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."

THEN & NOW.  GUNSMOKEThe TV Western 'Gunsmoke' ran for 20 years from 1955 till 1975 with some 635 episodes.  It remains ...


The TV Western 'Gunsmoke' ran for 20 years from 1955 till 1975 with some 635 episodes. It remains to this day the longest-running, prime time, live-action series of the 20th century. Below is a picture of the set during filming and again as it appears today.

Now you are probably asking yourself what does this post have to do with Temecula? Many of the episodes took place inside a well know establishment located in Dodge City run by the lovely Miss Kitty. What was the name of this establishment? It was the Long Branch Saloon, yes, the same name as the one located in the heart of Old Town Temecula back in the day. Coincidence? I think not. A picture of our Long Branch Saloon is in the comments.

100 YEARS AGO IN TEMECULASOURCE: Temecula Valley Historical Society Newsletter.  May 2020 - Volume 20 Issue 5


SOURCE: Temecula Valley Historical Society Newsletter. May 2020 - Volume 20 Issue 5

THEN & NOW.  LOUIS WOLF TOMBThe top picture is circa 1940 and the bottom photo is present day.  The current tomb was res...


The top picture is circa 1940 and the bottom photo is present day. The current tomb was restored in 2001 after the Temecula Valley Historical Society had reformed and raised $30,000 for the project. The tomb measures approximately 13 feet in length and 5 feet in width. The sarcophagus weighs 17 tons and is made of brick and concrete with the restoration shielding it in fiberglass and concrete finished with stucco. Wolf was born in Alsace-Lorraine, France on July 27, 1833 and died on September 13, 1887.

This post goes with "Freda Knott - Queen for a Day".Hollywood really loved Temecula back in the day.  Just imagine what ...

This post goes with "Freda Knott - Queen for a Day".
Hollywood really loved Temecula back in the day. Just imagine what it took to arrange this for the TV show.


Live on Radio #10 - Hollywood, California
Tuesday, September 2, 1952 - 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. PDT

Sponsor Pet Milk

Surprise Consequences

Call Home Town -- Mrs. Freda Knott, guest.

RALPH: Here’s another lady in our PET MILK audience this evening. How do you do? Where do you live? (ANS: Temecula, California a very small town.) Would you like to reverse the procedure and pull a Surprise Consequence on someone in your home town tonight? All right – we have a telephone on stage. Come on up, Mrs. Knott. We will get Temecula, California on the phone. No, Mrs. Knott we want you to call someone – anyone you want – in your home town and tell them you are on TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES here in Hollywood. We will give you a one minute time
limit to contact one person in you own home town.

RALPH: If you can contact any one person in Temecula and make them believe you are on TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES we will give you an Arvin Television set.

All right, one minute time limit. You’re connected with Temecula. You’re on.

(Woman tries to get someone in her town. Operator has been instructed to try briefly but to report that no one answers. Ralph gets her to call old friends, constable, postmaster, etc.)

Well, Mrs. Knott, your time is up. One minute – (as a matter of fact, we gave you an extra ½ minute or more) – and no one is home in your home town of Temecula. Well, we have a consolation prize for you anyway . . . Come over here and open our PET MILK “DOOR OF SURPRISES” and let’s see what we are going to give you for effort, anyway.


Just open the Door of Surprises and receive your consolation gift.


My goodness – there seems to be several people behind this door – do you recognize any of them?


RALPH: Why, yes – here are your postmaster, constable and several of your friends – all from Temecula – no wonder you couldn’t get anyone at home. Well look! – they keep coming out of this door. How many of your townspeople are here anyhow?



RALPH: There goes the curtain up behind the door and – well, what do you know! Hundreds of people! Your whole town of Temecula is here on our giant stage. What do you think of that?

OLD FRIENDS: Yes, I am Alice Machado, an old friend of Mrs. Knott’s. I am the oldest resident of Temecula and certainly no one deserves the love of her fellow citizens more than you, Mrs. Knott.

CONSTABLE: That’s right, I am Bob Beauchamp, Constable of Temecula. Mrs. Knott has collected back issues of old magazines for the inmates of the Prison near our town. On her own, she cleared out a corner of an old building and made a library where she acts as Librarian two days a week!

MINISTER: I am Floyd Leasure, Minister of the Temecula Union Church. For over 30 years Mrs. Knott has taught Sunday School in our town. Every Sunday she has opened the Church, built a fire, even though in the early days no one would show up.

POSTMASTER: I am Postmaster, Betty Otto of Temecula. Mrs. Knott is a great mother.

