headquarters.

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 !

Such a great time with these fun ladies during last night's tour at Vail Headquarters.
10/16/2019

Such a great time with these fun ladies during last night's tour at Vail Headquarters.

10/16/2019
Temecula Carriage Company
10/13/2019

Temecula Carriage Company

“Daredevil” is the name of the headless horseman’s horse! He is fast and sneaks up on you in the dark of night at Vail Headquarters! Listen for the thundering hooves and watch your head!

UPDATE: Due to events at Vail Headquarters the venue dates have changed to prevent any conflicts.  This calendar replace...
10/12/2019

UPDATE: Due to events at Vail Headquarters the venue dates have changed to prevent any conflicts. This calendar replaces the previous calendar.

Any questions should be directed to [email protected]. Thank you.

10/10/2019
10/06/2019
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
10/05/2019
Temecula weather forecast for the month of October from the Weather Channel.  Fall is finally here towards the 2nd half ...
10/04/2019

Temecula weather forecast for the month of October from the Weather Channel. Fall is finally here towards the 2nd half of the month. When attending a tour please dress warmly and wear comfortable walking shoes.

UPDATE:  This calendar is NO LONGER VALID and has been replaced by a newer post.  Due to events at Vail Headquarters the...
10/04/2019

UPDATE: This calendar is NO LONGER VALID and has been replaced by a newer post. Due to events at Vail Headquarters the venue dates have changed to prevent any conflicts.

Any questions should be directed to [email protected]. Thank you.

UPDATE: This is now full after expanding to 70 seats.  The library is taking names for a wait list and confirming those ...
09/30/2019

UPDATE: This is now full after expanding to 70 seats. The library is taking names for a wait list and confirming those who signed up. Thank you for your interest in this presentation.

I will be giving a new presentation at Grace Mellman Community Library in Temecula on October 29th. You will learn about Temecula’s haunted past and its current paranormal goings on. I will be sharing a brief history of Temecula, death practices in the 19th century, along with stories, photos & EVPs from the past 10 years. The library will be providing for your enjoyment mocktail versions of your favorite “spirited” drinks! This event is free and open to ages 18+. Space for this event is limited and sign-up is required. Sign up at the Reference Desk, by phone at 951-296-3893, or online at: [http://tinyurl.com/gmclfallevents]. "Strange Things Are Afoot in Old Temecula".

Next weekend in Old Town.  The phone number is (951) 663-5345.
09/29/2019

Next weekend in Old Town. The phone number is (951) 663-5345.

Another beautiful night in Old Town last night despite it being warm.  I need to look for the "sleeping giant" that is s...
09/15/2019

Another beautiful night in Old Town last night despite it being warm. I need to look for the "sleeping giant" that is said to exist in the profile of our mountains.

Western Days returns to Old Town Temecula
09/14/2019
Western Days returns to Old Town Temecula

Western Days returns to Old Town Temecula

Western Days will bring a snapshot of the Old West to Old Town Temecula this weekend, offering Western reenactments, music and more, all presented by the Old Town Temecula Gunfighters and sponsored by the city of Temecula. "We have a total of four gunfighter groups from California – Code of the We...

Sorry about the delay, there were a lot of distractions at the beginning of the month with the fire and all.
09/11/2019

Sorry about the delay, there were a lot of distractions at the beginning of the month with the fire and all.

This weekend at the Temecula Valley Museum.
09/10/2019

This weekend at the Temecula Valley Museum.

Such a sad time for Old Town Temecula.
09/07/2019
Rosa's Cantina closes its doors after 28 years in Old Town Temecula

Such a sad time for Old Town Temecula.

After serving up Mexican food to locals and tourists in Old Town Temecula for more than 28 years, Rosa's Cantina announced it was closing its doors Sunday, Aug. 25. The news was announced on a Facebook post on the restaurant's page. "We want to thank everyone who has supported Rosa's throughout the....

09/06/2019
09/06/2019
This is exciting news!  We are very fortunate to have a business like this here in Temecula.
08/30/2019

This is exciting news! We are very fortunate to have a business like this here in Temecula.

