With the dawning of a new year we can proudly say that a new roof for the Patterson house is completed. A crew removed all the old roof down to the original redwood beams. The roofers told us there was no sign of any dry rot which was fantastic news. New sheeting was applied and a 25 year roof was applied. We were also pleased to learn that the job was done below the projected estimate and so we have funds available to start on the replacing of windows. This task will require a lot of new wood so we will be looking for a person to do restoration on the windows. We hope to go to bid by the end of January. Additional funds have been donated which will help us go forward. Those who contributed to the roofing fund will be sent a special page of color pictures in token for their generosity. We did also manage to keep some of the old shingles to add to our collection of artifacts from the house. Also preserved were bricks from one of the chimneys. At a future date the 3 chimneys that have fallen will be restored.
The Winchester Ranch
By Stella Davis Van Note
When my husband, Van, and I traveled through-out California where we enjoyed wandering the back roads soaking up the local history. We discovered deserted ranch houses, tilted barns with stacks of moldy hay, signs flapping with the owners name barely visible in faded letters, and buildings hidden in tangled berry vines. Who might have lived there? Where did they go? Are there families who still remember? Do their ghosts visit nightly?
A few days after the Domenigoni Parkway south of the town of Hemet was dedicated, all those travels, all those deserted buildings came back to me. As we drove the beautiful new highway I visualized a dusty road in a different time and I wondered if others, as I had don, would see a few scattered trees, some cement slabs, tall stand pipes and scattered telephone poles against the hill and would they question, "Do you think someone lived there? I wonder where they are and if they ever drive this way."
In 1924 mother, dad (Bert and Vera Davis), and I returned to Southern California after living in the Bay Area for about five years. Where California Avenue now dead ends at Domenigoni Parkway, we drove through the entrance to a large ranch which was to be our home.
Overhead in bold letters a sign read The B & L Ranch, later to become the Winchester Ranch.
The dusty road was busy with workers hauling fruit. Apricot trees nestled at the foot of the hills and extended to the east and the west. We were greeted at a large shed by my great grandparents, Will and Susan Davies, who were in charge of the dry yard. Women sat at long tables cutting and pitting apricots and placing halves on large trays. The field where the trays of fruit were spread to dry resembled a large orange quilt.
As we approached the ranch house we saw tents among the trees where the fruit workers were camped. It was lunch time and we joined others on the porch at a long table loaded with food. I caught names at the table as my folks were introduced: Frenchie, Shorty, Fat Max, and Big Ed. I wanted to be outside where there were exciting things to do so I ate and asked to be excused.
Grandad gave me strict instructions, "Don't go near the bunkhouse and stay off the hill."
I later learned that Frenchie, one of the ranch hands, had been bitten by a rattlesnake while hunting on the hill.
I discovered big horses with soft velvet noses, new kittens, a chicken pen full of red hens and a loud rooster, fat pigs, and fresh fruit on every tree. Daddy was busy getting acquainted and learning details of his new job. Unpacking and learning her new responsibilities kept mom occupied. Evening came and we were all tired. Tomorrow we would wake to a new life, a new adventure.
Each time I drive the Domenigoni Parkway I know there will be more memories.
Question: Does anyone know who Originally planted the fruit trees on the Old Winchester Ranch?
(Editors note: Upon reading this at our last historical meeting Helen Rheingans commented that she worked one year cutting apricots at the ranch mentioned in this article.)
We would like to thank all those who contributed to our cause last month. We do not list names of contributors here but be assured each gets a thank you note from the society. One interesting one we will pass on to you though. Someone sent us 3 books of stamps, the self adhesive type, and this is exactly the amount we need for one months mailing. If you would like to do this it will be greatly appreciated.
Historical Tidbits From Our Past
04/27/1893 The farmers feel that their cup would be full if it would rain immediately.
04/27/1893 Brown & Alcorn are making the dirt and rock fly on their large dirt contract.
04/27/1893 "Oft in the silly night" the gentle zephyrs wafted the beautiful strains echoed fort from the Pleasant Valley Brass Band early Tuesday evening. This was the first open air concert the band has given and to say our residents were agreeably surprised would be but poorly expressing their judgement of the music rendered. The boys are making excellent progress and certainly deserve success. Come out again boys.
04/27/1893 Frank Dent returned from Redlands and vicinity Monday evening. He reports Redlands the liveliest place in Southern California--- except of course, Winchester.
05/04/1893 Charlie McEuen is one of the "devils" in the Winchester Recorder office at present.
05/04/1893 A. Domenigoni returned from Switzerland the first of last week, where he went on business a few months ago.
05/04/1893 Wm. Haslam, M. G. Alcorn and B. W. McEuen went to Riverside on legal business Saturday.
05/04/1893 Geo. M. Pearson went to Sacramento a few days ago for the purpose of securing a surveyor's license, and from late word it is learned that the same has been granted him.
05/04/1893 At the meeting last Friday the board of Directors let a contract to Brown & Alcorn for 600 feet of rock work near F. L. Loveland's place. Another contract was let to Chas. Moody---one half mile of ditch across the Rice place.
05/11/1893 Misses Sadie and Jennie Case left for Chicago to attend the World's Fair, Saturday morning. While absent from Winchester they will visit Lincoln, Nebraska.
05/11/1893 Haying has fairly begun---everywhere can be seen machines harvesting the large hay crop.
05/11/1893 P. Milliken has purchased a tread power thresher with which to thresh his magnificent grain crop.
05/11/1893 W. S. Haslam has enlarged his fine residence in East Winchester by constructing a porch and kitchen.
05/11/1893 The Winchester school closes next Friday.
05/11/1893 The proprietor of the Pioneer blacksmith and wheel wright shop, owing to the increased amount of patronage, has found it necessary to put in another forge, which means another workman.
05/11/1893 McEuen Bros. Have completed a mile of their contract and are rapidly pushing forward the work of the remainder.
05/11/1893 Hans Christensen shipped two carloads of barley Monday. He says his crop is looking fine.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
See any detour as an opportunity to experience new things.