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Temecula Valley Museum Collection


Take a look at the photographed early days of Temecula from the Temecula Valley Museum collection.  These black and white photographs tell the story of our small town before the days of expansion and development.  See pictures of the Temecula Valley without a single house in sight.  You may even see pictures of people you’ve known.  Enjoy looking back at the beginning of it all in Temecula.

The Whitney Wilkinson Collection: Life at the Vail Ranch


The Temecula Valley Museum is undertaking an extensive conservation effort to protect maps, documents, and photographs recently donated to the Museum by Whitney Wilkinson.  There are over 2,000 documents and photographs in this significant collection accumulated by the original owners of the Vail Ranch.  The Vail Ranch covered more than 87,000 acres from the Santa Rosa Plateau to Vail Lake.  The importance of this collection is reflected in the source and dates of the items.  Many items date from the mid-1800s, are unique and provide rare primary research opportunities.  The Vail Ranch was the dominant economic entity from its founding in 1905 to its sale in 1964.  Temecula’s history is intertwined in these documents.


The Erle Stanley Gardner Collection: A Man of Many Talents


As Temecula’s most famous resident for 35 years and known to many locals as “Uncle Erle,” Gardner is widely recognized for creating the character in the murder mystery novels made famous in the “Perry Mason” television series from the 1950s. He was a prolific writer and wrote 81 Perry Mason novels and a total of 181 books, including many nonfiction books.

The museum collection focuses on Gardner’s multifaceted career as a writer, attorney (mostly in Ventura), amateur photographer, adventurer, fisherman and explorer (in the Baja, Mexico area). Thousands of photographs taken by Gardner, his signed first-edition books, “Perry Mason” memorabilia and items from his extensive travels and adventures have been preserved and catalogued.

Parker Collection – Images of the Brush Country


From an early age, Horace Parker was an avid collector of ephemera, an antiquarian and admirer of local history. While investigating local history he would pick up interesting bits of Southern California history. Hundreds of hours of research and thousands of miles of travel went into this project.

In the fall of 1954 he discussed his passion with friend Bill Moses, who was then the editor of the Newport Harbor News-Press. “You’ll have to begin writing this stuff,” said Bill. “As long as you collect, store and procrastinate writing it up you have a good chance of never doing it. Why don’t you try writing a column of, say a thousand words, using the material and I’ll try to get Ben Reddick (the newspaper’s publisher) interested in it?”

That was the beginning of the Brush Country Journal. From 1954 to 1957 Parker wrote and illustrated with photographs in a unique Journal of regional history. The columns were published in the Newport Harbor News-Press.


Special Collections

1 - Temecula 1909

2 - The Little Giant

3 - ESG Ride

4 - Cowboys 1894

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