Volume 2 Number 1April 1997

Happy Anniversary ... It Has Been A Year
Newsletter Starts Second Year of Publication

   April, the month that brings us spring flowers, a sense of renewal and of course the dreaded tax man. In our case it is the start of the second year of publishing the PLOUGHSHARE & PRUNING HOOK. Thanks to the continued support of people and some fund raising we have been able to bring this newsletter out each month.
   At present we mail out 50 copy's each month and leave an additional 100 in the community. We hope you enjoy this endeavor to bring some of the history of Winchester to you. If you would like to help keep this newsletter going with any type of contribution you may do so by contacting the historical society.

Old Water Tower To Be Torn Down
   An old water storage tank house minus the tank is being removed by the property owner due to its condition. We took a look at it in hopes of moving it to the Museum property and rebuilding the structure. The idea of doing this is not feasible. However the design of the wood is very unique and if anyone is interested in some for a special project please contact the historical society . {Note this tank was torn apart in 1998 by our contractor for the restoration of the Patterson House in hopes we could use the wood later.}

Winchester And Valle Vista
by Mary E Whitney

   Winchester and Valle Vista, located on the extreme western and eastern edges of the San Jacinto Valley, share a great deal in common, historically. Foremost in their historical commonality is their beginnings under other names.
   The 3,000 acre area which eventually included the town of Winchester was originally named Pleasant Valley and was settled early by the Robert Kirkpatrick family and Swiss immigrants Gaudenzio Garboni and Angelo Domenigoni in the late 1870's. These and other early homesteaders acquired their lands from the railroad and U S government. In 1886-87, the land encompassing the one square mile town of Winchester was plotted and divided into lots by J G Miller and Amy Winchester with five to forty acre lots surrounding the town. As growth occurred in and around the town, the entire area slowly became known as Winchester.
   Valle Vista, also located within a 3,000 acre area, was the brain child of a group of investors who formed a corporation called the Fairview Land and Water Company in 1886 after they had acquired the tract when the Rancho San Jacinto Viejo was partitioned in 1882. When first plotted, the investors named their town Florida, hoping that eventually it would become the "Orange Centre" of the west. Unfortunately, when attempts were made to establish a post office in the town of Florida, the U S government would not allow a town to have the same name as a state. As events unfolded, especially related to their association with people living in Winchester, the Fairview Land and Water Company founders changed the name of their little town in 1895 from Florida to Valle Vista.
   The similarity  in their beginnings also extended to the social and religious practices within each community. Each possessed a hotel. Hotel Winchester was a two story wooden structure built in 1880, and according to the September 27, 1892 edition of the Winchester Recorder, "the hotel will reopen September 30th after being thoroughly renovated and repaired and under new management with no Chinese help." This ad further stated that hot and cold baths were free to guests. The Fairview Hotel, a three story brick structure completed in 1888 was surrounded by tropical greenery
and magnolia trees, and according to the July l, 1889 issue of the San Jacinto Register, was renamed the Florida Hotel in 1892.
   For a time the two communities also shared the same pastor. Reverend Irving R Lovejoy served as pastor of the Winchester Methodist Episcopal Church in 1888 after the church building was completed in 1887. Also in 1888, Rev. Lovejoy organized the Florida Methodist Episcopal Church, preaching there periodically after the small church building was constructed on Fairview Avenue.
   One glaring entity that the two communities did not share, although at first the people in Florida thought they would, was the existence of a railroad. Winchester was founded on the right hand side of the California Southern Railroad tracks, a branch of the Santa Fe, when they were laid from Perris to Pleasant Valley in 1887. The founders of the town of Florida anticipated that they too would share in the railroad, convinced that the tracks would be laid to their development before they went northwest to the town of San Jacinto.
   Unfortunate for the people in Florida, the people in San Jacinto were more concerned about making money selling right of ways to the railroad company than they were about the town of Florida having a railroad. Fed up, railroad officials would have no part of spending extra dollars for expensive right of ways or for an impractical, longer route to the town of San Jacinto through the town of Florida. Their decision was also reinforced by Francisco Estudillo who donated 27 acres to the railroad for a depot site, located one mile northwest of the town of San Jacinto. Consequently, after the tracks were laid through Pleasant Valley, the line took the most economical route to San Jacinto, bypassing the community of Florida entirely. Two interesting outcomes were that the town of San Jacinto relocated closer to the railroad depot, and the community of Hemet was plotted around the tracks at a point where they turned north toward the Estudillo depot donation.
   The article above is the first part of special writing Mary Whitney has done for this newsletter. Next month we will feature more of the article. The next segment will be talking about water issue and its development. Mary Whitneys book "Fortune Favors the Brave" may be found at the Hemet Public Library. Copies of it may also possibly be found for sale at the Hemet Area Museum Association. If you would like a full copy of this article without the waiting please send $5.00 to the Winchester Historical Society of Pleasant Valley at the address on page one.

Historical Tidbits From Our Past
02/16/1893 Rev. I. R. Lovejoy and family went to Murrieta the first of the week for a few days to visit with friends in that place.
02/16/1893 Another inch of rain fell last Friday. Crop prospects for the farmers in this vicinity are unusually bright.
02/16/1893 Contracts for the construction of four miles of ditch has been let by the Board of Directors. In a few months times a ditch line from the Griffin system to Winchester will be finished.
02/23/1893 The Pleasant Valley brass band was organized last Tuesday evening with ten charter members. Regular practices will be immediately begun.