10 Best Historical Landmarks in Temecula

If you are traveling to Temecula for your surgery, then you should consider booking a few extra days to visit some of these beautiful landmarks.

June 7, 2021

5 min read


Did you know that Temecula is at the heart of southern Californian wine country? The history of Temecula Valley’s mild climate and picturesque rolling hills have attracted Californian natives and visitors alike for decades.

If your family or friends are having surgery at the Advanced Institute for Plastic Surgery, don’t worry about being stuck in the office. You can explore this vibrant and exciting community while your loved one gets the treatment and care they came for. While Temecula bursts with restaurants, shops, galleries, and much more, the history of this community will surprise you.

There are plenty of things to do in Temecula to appease all tastes. Don’t know where to begin or what to see first? Read on to discover the top best historical landmarks you must visit when you’re here. 

A Brief Temecula History Lesson

If you’re coming to the Advanced Institute for Plastic Surgery, you may have a general sense or knowledge of the Temecula community. Temecula is a southern Californian city, located in Riverside County. The closest airport is Santa Ana.

But for more flight options and international flight arrivals, choose, San Diego or Los Angeles. Temecula city is a resort and tourist destination.

For many visitors, the most popular draw is the wineries. While Temecula remains known for its Valley Wine Country and independent producers and vineyards, there is a historic side to this town most don’t know about. 

A Luiseño Indian Heritage 

Did you know that the Temecula Indians inhabited the land since 900 AD? This tribe was the oldest known population in the area. The Temecula Indians’ tribe namesake still identifies Temecula today.

In fact, Temecula comes from the Indian meaning” “place of sun.” In California, Temecula is the only city that has maintained its original Indian name. So, when you visit this land, you have the opportunity to see an Indian past that you won’t find anywhere else across the state. 

Spanish Arrival 

The Luiseño Indians remained in Temecula until the 1700s when the first Spanish settlers arrived. The Spanish influence brought Christianity and a new wave of European influences to this tribal land. 

A Changing Tide 

By the 1800s and 1900s, settlers developed the land. And more American settlers started moving to the west coast in search of more work and better opportunities.

In 1882, a national rail service launched to connect Temecula to San Diego. This helped attract settlers and bring more work to the Temecula Valley. During these years, settlers created cattle and agriculture businesses and laid the wine industry foundation that visitors see today.

Small But Rich in History and Experiences

With a little more than 130,000 residents, Temecula is a small and intimate city with an interesting past that is waiting for you to explore. Want to know more in-depth? Let’s dive into the Temecula attractions you need to see and experience. 

1. Temecula Valley Museum 

If you want a cultural, historical, and artistic experience, look no further than the Temecula Valley Museum. Permanent exhibits offer the history buff a more up-close look at Temecula’s story and people of the past. Don’t miss the key exhibits that showcase the Luiseno Indians, Mission San Luis Rey Period, and progression of the ranch lifestyle.

The kids will love the Children’s Touch History Exhibit. They can step back in time and have fun playing pretend. Your children can play and “cook” meals on an 1800s era stove, sell fabrics in a dress shop or pretend to be the proprietor of Temecula’s historic mercantile store. 

And whenever you’re in town, the museum always updates exhibits. So be sure to check out the website for interesting exhibits that catch your eye. 

2. Temecula Duck Pond & Veteran’s Memorial 

This is a beautiful and intimate natural reserve where visitors can pay respects to war veterans. Take the family and enjoy a relaxing stroll in nature as you watch adorable ducks bob up and down in the water. And, be sure to visit the important memorial dedicated to those who served the United States across many wars.   

3. Gonzalez Adobe 

Gonzalez Adobe is the oldest standing structure in the Temecula Valley. Jose Maria Gonzalez constructed the building in 1879. Gonzalez Abobe once stood on a 60-acre ranch.

Gonzalez was Riverside County’s first tax collector. You can find Gonzalez Adobe on Jefferson Street. 

4. First National Bank of Temecula 

The First National Bank of Temecula opened in 1914. The bank was the first building in the city that used concrete. The First National Bank operated until 1943.

Today, enter the bank building, and you won’t find tellers or see money vaults. But, you might spot a few servers and margaritas. Today, the bank is a Mexican restaurant!  

5. Old Town Temecula 

Strolling Old Town Temecula is like taking a step back in time. The city’s best attractions, shops, restaurants, and galleries are in an easily walkable downtown area.

You can imagine the past as you stroll by western-style buildings, dig for precious antiques, or admire the facades of a time gone by. Whether you prefer to shop, grab a bite to eat, or dance to live music, Old Town offers just the activity to suffice any interest.  

6. The Mercantile Building 

Today, the Mercantile Building is the entrance to the Temecula Community Theater. But, in the 1800s, the building served as the community shop for basic home goods, hardware needs, and much more.

Philip Pohlman constructed the Mercantile Building with money he won in a lottery! It was the first brick building constructed in Temecula. 

7. Erle Stanley Gardner Residence 

Do you know the Perry Mason Murder Mysteries? Then, the name and famous series writer Erle Stanley Gardner may ring a bell. Gardner created and wrote more than 130 mysteries.

Those mysteries were adapted into a television series that ran for more than 270 episodes! And, many motion pictures were created based on Gardner’s work. For example, the Case of the Howling Dog which premiered in 1934 was one of the most famous motion picture adaptations. 

Gardner lived in this home from 1937 until he died in 1970. Visiting the residence is a great opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown. Just cruise along Pechanga Parkway to reach the residence and explore the rural land. 

8. St. Catherine’s Catholic Church 

This was Temecula’s first church building. St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, constructed in 1917, moved from its original location to where it stands today in Sam Hicks Monument Park. Today, the church functions as a wedding chapel to support the Temecula Valley Museum. 

9. The Pujol School House 

Have you ever enjoyed old-time movies like Little House on the Prarie? Can’t you just imagine the schoolhouse images where children gather at the call of the bell and shuffle into a charming schoolhouse? Imagine that same historic scene when visiting the Pujol School House.

The school opened in 1889. And although it was not the first school in the Temecula Valley, it was the first to serve Old Town. Over the years, the building moved locations two times.

The last move, in 1986, still marks the current spot today. While the building opened as a school for many years, in 1915, it became the only Protestant church in Temecula. Today, the building and property belong to the Temecula Community Church.  

10. The Welty Hotel 

The Welty Hotel is not open to the public. But, it is still worth a drive-by while exploring other attractions in Temecula. Local historian Horace Parker and his wife Leverne purchased the hotel in 1960. Since then, it has operated as their private residence. 

But in the past, the Welty Hotel was owned and operated by the Welty family for more than 30 years. The building was one of two hotels built by R.J. and Mary Jane Welty.

Although the Welty’s originally had two hotels, their first property disappeared in a fire. That is why the Welty Hotel was constructed. And today, that construction continues to stand the test of time with new ownership. 

These Temecula Attractions Can Inspire Your Next Adventure 

For a small city, Temecula has a lot to offer. For the history buff, there is no shortage of interesting sites, museums, and attractions.

These sites can give you a sense of this area’s interesting and complex history. If you want time to rest and recover post-surgery, don’t feel guilty about leaving your family and friends around the office or hotel. This city has a lot of exciting activities to keep everyone engaged and occupied.

Do you have questions about your procedure or treatment at the Advanced Institute for Plastic Surgery? Or, would you like to schedule an appointment or consultation? Get in touch and submit your request

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