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Temecula is a city in southwestern Riverside County, California, United States, with a population of 100,097 during the 2010 census and an estimated 2013 population of 106,780. It was incorporated on December 1, 1989. Temecula is bordered by the city of Murrieta to the north and the Pechanga Indian Reservation and San Diego County to the south. The City of Temecula, forming the southwestern anchor of the Inland Empire region, is approximately 58 miles (93 km) north of downtown San Diego and 85 miles (137 km) southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
The city is a tourist destination, with the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, the Temecula Valley Polo Club, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film Festival, championship golf courses, and resort accommodations for tourists which contribute to the city's economic profile.
The area was inhabited by the Temecula Native Americans for hundreds of years before their contact with the Spanish missionaries (the people are now generally known as the Luiseños, after the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia). The Pechanga Band of Luiseño believe their ancestors have lived in the Temecula area for more than 10,000 years. In Pechanga mythology, life on earth began in the Temecula Valley. They call it, "Exva Temeeku", the place of the union of Sky-father, and Earth-mother ("Tuukumit'pi Tamaayowit"). The Temecula Indians ("Temeekuyam") lived at "Temeekunga" – "the place of the sun".
Other popular interpretations of the name, Temecula, include "The Sun That Shines Through The Mist" or "Where the sun breaks through the mist".
The first recorded Spanish visit occurred in October 1797, with a Franciscan padre, Father Juan Norberto de Santiago, and Captain Pedro Lisalde. Father Santiago kept a journal in which he noted seeing "Temecula ...an Indian village". The trip included the Lake Elsinore area and the Temecula Valley.
Today, over 1,000 Native Americans (this may mean tribal members, but includes those whose families were categorized "Spanish" and/or "Mexican" in the late 1800s/early 1900s) live in the Temecula Valley. The wine industry was founded by the Californios; colonial Spanish settlers planted grapes and vineyards well-suited for the climate. The vineyards were then adapted by Anglo-American settlers and European immigrants from Spain, Italy and France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In 1798, Spanish Missionaries established the Mission of San Luis Rey de Francia and designated the Indians living in the region "Sanluiseños", or shortened to "Luiseños". In the 1820s, the Mission San Antonio de Pala was built.
The Mexican land grants made in the Temecula area were Rancho Temecula granted to Felix Valdez and to the east Rancho Pauba granted to Vicente Moraga in 1844. Rancho Little Temecula was made in 1845 to Luiseño Pablo Apis, one of the few former mission converts to be given a land grant. It was fertile well watered land at the southern end of the valley, which included the village of Temecula. A fourth grant, known as Rancho Santa Rosa was made to Juan Moreno in 1846, and was in the hills to the west of Temecula.
The Luiseño and Cahuilla were involved in local battles not part of the Mexican–American War. In January 1847 in the Pauma Massacre, Luiseños captured 11 Mexican soldiers, who had stolen some of the tribe's horses. The Californios in Los Angeles mounted a military retaliation directed by General Pio Pico. In the Temecula Massacre, a combined force of Mexican soldiers and Cahuilla Indians killed 33 to 100 Luiseños (most estimates are 33–40 dead).
As American settlers moved into the area after the war, conflict with the native tribes increased. A treaty was signed in the Magee Store in Temecula in 1852, but was never ratified by the United States Senate. In addition, the Luiseños challenged the Mexican land grant claims, as under Mexican law, the land was held in trust to be distributed to the indigenous population after becoming subjects. They challenged the Apis claim to the Little Temecula Rancho by taking the case to the 1851 California Land Commission. On November 15, 1853, the commission rejected the Luiseño claim; an appealed in 1856 to the district court found in favor of the heirs of Pablo Apis (he had died in late 1853 or early 1854). The Luiseño of Temecula village remained on the south side of Temecula Creek when the Apis grant was acquired, in 1872, by Louis Wolf; they were evicted in 1875.
A stagecoach line started a local route from Warner Ranch to Colton in 1857 that passed through Temecula Valley. Within a year, the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line, with a route between St. Louis, Missouri and San Francisco, stopped at Temecula's Magee Store. On April 22, 1859, the first inland Southern California post office was established in Temecula in the Magee Store and the city was incorporated. This was the second post office in the state, the first being located in San Francisco. The Temecula post office was moved in the ensuing years. Its present locations are the seventh and eighth sites occupied. The American Civil War put an end to the Butterfield Overland Stage Service, but stage service continued on the route under other stage companies until the railroad reached Fort Yuma in 1877.
