Saturday, November 26, 2016

Old Town

Today i'm sharing with you my Old Town, where the past meets the present -Temecula Valley! Established in the 1800s in the times of the golden west age, it brought upon the romantic era of rancheros and vaqueros, for which early California is best known. Though it was a short-lived era, it is said that nowhere in California did its aura linger longer, than in the the Temecula Valley. As one of the most historic communities in Southern California, Temecula went from Indian village, to mission outpost, from Mexican rancho, to crossroads settlement, and lastly, from railroad town, to modern city. There is so much rich history in this quaint, historic, town, but I will try to outline its highlights...

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Temecula in 1909
Firstly, the name Temecula comes from the LuiseƱo Indian word "Temecunga" - "temet" meaning "sun" and "-ngna" which means "place of." It is the only city in California that still keeps its original Indian name. Though Indian ancestors were here in 900 a.d, it was officially established in 1859. Shortly before, in 1847, its hard to believe the bloodiest battle of the Mexican War took place here, known as the Temecula Massacre. 

You can find original stagecoaches and wagon wheels lining the streets of Old Town, as seen above. Stagecoaches were synonymous with holdups, and Temecula saw its share of desperadoes, such as Juan Flores, the leader of a gang of outlaws, who would hide out in the Valley, during the greatest manhunt ever conducted in California.

At the turn of the century, Temecula became known as a shipping point for grain and cattle. During this period, the great and long cattle drives from the back country occurred, and the cowboys ruled the roost, as Temecula had become a significant cow town.

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Moving forward into the late 1920’s and 30’s, Temecula had its share of excitement, as there were murders, a bank robbery, a flood, and visits by glamorous Hollywood celebrities. Prize fighters Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey worked out in a makeshift ring on the second floor of the old Welty building, over the Blind Pig Saloon, and moon-shining was underway in the surrounding hills.

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Merchant, "Mac" Machado, 1904...notice the same mill?

During the 60s, when cattle business was the most popular business venture, the clientele of places like the Swing Inn (may absolute favorite diner) the Long Branch Saloon, and the Stables Bar, seemed to be limited to ranchers, cowboys, and Indians. Though the Old West lifestyle continued here, the outside world was evolving dramatically...

Even though the Golden West days are gone, and the times have changed, the nostalgia in this town is unrivaled, and Temecula does a wonderful job of keeping things excellently preserved, or beautifully restored. Walking the streets, you are bound to see horses and trollies, alongside rustic buildings and little diners.

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The Swing Inn Cafe, since 1927. (By Temecula Website Design)

Growing up, I loved to come by on the weekends for Western Day, which still happens! Old West, gun-fighting, costumed, characters perform humorous skits, and a high noon shoot out and robbery at The Bank (right across from my favorite antique mall, Granny's Attic). Also be sure to  visit the 150+ year old Bank, and pop into the Old Temecula Jail, a small, hidden, granite building where you can peer through the bars and see some mannequin outlaws!

Also worth mentioning is the Temecula Rod Run, where every year, hundreds of classic vehicles (pre 1974) from all over the country cruise Old Town Front Street.

You will see "Butterfield Stage" written in the background, which was actual my cross street. During the mid-1800s, the Butterfield Overland Mail company contracted with the federal government to deliver mail and goods. Temecula was one of the stops along the Butterfield Stage route, which followed the Southern Emigrant Trail.

Yodeling cowboy Gene Autry's favorite cowboy boots were his bluebirds, made by Olsen-Stelzer, in the mid 1930s. I'm wearing a vintage replica of the museum pair, by 'Montana,' which I had to have after my pink collar girl, Emily, let me borrow hers, on our horse riding adventure at the Madonna Inn.  

Other outfit details are (all vintage) gilded horseshoe accent, on a snap shirt, and a wool, embroidered skirt in camel (and of course a hat)

<3 Ashlyn

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