June 2017

Temecula Valley Section 0713

June 2017 Monthly Dinner Meeting

Topic: Temecula Valley History – The Vail Headquarters Walking Tour

Speaker: Rebecca & Darell Farnbach

When: Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Where: Augies Coffee Shop
32115 Temecula Parkway,
Temecula, CA 92592

Dinner Cost: $20.00 for members
$25.00 for non-members

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Presentation Subject: Temecula Valley History – The Vail Headquarters Walking Tour

By Darell & Rebecca Farnbach

On the walking tour the presenters will take us through the five eras of note at the Vail Headquarters using existing buildings and features at the historic ranch site to demonstrate those eras.

We will walk on the Southern Emigrant Trail also known as the Butterfield Stage Trail. We will visit the Wolf Store adobe that was built in 1866. We will view cowboy bunkrooms and the foreman’s house from the Vail Ranch era and will tell the story of saving the ranch site and how all of the artifacts were collected.

The presenters will great us at the Vail Headquarters inside the front arch near Augies Coffee shop.

We will enjoy your pizza from Vail Pizzeria, an onsite business, after the walking tour in the old bunkhouse setting.


Renovation of the Vail Ranch Headquarters Site on the property east of Kohls in south Temecula is complete and a ribbon cutting on July 16, 2016 opened the site to the public. This site, recognized as a California historic site, also eligible for National Historic Registry status, underwent restoration according to the US Department of Interior Standards for Historic Renovation. Paperwork has been drafted to name it as a nationally recognized historic district upon completion.

After many years of handwringing, meetings, a 1998 lawsuit, negotiations, planning, discussions, more meetings, and then, finally, agreements, architectural plans were submitted for county approval and then to the City of Temecula Planning Department about 8 years ago, in 2009.

This was followed by a series of unfortunate events, including change of ownership three times. Each owner was responsible to complete restoration of the historical property and to keep the terms of the legal settlement with historic preservationists, the founders of the Vail Ranch Restoration Association (VaRRA). By the time Arteco, an historic architectural firm, took title to the property the economy tanked and loans were not available to complete the project, so the waiting game continued.

Finally about six years ago, in 2011, Arteco began renovation on the Wolf Store. Since then, they completed work on the rest of the property. Deep trenching, underground work for sewer, fire hydrants, waterline, gas lines, electricity, cable, water drainage, collection of water runoff, and grease traps for future restaurants on the property was all completed.

VaRRA is in the planning and staging phase for historic displays positioned to depict past occupants and usage of the areas. A vintage 1875 hotel room is already completed in a south room of the Wolf Store. An outdoor blacksmith pavilion is planned for live blacksmith demonstrations. VaRRA also plans a display of typical cowboy bunkrooms in the old bunkhouse.

This historical district has received some interest from potential business owners. Augie’s gourmet coffee roasters will share the Wolf Store with A la Minute ice cream vendors. A deli may be going into the bunkhouse. Perhaps a saddle shop will go into the replica of the Mule Barn. There may be a garden behind to supply produce for the restaurants. Vail Pizzeria has opened their doors, serving wonderful pizza. There are a lot of interesting possibilities for this community area that centers around the old Butterfield Trail that transverses the property.

Everyone is invited to come to the property on Sunday afternoons for Family Fun Days. There is a Farmers Market on Tuesdays.

When people band together to work for a common good, projects like this come together.

Speakers’ Bios: Darell and Rebecca Farnbach are the go-to people when you want to know about the history of the Temecula Valley. There was no historical society in the valley when a significant heritage site faced demolition in 1998, so Darell and Rebecca and some other interested friends took it upon themselves to champion the property’s preservation. After learning so much about Temecula history during preparation of their legal case, done without an attorney, they have been instrumental in chartering the Temecula Valley Historical Society, Rebecca has co-authored six books about local history, and Darell is a commissioner on the Riverside County Historic Commission.

Rebecca Farnbach was born, raised and educated in Iowa before coming to Southern California as an adult. She has worked in the eye care field for 38 years, starting as a medical and surgical assistant and presently works an optician at the Temecula LensCrafters. As an advocate for the needy, Rebecca has gone on many eye care missions in Mexico, Central America and to Ecuador. Rebecca chairs the Lions Club sight and hearing charities for the region. She is also a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the San Diego Old Town Gazette, The Californian, Country Review magazine and many other local publications. Rebecca has received numerous writing awards including the San Diego Christian Writers Guild “Writer of the Year”. Eighteen years ago Rebecca started a writers’ critique group that is still thriving and has produced over seventy books.

Darell Farnbach is a fourth generation Californian and has lived in various locations the length and breadth of the state. He has been a hairdresser for over forty years. He served as a typist for the US Army in Germany during the 1960s. His real passions are cars and history. Darell is a hands-on type restoration guy, whether with hair, antiques, cars or artifacts. When Darell teaches third-graders about California’s mission era, he dresses like a ranger and supervises the students digging in mud to form adobe bricks. He has collected, restored, and set up artifact displays in the Little Temecula History Center, a rustic museum a few paces from the historic site he helped to save. He is presently putting finishing touches on the restoration of an 1860s Brougham coach.

Each Sunday afternoon Darell is at the Little Temecula History Center greeting visitors and answering questions about history.

Darell & Rebecca retired in November 2016 and now devote most of their energies to the Vail Headquarters and to the Temecula Valley Historical Society.

Join us for a wonderful presentation of the history of the Temecula Valley on June 15, 2017!!!

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