In 1862, Louis Wolf, a Temecula merchant and postmaster, married Ramona Place, who was mixed-race and half Indian. Author Helen Hunt Jackson spent time with Louis and Ramona Wolf in 1882 and again in 1883. Wolf's store became an inspiration for Jackson's fictional "Hartsel's store" in her 1884 novel, Ramona.
In 1882, the United States government established the Pechanga Indian Reservation of approximately 4,000 acres (16 km2) some 8 miles (13 km) from downtown Temecula. Also in 1882, the California Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe Railroad completed construction of the section from National City to Temecula. In 1883, the line was extended to San Bernardino. In the late 1880s, a series of floods washed out the tracks and the section of the railroad through the canyon was finally abandoned. The old Temecula station was used as a barn and later demolished.
In the 1890s with the operation of granite stone quarries, Temecula granite was shaped into fence and hitching posts, curb stones, courthouse steps, and building blocks. At the turn of the 20th century, Temecula gained a place of importance as a shipping point for grain and cattle.
In 1904 Walter L. Vail, who had come to the United States with his parents from Nova Scotia, migrated to California. Along with various partners, he began buying land in Southern California. Vail bought ranchland in the Temecula Valley, buying 38,000 acres (154 km2) of Rancho Temecula and Rancho Pauba, along with the northern half of Rancho Little Temecula. Vail was killed by a street car in Los Angeles in 1906; his son, Mahlon Vail, took over the family ranch. In 1914, financed by Mahlon Vail and local ranchers, the First National Bank of Temecula opened on Front Street. In 1915, the first paved, two-lane county road was built through Temecula.
By 1947, the Vail Ranch contained over 87,500 acres (354 km2). In 1948, the Vail family built a dam to catch the Temecula Creek water and created Vail Lake. Through the mid-1960s the economy of the Temecula Valley centered around the Vail Ranch; the cattle business and agriculture were the stimuli for most business ventures. In 1964, the Vail Ranch was sold to the Kaiser Aetna partnership. A later purchase by the group brought the total area to 97,500 acres (395 km2), and the area became known as Rancho California. The I-15 corridor between Los Angeles County and San Diego was completed in the early 1980s and the subdivision land boom began.
The 1990s brought rapid growth to the Temecula Valley. Many families began to move to the area from San Diego and Orange County drawn by the affordable housing prices and the popular wine country. In fall 1999, The Promenade Mall opened in Temecula. In 2005, Temecula expanded greatly by annexing the neighboring planned community known as Redhawk, bringing the population to 90,000. After a period of rapid population growth and home construction, the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis and the resultant United States housing market correction caused a sharp rise in home foreclosures in the Temecula-Murrieta region.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.28 square miles (96.6 km2), of which 37.27 square miles (96.5 km2) of it is land and 0.012 square miles (0.0 km2) of it (0.03%) is water. South of the city, Murrieta Creek and Temecula Creek join to form the Santa Margarita River.
Temecula has a warm semi-arid climate (Köppen:BSk ) August is typically the hottest month of the year with December being the coldest month. Most precipitation occurs from November to March with February being the wettest month. Winter storms generally bring moderate precipitation, but strong winter storms are not uncommon especially during "El Niño" years. The driest month is June. Annual precipitation is 14.14 inches. Morning marine layer is common during May and June. From July to September, Temecula experiences hot, dry weather with the occasional North American monsoonal flow that increases the humidity and brings isolated thunderstorms. Most of the storms tend to be short lived with little, if any rainfall. During late fall into winter, Temecula experiences dry, windy north-eastern Santa Ana winds. Snowfall is rare, but Temecula has experienced traces of snowfall on occasion, some as recently as December 2014. A rare F1 tornado touched down in a Temecula neighborhood on February 19, 2005.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Temecula had a population of 100,097. The population density was 3,318.0 people per square mile (1,281.1/km²). The racial makeup of Temecula was 70,880 (70.8%) White (57.2% Non-Hispanic White), 4,132 (4.1%) African American, 1,079 (1.1%) Native American, 9,765 (9.8%) Asian, 368 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 7,928 (7.9%) from other races, and 5,945 (5.9%) from two or more races. There were 24,727 people of Hispanic or Latino origin, of any race (24.7%).
The Census reported that 99,968 people (99.9% of the population) lived in households, 121 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 8 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 31,781 households, out of which 15,958 (50.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 20,483 (64.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,763 (11.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,580 (5.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,463 (4.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 186 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 4,400 households (13.8%) were made up of individuals and 1,387 (4.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.15. There were 25,826 families (81.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.46.
The population was spread out with 30,690 people (30.7%) under the age of 18, 9,317 people (9.3%) aged 18 to 24, 27,869 people (27.8%) aged 25 to 44, 24,416 people (24.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 7,805 people (7.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.
