About The Society
'Working to preserve the rich heritage of the Temecula Valley'

 The Temecula Valley Historical Society was founded in 2001. The mission of the Society is to "identify, preserve and promote the historical legacy of the Temecula Valley and to educate the public about its historical significance".

 Projects have included the placement of plaques and markers on historic buildings and sites in Old Town Temecula, the restoration of the Louis Wolf Tomb, the restoration of a stagecoach and the production of a DVD about the local history.   The Society provides self guided walking tour maps of Old Town Temecula to local shopkeepers for public distribution.

 Monthly meetings are held at the Little Temecula History Center which include speaker presentations on the local history of Temecula Valley.   The Society also organizes local field trips as well as sending out volunteers to the community to educate children on the valley's historic legacy.

 We invite you to browse around our web site.   Be sure to check out the local history section and the gossip collection which contains excerpts from the Lake Elsinore Valley Press that was published from 1910 - 1926.

 Memberships in the Temecula Valley Historical Society are available at levels affordable to individuals and families as well as corporate sponsorship.

 The Temecula Valley Historical Society is a nonprofit organization under Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)3.

   When we formed our Society in 2000 it was to watch over the Temecula Valley historical sites in a broader scope than the existing Vail Ranch Restoration Association. We stated our mission was to identify, preserve and promote the historic legacy of Temecula Valley and to educate the public about its historical significance.

    During 2017 we faced several threats of historical losses and we answered them with funds and with a public voice. We funded the $7,500 repair of five historic grave monuments in our local cemetery that would have been dismantled if they hadn't been repaired. We paid the back taxes on the Wolf Tomb property that was slated for auction if it had not been paid. We have completed paperwork for the Wolf Tomb property to declare it a cemetery and to make it exempt from property taxes. We strongly challenged the demolition of Butterfield Square and the construction of a six-story modern hotel that will dominate Old Town. Although the demolition did occur, we negotiated for some of the salvage materials and the right to rebuild Butterfield Square components on another property in Old Town. We watched the sale of several historical properties throughout the Temecula Valley, including Casa Loma, and have advocated for them in communication with sellers, realtors and buyers.

    In November we hosted an event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the filming of the pilot episode of The Invaders TV series. Rick Reiss did extensive research and gave an excellent narrative during the outdoor showing of that episode that featured many of our still-existing buildings in Old Town.

    Through the years we have kept true to our mission and have added other aspects of service to the community that we never envisioned. For example, each year we give $4,000 in scholarships to local students entering history related careers.

    We have an outstanding newsletter produced monthly by our immediate Past President Dick Fox and with input from many, including Lynn Cude'. We have an excellent website, thanks to Roger Cude' and his committee. On the website are digitized newsletters and publications of historic interest with searchable data.

    Our active Facebook page reaches many people who will never come to one of our meetings or events. Jeffery Harmon posts an article of historic interest nearly daily, often as a catalyst for communication between those who are curious and the serious historians who can answer their questions. We also utilize our Facebook page to communicate events and programs.

    Our name is visible to our community through our free Old Town Walking Tour brochures distributed by Cheryl Cady and others. Bonnie Martland writes an informative and often humorous historical article for us each month that is published in the Valley News. Lynn Cude' and the other Notable Women of Temecula offer first person dramatization of historic women to groups in the Temecula area, entertaining the audiences and awakening their awareness of local history. It is heartening to watch as our Notable Men of Temecula programs develop with Rick Reiss at the helm.

    Our plaques throughout Old Town distinguish the history of old structures to passersby. In 2017 our plaque committee chairperson Bob Kent placed a marker at The Bank restaurant to commemorate the Livery Stable that once stood there.

    Lynn Cude'has taken her responsibilities as Membership Chair to a new level by initiating a social time with refreshments prior to each meeting that she or members of her team provide. Who wouldn't want to join our society?

    We have informative and entertaining presentations at our monthly meetings. In 2017 some highlights included Dick Fox talking about the history of printing and Bob Kent presenting the history of the building of the Southern California Railroad. Bob invited Dr. Sue Castell to present her research on Ah Quin who was the Chinese work contractor and had a very interesting life.

    Phil Washum is our tour director. He arranges historic tours nearly every month to places we are all curious about. In the past year some of the tours went to The Great Oak, San Luis Rey Mission and the Mission Inn in Riverside.

    Because meeting together only once a month doesn't seem enough for some of us, during warm months we meet on a designated Wednesday evening for a no-host dinner at the picnic tables at Vail HQ. Besides giving us some social time, Darell Farnbach prepares an informal program based on artifacts that he shows. Besides being a social time focused on history, we buy our dinners to support the Vail HQ businesses that keep the historic site open to the public.

    Our Annual Dinners are scheduled to meet our state requirements as a 501c3 to give end of year committee reports and to announce changes in the officers and board of directors. Since our formation it has evolved into an important fundraiser event for our scholarship fund and a fun evening looked forward to all year. Special thanks to Cheryl Cady and Shari Crall, the donors of gift items and the others on the team who made our 2017 Annual Dinner a great success and a lot of fun.

    Suzanne Dechert coordinates student volunteers who come to the History Center and Vail Headquarters to help with sweeping, painting, window washing and other tasks at hand. Several of our members also assist with third-grade tours of the Vail HQ and Little Temecula History Center. Mike and Shelley Leddy teach one of the favorites, the laundry station where students have the experience of washing clothes with a bar of soap on a scrub board, passing the clothing through a wringer and hanging with clothespins to dry.

    I personally wish to thank all of our officers, directors and committee chairpersons, and members. Thank you for devoting your time and resources to serve the community and to secure today's history as a legacy forever.

    Going into 2018 we will continue to encourage the City of Temecula to enact the Mills Act to reduce tax liability for historic property owners. We will continue to identify and preserve historic properties and we will continue to present information about local history in print and as we meet together monthly.

Rebecca Farnbach
    The Temecula Valley Historical Society is governed by a Board of Directors who formulate and vote on policies.
    Board members serve three year terms.
    The Board elects from its members the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
    In addition to the Board of Directors, the society is comprised of several committees all of which serve a specific
    purpose as determined by the Board of Directors and the membership at large.
From left to right:

Charolotte Fox
Barbara Tobin
Eve Craig
Jimmy Moore
From left to right:

Dick Fox
Bonnie Martland
Rebecca Farnbach