WE ARE ACCEPTED INTO THE 2020 TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE!🌹🌹🌹

NOTABLE MEN & WOMEN OF TEMECULA PRESENTATIONAt 2:30 pm on Sunday, Sept. 1, Bill Veale will dramatize Jose Estudillo, a N...
08/29/2019

NOTABLE MEN & WOMEN OF TEMECULA PRESENTATION

At 2:30 pm on Sunday, Sept. 1, Bill Veale will dramatize Jose Estudillo, a Notable Man in the history of Southern California. José Estudillo was a Californio and an early settler of San Diego, California when California was part of New Spain. This presentation is free at the Little Temecula History Center red barn next to Kohls.

Here is a picture of the Temecula train that used to pass through here going to San Diego from Colton.  We know this is ...
08/29/2019

Here is a picture of the Temecula train that used to pass through here going to San Diego from Colton. We know this is a picture of the Temecula train since in the lower right of the photo is the Hotel Temecula in the background. The next picture shows the train depot that was located on the west side of Murrieta Creek at the Main Street bridge. The train depot was torn down and the rail line removed all the way to Lake Elsinore in 1935. The last image is a 1909 map of the rail lines in Imperial, San Diego and Riverside counties. You can see on the map the break in the rail line from Temecula to Fallbrook (Temecula Canyon) as a result of the last flood that occurred in 1891.

Stop by the Banning Museum and see what the "mud wagons" look like that were used on the Butterfield Overland Mail Stage...
08/29/2019

Stop by the Banning Museum and see what the "mud wagons" look like that were used on the Butterfield Overland Mail Stage route that went through Temecula.

I'll reserve judgment until the project is complete.  However, in my 10+ years in walking the streets of Old Town Temecu...
08/29/2019
For some, Temecula boardwalk removal means ‘Old Town isn’t Old Town anymore’

I'll reserve judgment until the project is complete. However, in my 10+ years in walking the streets of Old Town Temecula I have noticed that the stamped and colored concrete can be unusually slippery when wet.

By Christmas, the wooden-plank walkways in the historic district popular with tourists will give way to concrete sidewalks

Today marks the anniversary of the eruption of Krakatoa, or Krakatau, on August 27, 1883.  It was one of the most deadly...
08/27/2019

Today marks the anniversary of the eruption of Krakatoa, or Krakatau, on August 27, 1883. It was one of the most deadly volcanic eruptions of modern history and is considered to be the loudest sound ever. It is estimated that more than 36,000 people died. Many died as a result of thermal injury from the blasts and many more were victims of the tsunamis that followed the collapse of the volcano into the caldera below sea level. Over 70% of the island and its surrounding archipelago were destroyed as it collapsed. It is also the reason why we don't have train service from here to San Diego or to Riverside and Orange counties for our daily commute. Don't believe me, read this article.

A VOLCANO DISRUPTS TEMECULA TRAIN SERVICE

by Duane Preimsberger

Few newcomers to the Temecula Valley know that at one time a train ran through here or that the eruption of the Volcano Krakatau near Java resulted in the destruction of our railroad in 1884!

In 1880, Fred Perris, an engineer, for whom the town of Perris is named was given the task of creating a train route from (Colton) San Bernardino to (National City) San Diego. The route was difficult, requiring the building of 241 wooden bridges and traversing a series of bogs and swamps. Hundreds of workers toiled on the project and many were Chinese who’d help to build the Transcontinental Railroad.

The most difficult task was placing the track in the 14 mile long Temecula Canyon between Fallbrook and Temecula. In some areas the gorges were over 100 feet deep and rock slides and falling boulders took their human toll. When the rail link was complete it ran through the Canyon a mere 10 feet above the Santa Margarita River.

The California Southern Railroad Line was completed in April of 1882. It would operate daily on the track, hauling cargo and passengers between the two cities and it would make intermediate stops along the way. Passengers paid $9.00 for a round-trip or $6.00 for one way. Travel was speedy for the time considering that most journeying was by wagon, stagecoach, horseback or afoot. Here’s the timetable for the northbound train.