There were 34,004 housing units at an average density of 1,127.2 per square mile (435.2/km²), of which 21,984 (69.2%) were owner-occupied, and 9,797 (30.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.1%. 69,929 people (69.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 30,039 people (30.0%) lived in rental housing units.
The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey reported an estimated 1.5% of the population of Temecula's working force, or 1,085 individuals, were involved with the U.S. Armed Forces as of 2011. This figure is slightly higher than the 2011 estimated national average of 0.5%.
During 2009–2013, Temecula had a median household income of $78,356, with 8.5% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
As of the census of 2000, there were 57,716 people, 18,293 households, and 15,164 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,198.3 people per square mile (848.6/km²). There were 19,099 housing units at an average density of 727.4 per square mile (280.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.9% White, 3.4% African American, 0.9% Native American, 4.7% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 7.4% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.0% of the population.
There were 18,293 households out of which 52.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.8% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.1% were non-families. 12.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.2 and the average family size was 3.5.
In the city, the population was spread out with 34.7% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 17.2% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. The above average number of young people in Temecula was attributed to an influx of middle-class families came to buy homes in the 1990s real estate boom. For every 100 females, there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.2 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $75,335, and the median income for a family was $80,836. Males had a median income of $47,113 (2000) versus $31,608 (2000) for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,312 (2003). About 5.6% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.
Temecula is an affluent community. Supported by high median and mean income levels as well as the city's favorable tourism and resort industries, the city is a prominent tourist destination, with the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, the Temecula Valley Polo Club, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film Festival, championship golf courses, and resort accommodations attracting a significant number of tourists which appreciably contributes to the city's economic profile. In addition to the tourism sector, the educational, leisure, professional, finance, and retail sectors contribute to the city's economy. Additionally, the Outdoor Channel was based in Temecula until relocating to Denver, Colorado in 2014.
As of June 2014, the top employers in the city were:
Pechanga Resort and Casino, though a major part of Temecula's economy, is not legally within the city limits.
The Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) and its schools are consistently ranked as having the highest Academic Performance Indices within Riverside County. Great Oak, Chaparral, and Temecula Valley high schools have all received silver medals in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings awarded by U.S. News & World Report.
The district's general boundaries extend north to Baxter Road in French Valley, south to the Riverside/San Diego county line, east to Vail Lake, and west to the Temecula city limit. The district covers approximately 148 square miles (383 km2), with an enrollment of approximately 28,000 students (Grades K-12).
In the California State Legislature, Temecula is in the 28th Senate District, represented by Republican Jeff Stone, and in the 75th Assembly District, represented by Republican Marie Waldron.
In the United States House of Representatives, Temecula is split between California's 42nd congressional district, represented by Republican Ken Calvert, and California's 50th congressional district, represented by Republican Duncan D. Hunter.
Temecula was a proposed city for a charter membership in the California Inline Hockey League based in San Diego then to Los Angeles. The California Inline Hockey league was a grassroots minor league professional Inline hockey league with clubs based in the state of California but later added two teams in Nevada. The CIHL awarded the city of Temecula a club which was to be a part of the CIHL's first season in 1995. The club was named the Temecula Desert Rats and they were going to be members of the CIHL along with the San Francisco Seals, Santa Barbara Sandsharks, Los Angeles/Sacramento Golden Bears, High Desert (Adelanto) Rattlers later moved to Las Vegas, Fresno Fire who merged with the Bakersfield Bombers, Orange County Crushers, Sacramento/Reno Express, Carson City/Modesto-Stockton Mavericks, Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay Tritons, and a proposed team in San Diego (the San Diego/San Jose/Golden Gate Goals) which like Temecula suspended operations for 1995. Temecula's reason for suspending operations was because no suitable rink was available for the club and was the reason the club moved to Phoenix, Arizona for the 1996 season. The team was going to be called the Phoenix Desert Rats, but the team reappeared in Palm Desert, California to become the Palm (Springs) Desert Rats, to replace the Roller hockey team the Palm Desert Silver-Cats who later relocated to Ontario, California, to represent the Riverside-San Bernardino area. The CIHL folded in 1999 with the remaining teams: the California Desert Rats, Inland Empire InlinE-men (Ontario), (Orange) County Web Warriors (also the name of a team in Pro Beach Hockey) and SouthLand Sun-Dogs of San Diego and Del Mar, California (Solana Beach).
Temecula is also known as the home for the Freestyle Motocross group Metal Mulisha with members such as Brian Deegan, Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg, and Ronnie Faisst living in or near Temecula.
Since 2012, Temecula is also home to the Wine Town Rollers (WTR) roller derby league.
