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Delightful Old Town Temecula
temecula old town entry gate


Delightful Old Temecula pictures include top photo: Wealty Building where boxer Jack Dempsey trained; bottom left to right: Earl Stanley Gardner and his dog, Rip, are part of a historical mural; granite arches with ironwork designs depicting the history of Temecula welcome visitors to Old Town; monument at Sam Hicks Park; Docent Duane Preimsberger, Ph.D., at Temecula Valley Museum.

Delightful Old Temecula includes Old West Charm


"Perry Mason" Creator Erle Stanley Gardner is one of Temecula's most famous residents. In 1937, the attorney-turned-writer was driving south on Highway 395 when his dog, "Rip," "had a barking fit like never before. He was telling me that this was the place to stop," Gardner wrote in the area's wonderful historical publication, "The High Country."

Rip loved the countryside and so did Erle. Soon, he purchased a 3,000-acre ranch that became known as Rancho del Paisano, across from current day Great Oak High School. The famous best-selling author, whose works also became movies, TV series, radio shows and novels, loved Temecula & his ranch for over 30 years. Gardner died on his beloved ranch in 1970. Read more about Garnder.

Another renown character who drove to Temecula was Heavyweight Boxer Jack Dempsey. He reportedly trained in the Old Welty Building at Front & Main Streets, in what's now known as Historic Old Town Temecula. The 1896 structure housed "The Blind Pig Saloon," which featured a gym & ring where Dempsey reportedly sparred with Boxer Jack Sharkey.

Across the street, the First National Bank of Temecula could have used Dempsey's presence to halt a robbery in 1930. Today, customers of "The Bank of Mexican Food" can actually dine inside the old vault where two bank employees were sent by the robber (Miguel Diaz), who was captured in a dramatic chase.

Ironically, a nearby former wine cellar --made out of local granite-- was turned into a jail.

There are several other fascinating buildings and even a granite monument in Old Town, which has some dandy
wooden sidewalks.

In Sam Hicks' Park (across from the Post Office on Front Street) is a 150-ton granite monument honoring frontier people who brought the town its very proud heritage. Bringing life to the names on this unique monument is a booklet telling about each person. You can see it inside the neighboring Temecula Valley Museum.

This incredible facility has wonderful exhibits featuring artifacts of the Luiseno Indians and other things significant to the area's fascinating history. It's all explained by friendly and knowledgeable folks like Museum Manager Wendell Ott and docents like Duane Preimsberger, Ph.D. Their love for the past shines through, just like the original Native American term, "Temecula," meaning "where the sun shines through the mist."

Visit Old Town Temecula--it's a knockout deserving your attention.

Did you know?   "A Weekend In The Country", a 1996 movie starring Rita Rudner, Jack Lemmon, Dudley Moore, Richard Lewis and Betty White was filmed in Temecula.