A History of California’s Great Hemet-San Jacinto Valley

“Down Memory Lane: A Historical Record of People and Events in California’s Great Hemet-San Jacinto Valley,” compiled by Homer D. King in an Anniversary Supplement to the Hemet News on September 15, 1960, offers a detailed and vibrant exploration of this unique area’s past and present. This comprehensive guide is an invaluable resource for genealogists, historians, and anyone fascinated by the intricate web of stories that constitute our collective past.

Published in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of Hemet’s incorporation, this special magazine section delves deep into the valley’s transformation from a fledgling settlement into a flourishing community. Beyond celebrating a milestone, it reflects on the pioneering spirit that drove early settlers to this part of California, the development spurred by visionary capitalists like W. F. Whittier, and the agricultural and economic growth that has characterized the valley over the decades.

For genealogists, this supplement serves as a treasure trove of information, offering insights into the lives of the valley’s early inhabitants, their endeavors, and the legacy they have left behind. From the foundational years preceding Hemet’s official incorporation to the bustling, vibrant community it has become, readers are invited to explore the evolution of the area through stories of its people, landmarks, and significant events.

Featuring a wide array of topics—from the valley’s first theater owner and the historic recall election of 1913 to the pivotal role of agriculture and the enduring charm of local traditions like the Ramona Play—this compilation is more than just a historical account. It is a celebration of community resilience, innovation, and the enduring human spirit that has propelled Hemet and the surrounding areas forward.

As we sift through the pages of “Down Memory Lane,” we are reminded of the importance of preserving our history for future generations. This anniversary supplement not only commemorates a significant milestone in Hemet’s history but also provides genealogists and history enthusiasts with a profound understanding of the area’s cultural and historical significance.

Table of Contents

City’s 50th Anniversary Year, p. 4
Anniversary Year Committees, p. 5
Whittier, Thomas, Crawford, Romero Made History, p. 7
W. F. Whittier as the Hemet Valley Knew Him in 1910, p. 7
American Settlers Began Arriving Here in Sixties, p. 10
Valley’s First Theater Owner Had Popular Daughters, p. 11
Exciting City Recall Election in 1913, p. 12
No Work Horses or Mule Teams Found in Valley Today, p. 14
Victoria Brooke Near Century Mark, p. 15
Remember the Oil Well Fever? p. 16
Barber Shops Were Civic Centers in Good Old Days, p. 18
Life Was Simpler 50 Years Ago, p. 20
Ankrum Gave Hemet Its First Electric Lights, p. 22
Former Jennie Huntoon Came Here Before Railroad, p. 23
Replogles Had Store 33 Years, p. 24
Earl Ballou, Early Days Builder, p. 25
Weston Park …. The Story of Its Trees, p. 26
Dr. Weston Gave Park to City, p. 26
Valley’s Annual Ramona Play, p. 27
The Pioneer Druggist Knew All the Town’s Secrets, p. 28
Hemet’s First Bank, p. 28
Sights, Sounds, Smells of Long Ago, p. 32
Noted Educator, p. 32
Depression Prices, p. 32
Do You Remember? p. 33
Only Fourteen Hemet High School Graduates in 1910, p. 34
Martin Meier, p. 34
High School History, p. 34
Gilman Hot Springs Resort Had Early Beginning, p. 35
City was Starting to Grow in 1906, p. 36
Aunt Ri’s Milk house, p. 36
First Service Club, p. 37
Valley’s First Big Real Estate Deal, p. 37
The Morse Family, p. 37
Many of Valley’s Home-town Boys, Girls Made Good, p. 38
Hemet home of All-American Roses, p. 39
Largest Special Edition in Hemet News’ history, p. 40
Pioneer Tripp Father Brought Three Sons Here in 1869, p. 42
Villa Vista Once Called “Florida,” p. 43
First Telephones, p. 43
First Woman Voter, p. 43
They Decided Los Angeles Didn’t Have Much Future, p. 44
The Diamond Valley Searl Family, p. 46
Hotel Hemet Cost $15,000 in 1893, p. 48
A Man From Kansas, p. 48
Seven Supervisors for Fifth District, p. 49
They Started Ball Rolling, p. 49
Seventeen Men Have Headed Hemet’s City Government, p. 49
She Named it Idyllwild, p. 49
The Wright Family, p. 49
Osteopath 55 Years, p. 49
Winchester Pioneer, p. 49
Riverside County in the Beginning, p. 54
Remember Jack Hopkins? p. 54
The Freeze of 1913, p. 54
Fowler Remembers Paper’s Early Days, p. 55
Thomas Jefferson Rawson Was Colorful Pioneer Figure, p. 57
The First Newsboy, p. 57
Earthquakes in 1899 and 1918, p. 58
Hotel 80 Years old, p. 58
Hemet Packing Company’s Payroll Largest in Valley, p. 59
Presbyterian Church, p. 59
San Jacinto’s Last Lynching, p 60
Soboba Springs Developer, p. 60
Early Blacksmith Shop, p. 60
The 1884 Flood, p. 60
City Engineer Frank Stetson Retires at Age of 83, p. 61
The Great Day Japan Surrendered, p. 62
46 Died in World War II, p. 62
None Killed in Action (WW1), p. 62
Hemet News Founded in 1893, p. 64
Hemet Named A Street for Him, p. 66
Town of Winchester, p. 66
Pioneer Spence Family came in 1889, p. 67
They Gave Their Lives in Second World War, p. 68
Origin of State Park, p. 68
Woman’s Club, p. 69
Vosburg Hotel in San Jacinto Since ’86, p. 71
English Colony, p. 71
Rainmaker’ Hatfield was Here, p. 75
Hemet’s First Mayor, p. 75
Aviation History made in Valley Cow Pasture, p. 78
Bessie Wilson, Nurse, p. 78
Hemet Farmers Fair Annual Event, p. 80
Norman Wilson Hemet’s Seventh postmaster, p. 82
Horse-and-Buggy Doctors of Valley’s Pioneer days, p. 83
The Story of Water in the Valley, p. 84
Valley Landmarks and Memories, p. 84
Arrival of First Airplane Here Great Event in 1913, p. 86
First Fruit Rancher, p. 87
Came from Switzerland, p. 87
Cotton at Winchester, p. 87
Eight County Sheriffs, p. 87
Friend of Whittiers, p. 88
M’Manigal Veteran Railroader, p. 88
Hemet Odd Fellows, p. 88
City of san Jacinto incorporated April 25, 1898, p. 89
$100 an Acre — Back in 1899, p. 89
Jacob Bergman First Saw Future Home in 1857, p. 90
The Great Postoffice Robbery, p. 92
Hemet Rebekahs, p. 93
Clarence B. Covell Was Hemet Banker Over 50 Years, p. 94
City of Hemet and Spauldings Celebrating Together, p. 95
Donald J. Fleming Now Hemet’s Full:Time Fire Chief, p. 96
Pioneer Gibbel Family Came to Hemet 69 Years Ago, p. 97
Hitching Post Days, p. 97
Hemet Before its Incorporation, p. 98


King, Homer D., editor, Down memory lane : a historical record of people and events in California’s great Hemet-San Jacinto Valley, from an Anniversary Supplement to the Hemet News, Thursday, September 15, 1960, Hemet, California : Hemet News, 1960.

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