Local Historic Locations
First National Bank of Temecula
Opened for business in 1914 and served as a bank until 1943. This is the first use of concrete construction in Temecula; signaling the end of the granite business. This building is now a Mexican restaurant.
The Mercantile Building
Built by Philip Pohlman around 1890 on a lot he won in a raffle. Using fired brick, said to be the first brick building in Temecula. The building was acquired by George A. Burnham and the business was known as G.A. Burnham & Son. The Burnham store closed in 1953. It is now rebuilt and functions as the entry to the new Temecula Community Theater.
St. Catherine’s Catholic Church
Built in 1917 was the first church building in Temecula. The church was moved from its original location to its present location in Sam Hicks Monument Park; and now serves as a wedding chapel (the Chapel of Memories) to benefit the Temecula Valley Museum.
The Welty Store
Built by R.J. Welty in the 1890s and used as a general store. There were rooms upstairs for rent. Joe Winkels operated his famous “Ramona Inn” here; and from 1908 until 1933 while most of Riverside County was dry, Winkels offered “refreshments”, pool tables, card games and even slot machines. It has also been known as “The Stallion,” “The Stables,” and later as “The Corner” (a sandwich shop).
The Machado Store
Built in 1909. (Machado’s). This was the second store operated by Macedonia Machado in this location. Over the years the buildings has been used as a store, saloon (Long Branch Saloon), and a church. The address of this building is 28656 Front Street.
The Hotel Temecula (Welty Hotel)
The second of the two hotels built on this site by R.J. and Mary Jane Welty. After the first hotel was destroyed by fire in 1891, the present building was erected the same year. Both hotels were owned and operated by the Welty family for a total of over thirty years. Later, owner Grace LeClare operated it as both an apartment house and hotel. It has been a private residence since 1960 when it was purchased by local historian Horace Parker and his wife, Leverne. This building is NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
The Wolf Store
Built in 1869, near Redhawk and Hwy 79 south. Louis Wolf operated a store in Temecula beginning around 1859. He married Ramona Place. Author Helen Hunt Jackson (Ramona) visited with Louis and Ramona in 1882. Some suggest that Ramona was a model for Jackson’s famous heroine. Louis Wolf served as postmaster in the 1870s and 1880s. The Temecula Post Office was located during these times in his store.
The Vail Ranch Headquarters
This 4 acre site was once the headquarters for Vail Ranch that was in operation from 1904 – 1964. This ranch was comprised of four Mexican ranchos (Little Temecula, Temecula, Pauba, and Santa Rosa) totaling 87,500 acres. The Wolf Store is located on this 4 acre site and was once part of the Vail Ranch operations. Today the site is undergoing preservation and restoration under the guidance of the Vail Ranch Restoration Association (VaRRA).
Located on Jefferson Street near Overland Drive in the Adobe Plaza. Built by Jose Maria Gonzalez in 1879. Said to be the oldest standing structure in the Temecula Valley. Gonzalez owned a 60-acre ranch here. Gonzalez became Riverside County’s first tax collector. Over the years the home has housed a florist, a chocolate shop, and a language school to mention a few.
The Erle Stanley Gardner Residence
Located off Pechanga Parkway just past the Casino. Erle Stanley Gardner was the creator of the famous Perry Mason murder mysteries. Gardner wrote over 130 mysteries, the TV series extended over 271 episodes and resulted in 6 motion pictures. This was Gardner’s primary residence during the years 1937 until his death in 1970.
The Pujol School House
Opened in 1889. Originally located where the museum stands today, the building was moved twice, the last time (in 1986) to 29825 Santiago Rd. Although not the first school in Temecula area, it served as the first school actually built in Old Town. For many years, beginning in 1915, the school house served as the only Protestant church in Temecula. It is now owned by the Temecula Community Church.
Temecula Wine Growers Association
Learn the history of the TWGA by visiting their website: temeculawines.org.