Historic Vail Ranch Receives New Life and New Tenants
At first glance, the corner of Redhawk and Temecula Parkways is merely a retail strip mail but, nestled somewhere between Kohl’s and Famous Footwear, lies over 150 years of Temecula’s history.
A recognized California historical site, Vail Ranch is comprised of seven buildings, originating in the mid 1800’s, consisting of barns, bunkhouses, a post office and an adobe store used by Temecula’s first settlers. Flash forward to the 1990’s, where the Vail Ranch Restoration Association began their fight to preserve their city’s landmark.
“When the historical property was the only area with buildings standing in the entire Temecula Parkway area, a small number of locals became concerned that it would be obliterated by the construction of retail and entertainment facilities,” Rebecca Farnbach of the VaRRA said. “We hoped to interest the county to make the historical site into a park, but soon learned that they had too many other enterprises interested in the site. To save the buildings and the historic site, we determined it would have to be financially self-sustaining.”
After decades of petitioning and a lawsuit filed against the County of Riverside, the VaRRA succeeded in preserving the four acres around the property, despite the substantial industrial growth of South Temecula.
“Our main focus was education and activism,” Farnbach said. “We have watched over the site throughout the years, tending to plants and trees, repairing vandalized fixtures and, with the help of the County, we have put in a museum where we can educate people as to the significance of the property.”
Because the historical district still needed to be self-sustaining, in 2008, the VaRRA joined forces with Arteco Partners, the current property owners, to renovate the historical buildings into something that could be enjoyed by the present community.
After budget concerns and setbacks, that dream is coming into fruition, with the newly restored Vail Ranch Headquarters using the preserved buildings to house new and exciting retail and dining locations. Some of the retailers, opening at different times throughout the summer, are Augie’s Coffee and la Minute Creamery, Cheflavor spice shop, Winchester Saddlery, Project Pie and Nectar Women’s Wear. The association will also be a resident, operating their own art gallery.
The Vail Ranch Headquarters grand opening celebration will be held on Saturday, July 16th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; with a ribbon cutting kicking off the festivities at 10:30 am. The Temecula community is invited to join association members, city dignitaries and special invited guests for a day of live music, hay wagon and train rides, a barbecue, gunfighters, roping, historical displays, a petting zoo, games, crafts and more. Though not all of the upcoming retailers will not be open for business on this date, all will be on hand to welcome guests and showcase their wares.
In addition to new shops and dining, Farnbach hopes the newly manicured grounds of Vail Ranch have turned the once forgotten gem into something of which their Temecula neighbors can be proud.
“The entire property is landscaped for enjoyment of the community, which has been VaRRA’s goal all along,” she said. “There will be plaques placed on historic granite throughout the property to answer questions about the past, but the present and future will also be celebrated. We hope the site will be the background for many happy gatherings.”
For more information on the work of the Vail Ranch Restoration Association, visit www.vailranch.org.