Welcome to Temecula
Temecula means ‘Place of the Sun’ in the language of the native Luiseño people, who were present when the first Spanish missionary, Father Fermín Lasuén, visited in 1797. In the 1820s the area became a ranching outpost for the Mission San Luis Rey, in present-day Oceanside. Later, Temecula became a stop on the Butterfield stagecoach line (1858–61) and the California Southern railroad.
But it’s Temecula’s late-20th-century growth that’s been most astonishing, from 2700 people in 1970 – the city didn’t get its first traffic light until 1984 – to some 106,700 residents today. Between Old Town and the wineries is an off-putting, 3-mile buffer zone of suburban housing developments and shopping centers. Ignore that and you’ll do fine.