DEPART

National City 6:30AM
San Diego 6:50 AM
San Luis Rey 9:25 AM
Fallbrook 10:40 AM
Temecula 11:35 AM
Riverside 2:00 PM
Colton 2:15 PM

On August 27, 1883 a deadly and destructive volcanic event occurring thousands of miles away would disrupt train travel in the Temecula Canyon several months later. Krakatau erupted with a force so powerful that it blew apart the island upon which it stood. 36,000 people lost their lives and thousands more were injured. The tremendous blast caused huge tidal waves and set off a hurricane like storm of super-heated gases, scorching the earth in its path. The sounds of the explosion were so loud they could be heard 3000 miles away. The eruption shot an enormous cloud of dust and debris miles into the sky and the resulting clouds began to circle the earth, disrupting normal weather patterns.

During February of 1884 it rained over 40 inches in the Temecula Valley, almost the equivalent of three years of rainfall in a single 29 day month. On February 15th a northbound train entered the Temecula Canyon and almost immediately found that the rain had supersaturated the ground causing the engine to sink into the mud. The train stopped, reversed and the same thing happened at the caboose end. The crew and passengers were trapped by the spectacularly wet weather. The engineer managed to get all of the passengers to safety except Wells Fargo Security Agent W.H. Atwater; he stayed behind to guard the train.

After a couple days without food, the gophers and ground squirrels climbing on the train wheels and cow catcher began to look mighty tasty so Atwater conked a few on the head, skinned, cleaned and cooked them in the engine firebox. Soon after, the rising waters made it obvious that he too would have to leave. He built a raft from wood he found on board and some tree limbs and his intention was to put his homemade craft into the river, jump aboard and paddle across the raging water to a farm house on the other side.

Atwater was about to embark on his journey when it dawned on him that he’d be soaking wet when he reached the other shore so he got a leather satchel from the train, took off his clothes and packed them neatly in the satchel, then he leaped onto his raft. Unfortunately, Atwater was not a good judge of the rivers ferocity or velocity and he immediately lost control of his craft and began a Class V white-water ride downstream.

He was hanging on for dear life, going over six foot high water falls, crashing into boulders and tumbling and turning in the raging waters. Fortunately for him the Good Lord was kind on that day and a sharp eyed sheepherder happened to look into the Canyon and he spied the white, wet, cold, naked fanny of W.H. Atwater hurtling down the Canyon on a makeshift raft. The sheepherder hurried ahead to the edge of the river and tossed Atwater a rope and then pulled him to safety. Unfortunately there isn’t any record of the ensuing conversation between the two men; I believe it would have been quite interesting and entertaining, nor is there mention of what happened to Atwater’s clothing.

In the spring of 1885, the California Southern Railroad hired a San Diego area house mover to rescue its stuck train and take it to safe track. Fred Perris began rebuilding his railroad line in the same exact spot, claiming that the occurrence was unlikely to be repeated. Unfortunately, he was wrong and another wet season washed out the track six years later. The trains ran; one from San Diego to Fallbrook and another from San Bernardino to Temecula. Wagons carried goods between Fallbrook and Temecula bridging the gap in train service. When the coastal train route was completed, the California Southern Line was abandoned.

Today, eighteen wheelers travel up and down the I-15 carrying needed supplies and cargo and the memory of train travel in our Valley has dimmed to a remote memory some 120+ years old. A few of us still pass on the story and smile as we visualize that lonely shepherd squinting through a torrential downpour at W.H. Atwater’s naked rear-end and wondering to himself, “What in tarnation is that doing there?”.

Meanwhile today in the faraway sea west of Java, scientists and geologists are studying a recent phenomenon. A small smoking and very active volcano is rising from the waters near where Krakatau exploded. It is almost 1000 feet high and a mile wide. Those who are studying it have named it, Anak Krakatau or Son of Krakatau. Perhaps in years yet to come another volcanic event will impact the lives of the residents of the Temecula Valley.

(SOURCE: Temecula Valley Historical Society Newsletter - January 2016, www.temeculahistoricalsociety.org)

Address

Old Town Temecula
Temecula, CA
92590

General information

Tours in the winter, early spring months are by appointment only. View the tour schedule located on the web site for scheduled tour dates & times.

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