TOWNSPERSON: Yes – she worked hard to see that her own son and daughter received an education . . . and she wouldn’t want me to say this, but she is always the first at the sick bed of a fellow townsman. Ever since she’s lived in our town, she has taken in motherless children. And at the present time she is raising two boys – 10 and 12 – whose father was killed in an automobile accident and whose mother is in the hospital.

RAPLH: Yes, Mrs. Knott, we could go on and on – but here they are the people of your own home town – 298 strong, here to honor their Sunday School teacher, housewife, mother, wife of the blacksmith Al – brought
in by specially chartered Greyhound buses to surprise you tonight. Thank you, Greyhound.

RALPH: In your honor, PET MILK is giving your Church, the Temecula Union Church, a set of beautiful Brockware smartly styled in modern Provincial, by Brock of California and the new FRYRYTE, the original Deep Fryer . . . remember, the Fryryte will cook any food automatically! . . . for their church suppers and socials, a set of EkcoWare stainless steel cookware, America’s finest cookware is made by EckoWare – and a beautiful TAPPAN gas range with many outstanding features . . . the divided top and chrome-lined visualite oven which have made Tappan famous.

We have been told that you are saving money to make a down payment on a television set. Well, Mrs. Knott PET MILK would like you to have this beautiful new 1953 21” inch ARVIN Console television set with Arvin’s Modern tuner which receives all 82 new television channels.


Good night, Mrs. Knott, and good night to all you wonderful people of Temecula.


(Acknowledgements go to Robert Beauchamp, a former Old
Town Temecula resident for providing the transcript.)

Temecula’s ‘Queen for a Day’GRANDMA FREDA KNOTT'S TABLEGrandma Freda Knott’s Table  By Eugene KnottMy grandparents Al Kn...

Temecula’s ‘Queen for a Day’


Grandma Freda Knott’s Table By Eugene Knott

My grandparents Al Knott and Freda Rail married in 1914 and made their home in Temecula. Like most newlyweds, they started out with very little. Grandpa Al bought a piece of property with a small house on it across Front Street, which was State Highway 395 in those days. Grandma Freda used to call it her mobile house because it was built from pre-constructed panels shipped to Temecula by train, then bolted together.

Grandpa Al ran a local blacksmith shop. He learned his trade when he lived on a farm in South Dakota. He grew up working with his hands, turning scrap metal and wood into useful implements.

When Grandma Freda wanted a dining room table, it was only natural for him to collect what he had in his blacksmith shop and make one for her. He took a wooden wheel about 6 feet in diameter from a wagon and covered it with rough cut 1-by-12-inch wooden boards to use as its top. He used a section of a wagon tongue for the center post and four sections of a wagon wheel bolted to the tongue to support the table in an upright position. All these items were made of oak, except for the tabletop. Anything Grandpa Al made was not going to break, he was a blacksmith and his work was strong.

Grandma had to use a tablecloth on it, because the top had never been sanded or finished. I remember playing under that table when I was young. I would try to slide down the section of wagon wheel used to keep it upright.

There were only about four televisions in town in the early fifties. When one of the more popular programs came on, people would gather at someone’s house to watch. Gathering around a seven-inch screen always left someone unable to see the program. One local bought a large magnifying lens that attached to the screen to make the picture larger.

Around 1952 or so Grandma Freda got a call from a television station asking her to be on their show. She was a very modest person and couldn’t understand why they called her. They said they would send a car to Temecula to pick her up and take her home again, so she accepted their offer.

What she didn’t know was that some of the citizens wanted to do something for her tireless work she did for the Temecula and Murrieta area. When someone was sick, she was there. She not only ran the little church, she was the librarian. When anyone needed anything, all they needed to do was contact Mrs. Knott. She provided meals to strangers who broke down traveling through the area. We never knew who we were going to meet when we went to visit Grandma Freda.

The name of the television show was Truth or Consequences. They asked Grandma Freda some off-the-wall question that really didn’t have an answer. Of course she got it wrong, to which they said her consequence was behind the curtain.

When they opened the curtain, about 75 or so local citizens from the Temecula area were standing there. She almost fainted. They changed the format of the show to “Queen for a Day” and presented her with gifts. Some of these gifts were a new dining room set and a 12-inch television that got 99 channels (Temecula area only got 7 channels back then). Grandma Freda was thrilled beyond words.

When the truck with her new furnishings arrived, out went the dining room table she had been using for all those years. The new table had two leaves to add when she had company, so it fit nicely with her lifestyle. She had many fine meals and gatherings with her new table.

As with everyone, change came and Grandma and Grandpa Knott sold their property and moved to Rainbow in 1967. What Grandma Freda didn’t know, was that Grandpa Al had someone make a new tabletop for her old table. It was cut out of a sheet of plywood, sanded, stained, and finished with a smooth, shiny coating.