Currently, Temecula is home to a semi-pro soccer team, Temecula FC (a.k.a.) the Quails. The area used to have another semi-pro soccer team, the Murrieta Bandits, in the 2000s.
Boxing and Mixed martial arts fight cards are held at Pechanga Resort & Casino.
Temecula has 39 parks, 22 miles of trails and 11 major community facilities. In 2013, it was named a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community and it was named a Playful City USA. Temecula's Pennypickle's Workshop was a winner of Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Award for "Best Museum" and "Best Kids' Party Place".
Temecula's sports parks include the Ronald Reagan Sports Park (formerly named Rancho California Sports Park) and the Patricia H. Birdsall Sports Park.
Temecula offers various sport options as youth's extra-curricular activities such as football (both flag and Pop Warner), cheerleading, roller hockey, wrestling, basketball, baseball, soccer, and lacrosse. In 2010, the Temecula Mountain Lions Rugby Club was started. The club offers men's, women's, and youth teams. In their first season, the Temecula Mountain Lions Rugby Club's men's team won the SCRFU Open Division Championship.
Temecula provides police service in cooperation with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department via a contract with the department fulfilled through its Southwest Sheriff's Station, located in the unincorporated community of French Valley, just immediately north of the city of Temecula, east of State Route 79 (Winchester Road). The station is adjacent to the Riverside County Superior Court's Southwest Regional Judicial District Courthouse and Southwest Detention Center, one of the five regional jails in Riverside County. The sheriff's station is currently commanded by Captain Andre O'Harra, who also serves as Temecula's Chief of Police.
The city of Temecula contracts for fire and paramedic services with the Riverside County Fire Department through a cooperative agreement with CAL FIRE. Temecula currently has five fire stations with five paramedic engine companies, one truck company and two CAL FIRE wildland fire engines.
American Medical Response provides paramedic ambulance transport to an emergency department.
The Temecula Cemetery is operated by the Temecula Public Cemetery District. Land for the cemetery was originally donated by Mercedes Pujol in 1884 from the estate of her husband, Domingo Pujol.
More than 40 years after Richard Break and Leon Borel first planted 56 varieties of wine-making grapes in five different locations for the newly formed Rancho California Development Corporation, the Temecula Valley has become recognized as a full-fledged appellation. In 1967 John Moramarco planted the first 1,000 acres of commercial winegrapes for Brookside Vineyards and Winery. Today, there are approximately 40 wineries and more than 3,500 acres (14 km2) of producing vineyards. The wine country is a few miles east of historic Old Town Temecula, with a variety of tasting rooms. The annual Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival is held at nearby Lake Skinner. The festival offers live entertainment, hot air balloon rides, and wine tasting, with many of the area's local wineries represented.
Golfers can use one of the nine local golf courses including Pechanga's Journey, Redhawk, Temecula Creek Inn, Temeku Hills, CrossCreek, Pala Mesa (near Fallbrook) and the SCGA Member's Course (in nearby Murrieta).
Old Town Temecula is a collection of historic 1890s buildings, antique stores, hotels, museums, specialty food stores, restaurants, boutiques, gift and collectible stores, and antique dealers. Old Town is also home to special events like the Rod Run car show, Art and Street Painting Festival, Santa's Electric Parade Show, western days, and summer entertainment. On weekends, Old Town also hosts a growing nightlife.
Old Town is also home to the Temecula Museum which features exhibits about the local band of Native Americans and the local natural history and city development. The City Hall, which relocated from a smaller location on Business Park Drive in late 2010, is located in the center of Old Town.
In 2001, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians built the $262 million Pechanga Resort & Casino complex. It is Temecula Valley's largest employer, with about 4,100 people employed.
Temecula maintains international relations with two cities, Leidschendam-Voorburg in the Netherlands and Daisen, Tottori in Japan.
Margarita Middle School is the sister school to Daisen-cho, Japan. The three high schools, Temecula Valley High School, Great Oak High School, and Chaparral High School switch off sending students to the Netherlands while they all share hosting. The Dutch students have usually come during October, but came in May in 2010, and the American students go during Spring Break. Margarita Middle sends a delegation every other year during Spring Break, while Daisen sends a delegation every year during the summer. The sister cities celebrated their 13th year of cooperation this year.
The city recently dedicated a Japanese Garden at the Temecula Duck Pond to honor the 10th anniversary of the city's relationship with sister city Daisen.
The Temecula Duck Pond is also home to an art piece entitled Singing in the Rain. It was commissioned by the city of Leidschendam-Voorburg as a gift to the city to commemorate the resilient American spirit in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The piece depicts a mother and her children bravely pedalling a bicycle into the strong headwinds of a storm.
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