Erle Stanley Gardner lived in Temecula on his beloved Rancho del Paisano from 1937 until 1970. Gardner, famous for his Perry Mason mysteries, wrote 151 books that sold 325 million copies. His best selling works, the 82 Perry Mason mysteries, were adapted first for radio then became a popular TV series resulting in 271 episodes running from 1957 until 1966.
A multi-talented man, Gardner was a practicing attorney for 22 years. His dedication to justice led to his establishing The Court of Last Resort, resulting in numerous reforms in the U.S. judicial system. Gardner was also a passionate explorer and avid traveler. His favorite travels were into Baja, California. These expeditions led to the publication of six books, including The Land of Shorter Shadows and The Hidden Heart of Baja.
The Temecula Valley Museum owns over 6,000 of his photographs and a vast collection of memorabilia. The permanent display features a reproduction of the Temecula office and two of his off-road exploration vehicles. The museum also sponsors an annual Erle Stanley Gardner mystery weekend in November with expanded displays, mystery, and live stage productions.