I didn’t quite know why Grandma Freda got faint when she walked into her new house, until she explained the story about her table. She didn’t know Grandpa Al had stored their table in their barn for all those years, let alone made it look so pretty. It was the icing on her cake to make their new place feel like home. It was their first move since they married and she didn’t know whether she liked the idea of starting over.

They were married until Grandpa Al’s death in 1982. Isn’t it funny how something that began by lack of funds becomes the thing you cherish most!

SOURCE: Temecula Valley Historical Society Newsletter. June 2017. Volume 17 - Issue 6

THEN & NOW.  MAIN STREET LOOKING EAST.The bottom photograph was taken circa 1915-1917.  We know this by the presence of ...


The bottom photograph was taken circa 1915-1917. We know this by the presence of the Model T in the picture. In 1915 Front Street was paved through the Town of Temecula as part of the new two lane inland highway later to become US Highway 395. Once we had a paved road/highway going through the middle of town it resulted in the opening of many more businesses including restaurants and the Palomar Inn Hotel. Temecula was an ideal location since it is approximately half way between Los Angeles and San Diego. However, in 1949 the decision was made to reroute the highway to where Interstate 15 is today bypassing the center of town.

Today is the perfect date . . . to catch up on Temecula history.

Today is the perfect date . . . to catch up on Temecula history.

FLOOD OF JANUARY 1993- January 16, 1993- 6.8 inches of rain in 24 hours starting at 8:00 a.m.- January 5 thru January 19...


- January 16, 1993
- 6.8 inches of rain in 24 hours starting at 8:00 a.m.
- January 5 thru January 19 total of 17.82 inches in Temecula
- $25 million damage in Riverside County ($10-$12 million damage for Temecula/Murrieta)
- $100 million damage at Camp Pendleton
- 500 people rescued from Old Town Temecula area
- 6 people died in Temecula

January 6 to February 28, 1993, storms produced 20 to 40 inches of rain over much of Southern California

I have been told that this informational flyer was actually printed on the back of the first property tax bills issued i...

I have been told that this informational flyer was actually printed on the back of the first property tax bills issued in the newly formed Riverside County. Riverside County was created from San Diego and San Bernardino Counties in 1893, 11 years after the establishment of the Town of Temecula along Murrieta Creek.

MAP OF THE TOWN OF TEMECULA - 1884SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CALIFORNIASurveyed December 5th, 1884 by Fred T. Perris.Filed on Aug...


Surveyed December 5th, 1884 by Fred T. Perris.
Filed on August 24th, 1892, San Diego County Recorder.

Riverside County was officially formed on May 9, 1893 from San Diego County and San Bernardino County.

The Pujol family owned the property and donated 17 acres for the train depot site and 200 acres for the townsite. The townsite itself started around the depot in 1882 even though it was not surveyed until 1884.

Then & Now. Main Street Bridge.The bridge in the bottom photo is from circa 1891.  It was replaced by a new bridge in 19...

Then & Now. Main Street Bridge.

The bridge in the bottom photo is from circa 1891. It was replaced by a new bridge in 1945. The current trestle style bridge replaced the last bridge in September 2013.

During the history of Temecula there have been several floods. They were in 1884, 1891, 1912, 1916, 1927, 1938 and in January 1993 in which 6 people died. Old Town Temecula was flooded in 1993 causing major damage.

TEMECULA FIESTA, 1890Reprinted from the San Diego Union Archives All are invited to attend the bull fight and grand feas...


Reprinted from the San Diego Union Archives

All are invited to attend the bull fight and grand feast at Temecula, San Diego County, August 23. The bulls are furnished by Mr. Hamilton of Cajutila [sic]. There will also be horse racing and Indian dancers. Louis Wolf (Junior). (August 16, 1890)


Why Father Ubach Declines to Attend the Indian Fiesta near Temecula

The fiesta of the Luiseno Indians now on the Pitchanga [sic] reservation, five miles east of Temecula station, will occur tomorrow and Tuesday so far as the games, horse races and bull-fighting are concerned, but Rev. Father Ubach has sent word that he will not be there, as he learns the feast “will be more for the worship of Bacchus than for God.” He was duly informed several days ago that great preparations had been made for the celebration of the feast of the Indians’ patron saint, San Luis Rey, which included a number of brush houses erected by Captain Juan Chiquito just off the reservation, to be rented to white men who were prepared to sell liquor and run gambling tables. Father Ubach sent word back that he should decline to celebrate mass and christen the children under these circumstances, as he had warned the generals and captains two years ago that unless order and right conduct could be maintained he should consistently decline to serve them. After the Indians shall have recovered from their revels and fire-water, he proposes to go up and hold services for them as a number of children are to be baptized. (August 28, 1890)

Researcher’s Note: Bacchus in Roman mythology is the god of wine.


