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Temecula City

Riverside County, California

Temecula City Hall is located at 41000 Main Street, Temecula, CA 92950.
Phone: 951‑694‑6444.


Beginnings [1]

Little is known of Temecula's first inhabitants, the Luiseño Indians. These Native American people were present in the Temecula area in the 1700s when the first Spanish padres visited. It is believed that these hunter-gatherers first arrived and established settlements around 900 A.D. It is also known that from these people, Temecula was given its name, which comes from the Luiseño Indian word, Temecunga, literally translated as Place of the Sun. The Spanish interpreted and spelled the word as Temecula. Over the years, the meaning of "Temecula" has been translated using several interpretations, including the most popular: Where the Sun Breaks Through the Mist. Temecula is the only city in California to still retain an original Indian name.

In the early 1800s, with California under Spanish then Mexican control, much of what we geographically know as Southern California was divided into ranches or Ranchos. In 1835, the Spanish Governor Figueroa first granted Rancho Temecula to Jose Antonio Estudillo. With the transition of California from a Spanish colony to a newly independent Mexican state, the 26,000-acre Rancho Temecula was granted to a Mexican army officer, Felix Valdex, in the 1840s. In 1846, the Rancho was sold to Louis Vignes, one of Californias first commercial winemakers.

The transition from Rancho to town of the Old West came with incorporation of California as a U.S. state and the resulting western expansion by stagecoach and later, by railroad. This expansion began in the 1850s, when the first American settlers arrived in Temecula, and accelerated between 1858 and 1861 with the operation of the Butterfield Overland Stage. With the opening of the California Southern Railroad Line in 1882, Temecula became established as a historical western town. In 1905, the railroad brought Walter Vail to the Temecula Valley to begin ranching operations on the 87,000-acre Vail Ranch.

In 1964, Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical purchased Vail Ranch, beginning Temecula's transition from avocado orchards, vineyards, and other agricultural uses, to an urbanized community by preparing the Rancho California Development Plan. The overall land use pattern and circulation system of Temecula today has largely been guided by this plan. In 1989, Temecula incorporated as a General Law City. The City of today encompasses both Old Town Temecula and a portion of the planned community of Rancho California. Since incorporation, the City has improved upon the good parts of this original blueprint to create a desirable community with exceptional public safety, community services, recreational amenities, and a robust commerce.

  1. City of Temecula, California, General Plan, 2005 Update, www.cityoftemecula.org, accessed November, 2015.

Nearby Towns: Murrieta City •

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