Stop by the Little Temecula History Center and help us honor and celebrate Temecula’s rich history.
We are located adjacent to the original Vail Ranch buildings. It is filled with artifacts that speak to the history of this remarkable area and many of these items can be picked up and handled by the visitors to this very special place.
Climb aboard a replica of Butterfield Stagecoach that ran through the Temecula Valley from 1858 until 1861, pausing at an adobe stage stop. Crank a mechanical bellows on a blacksmith’s forge that was used to heat and shape horseshoes on the Vail Ranch from 1905 until the ranch was sold to developers in 1964. See how an antique rope making device can turn twine into small rope for daily use on the Ranch. Explore the construction of an authentically restored chuck wagon and learn how “Cookie” fed the dozens of cowboys on the sprawling, 87,500 acre Vail Ranch that was home to thousands of head of cattle!
Climb aboard a replica stagecoach reminscent of the days when travelers came by way of the Butterfield Overland Mail Stage as they passed through Temecula. Imagine what it was like to travel hundreds of miles through the untamed territories of the Old West that existed during the 1850s and 1860s. Most recently this stagecoach was part of the 150th anniversary celebration commerating Temecula as the oldest community in the Temecula Valley, as a result of having the first US Post Office established in 1859.
View artifacts from the original Vail Ranch Headquarters that existed from 1904 - 1964. See how a large cattle ranch functioned and what they used in their everday life. Much of the exhibit is hands on. You can work a honey separator, crank an old blacksmith forge and even make a rope out of twine. Contained in the Vail Collection is a granite marker believed to have been used as landmark for the Little Temecula Rancho.
In addition to items from Vail Ranch, there are many other displays from the early days of Temecula and Temecula Valley. Much of what is contained in the Little Temecula History Center has been received as donations from descendants of early Temecula families. These historical items includes artifacts, antiques, books, pictures, and original documents. A truly unique display is one of an early 20th century kitchen, complete with a wood burning stove and an 'ice box'.
Some of the pieces in our collection are so large they have to be displayed outdoors. Come see our replica 'chuck wagon' and see how the cowboys ate while out on their cattle drive. See what utensils 'Cookie' had to work with while making their meals. Additionally we have wagons, plows and old Model-T vehicles from the early days of the ranch on display. Recently added to the collection is the restored 4 passenger buggy that was donated in 2008. Many hours went into sanding and painting the black finish on this unique buggy.
The Center is in a growth mode and the small staff of volunteers is busily putting together more exhibits that focus on the history of the Vail Ranch and the surrounding area. They’re actively constructing the infrastructure to support the exhibits as well as a facility to accommodate classes and special events at the site. In the process of development are programs and classes that will educate and entertain those who visit the facilities. Interested, dedicated individuals who can help and give of their time and talents to assuring the success of this effort are sorely needed. If you or someone you know would be interested in exploring the opportunities for docents, preservationists, office staff and other volunteer positions please firstname.lastname@example.org.