At Temecula was a Howling Success in the True Sense
Jack Dodge, Tom Storey, Hi Alden and Charles Hard returned on Tuesday night from Temecula, where they went to witness the Indian fiesta. Jack says that about 300 people were in attendance, mostly Indians and politicians. By the way, from all reports that come by private wire and carrier pigeon, the back country is alive with politicians, who are beating paths through the wheat fields and mountain passes, and the rural population, who have heard so much about new transcontinental lines, think these office hunters are railroad engineers on a hunt for the most practical route to the East. The fiesta turned out to be more of a “drunkesia” than anything else, with a few lines of “gamble-esta” mixed in. (August 4, 1890)

As to the Fiesta A Letter from One who was at the Temecula Gathering To the Union: About two weeks ago you published an article giving Father Ubach’s reason for not celebrating the feast of San Luis Rey with the Indians at Temecula. The article stated that the Indians at Temecula, under the direction of their Captain Juan Chiquito had erected brush houses just off the reservation to be used as gambling and drinking dens. I have no doubt that the good Padre believed this to be true, for I believe him to be a just and good man, one who would not willfully wrong anyone, much less those of a race who have suffered enough of wrongs at the hands of white men. The Catholic priesthood has labored long and faithfully to elevate this people to a higher plane of civilization and I do not believe Father Ubach intended to misrepresent them, but for once the good Padre was mistaken. I am the teacher of the band of Indians to which your article referred and was at that time spending my vacation in San Diego. A few months ago I organized a temperance society among the people I have in charge. One Captain and about fifty of the young and middle-aged men of the tribe have joined the society and signed the temperance pledge. I have not known of one of them breaking it. When I read the article in your paper referring to them I hastened back to the reservation and got there just as the feast was breaking up. While on my way I stopped at Temecula station and there learned the facts of the case, and give them as they were given to me by reliable white men who were present in an official capacity during the whole time the feast was being held. Mrs. Ramona Wolf, a lady of wealth and social standing, owns and occupies a large ranch which joins our reservation. Some time ago she promised our Indians she would give them a feast, and she chose this especial occasion (San Luis Rey day) on which to fulfill her promise. The gentleman said: “It is true there were much drinking and some gambling, but not among the Indians. They could have had liquor if they had wanted it, but they would not drink it. There were very few of them who engaged at all in gambling.”
He said there were many white people there, and that there was a good deal of liquor drank by them. I think, Mr. Editor, our Indians deserve much credit for doing so well under such, to them, trying circumstances. When white men came to their feasts bringing wine and whisky to them, the Indian must be brave indeed who can stand by his pledge and resist the temptation. There may have been Indians at the feast who drank liquor, but my informant, who is personally acquainted with each one of our little band, assures me that our Indians were not of the number. White men who will stoop so low as to go among a peaceful tribe of Indians, taking as part of their necessary baggage, liquor and appliances for gambling ought to be put where they will find better and more useful employment.

Mary J. Platt

Pachango [sic] Reservation, Temecula, September 9

(September 18, 1890)

SOURCE: Temecula Valley Historical Society Newsletter. September 2014. Volume 14 – Issue 9


Old Town Temecula
Temecula, CA

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Hi Temecula history friends, Thought this was VERY cool, not too surprising, but I had no idea! Temecula and Santa Rosa is covered in thick ancient volcanic basalt. MANY years ago, the region had lava flow and in certain areas, the volcanic rock is visible. See article below: “The Murrieta hogbacks are apparently related. The Murrieta hogbacks are the conspicuous ridge east of I-215, south of Los Alamos Road, and north of Murrieta Hot Springs Road. There are houses on top, and a road goes up there from Los Alamos. They also have a similar basalt on top. Farther east, some of the hills at the west end of Vail lake are also volcanic. To find the Vail Lake site, drive toward the dam along the flood channel of Temecula Creek. In times of low water this is not too hard. Once you work back toward the dam, you can see the basalt, the basalt ridge, and the putative cinder cone. There is a ridge near the dam that ends in what looks for all the world like a cinder cone. The soil is a very similar clay, and supports Chocolate lilies and other clay soil plants. Again, the basalt appears very similar. The county geologist (Steve Kupferman) told me that someone published a paper a few years ago that tied all of this together.”
There was one question I wanted to ask him and now that will never happen. So sad, rest in peace Bob.
Where are all the cars and people? Oh that's right . . . it is 1951.