Today we drove to Temecula just off IH15 in Riverside County. John found some markers that he wanted to photograph for his website plus we had never visited this area. The markers are located in Oak Grove which is 20 miles east of Temecula on hwy 79. In driving through the town east of IH 15 which seems to be the newer area, we were quite surprised. We later learned that this is a popular tourist destination with many wineries, Old Town, Balloon and Wine Festival and International Film Festival.
Temecula was inhabited by the Temecula Tribes who believe their ancestors lived in the area more than 10,000 years ago. One of the popular meanings of the name is "The Sun That Shines Through the Mist". The first recorded Spanish visit was in 1797 and it was the Spanish that planted the grapes. Today there are almost 40 wineries and 3500 acres of producing vineyards.
The 1990's brought much growth to the area due to affordable housing and the popular wine country. The city now has a population of around 106,000. The city has 39 parks, 22 miles of trails and 11 community facilities.
Old Town Temecula has a collection of historic buildings including antique stores,hotels, museums,cafes and shops. Several movies have been filmed here. Erle Stanley Gardner made his home here from 1931 until his death in 1970.
We also visited the History Museum featuring exhibits relating to the settling of the area and an exhibit about Erle Stanley Gardner.
On the drive to markers we passed several sculptors by the artist Ricardo Breceda. Quite impressive and realistic. These are located on Hwy 79.
Camp Wright was a Union Outpost during the Civil War established to protect the route to Fort Yuma and to intercept sympathizers going to join the Confederacy. The camp was abandoned in 1866 with no remains except for the marker.
The Oak Grove Butterfield Stage Station was in operation from 1858 to 1860 and is the only surviving stations of the Butterfield Overland Mail. It provided a stop between Los Angeles and Fort Yuma. The building remains.
On the way back, we took exit Hwy 76 to Pala in order to visit the San Antonio de Pala Asistencia Mission founded in 1816. It continues to minister to the Native American population. the current bell tower is an exact replica of the original that was destroyed by torrential rains in 1916.This is sub mission or extension of San Luis Rey de Francia which we visited on a previous trip.
It was a good day.