The following information was provided by the Menifee Valley Historical Association. Its mission is to identify, preserve, and promote the historic legacy of the Menifee Valley.
In the early 1880s when the early settlers arrived in what is known today as Menifee, there was only one main road called “the Road to San Diego.” Eventually, when it was decided there should be “proper roads,” some of the local men started to lay out the roads on the section lines, as getting from point A to point B would save time. These roads appear every mile since one section is exactly one square mile.
Over time, it became necessary for these roads to have a name. Many of the roadways were named after the families residing in a particular area. As late as the 1940s, residents referred to these roadways by the family names and not the ones you might see today in Menifee.
While there are some pretty common names for some of Menifee’s streets, other roadways were named after people or families particular to the City of Menifee’s history and culture.
While not documented, Antelope Road most likely got its name because the roadway went to the Antelope School and the area was known as Antelope. In 1891, Antelope School was at Scott and Antelope Road. Since the Antelope and Menifee Schools were landmarks, they were often used when giving directions to your home. (A person might live two miles south of the Antelope School, etc.)
Newton Bradley worked on the Newport Ranch in the 1900s. His home was on what is now Evans Road, just south of Garbani Road. Bradley was an Antelope School Board Trustee and served many years.
Briggs Road was named for the Briggs Family. In 1894, J. Watts Briggs discovered gold within half a mile of the Leon post office. The mine was located at Garbani Raod and Briggs Road.
Bundy Canyon Road
Bundy Canyon Road was named for the Joseph Bundy family who came from Iowa in 1883. For a time, Joseph and Martha Bundy and their two sons, Orange and Emmor, lived in a tent under the oak trees a few miles up the canyon. Bundy Canyon was called the “Y” by locals since you were either going left to Murrieta or right to Elsinore.
Ethanac Road was named for Ethan Allen Chase. He owned 1200 acres of land in the area and it was dedicated to growing alfalfa. The Southern California Railway (later known as Santa Fe) right-of-way was constructed along the northern boundary of his property with a train station and post office constructed in 1900.
The town faded away after the water had been diverted by the Temescal Water Company from Ethanac to Corona in 1920 when the water levels in Ethanac’s wells lowered and the water became more and more saline.
In 1925, the Ethanac post office was discontinued and moved to the other side of the railroad tracks and highway to the newer community in Romoland.
Evans Road was named for Henry Evans, who arrived in Menifee in 1890. His 100-acre property was located on the southeast corner of Garbani Road at Murrieta Road where the Menifee Middle School and Menifee Historical Museum are now located.
In 1915, Henry Evans served as Riverside County Road Foreman for the Menifee District. Henry and Ella’s son, George “Dewey,” raised three daughters on Antelope Road, south of Scott Road. They operated the Evans Fish Camp at Railroad Canyon Lake for 30 years. Four generations of Evans have lived in Menifee.
Holland Road was named for the Holland families who lived on the east side of Menifee Valley.
Haun Road was named for Lee Haun whose home was on Haun Road just north of the Antelope-Menifee Rural Center. Haun worked for the Riverside County Road Department in the Menifee District.
Leon was an early name given to the area from Antelope Road to Winchester Road, and Newport Road to Scott Road. A post office was established in 1888, seven miles southwest of Winchester and sixteen miles southeast of Perris in the home of Emil Plath, the first postmaster. It is assumed the postmaster’s full name was Emil Leon Plath.
Lindenberger Road was named for the two Lindenberger families who arrived in 1887. They built their homes on the east side of the road and named their property “Olive View” after a large grove of olive trees they planted on their property. F.T Lindenberger was instrumental in helping to form Riverside County.
In 1923, the McCalls left their turkey ranch in Colorado with $100 and set out for California in a red Buick Sedan with their three children. The rough trip took 11 days. They camped out along the road each night and wore out many tires on the Yuma Plank Road.
Fred McCall arrived in Menifee in 1924 and acquired a 1,000-acre ranch property, which was roughly bounded by Lindenberger Raod, Newport Road, McCall Road, and Menifee Road.
McCall primarily grew potatoes and beets. He served on various local farm service organizations and, for 12 years, served on the County Hospital Board and Planning Commission.
In 1954, Fred was elected to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors representing the Fifth District. He served nine years until his passing in 1963. Both his sons followed in his footsteps. Floyd became a county supervisor and Lloyd served as school board president in Romoland and Hemet.
Since 1924, four generations of McCalls have lived in Menifee.
Luther Menifee Wilson was born in Kentucky in 1842. By the time he was 18, he was living away from home and worked for the railroad. He made his way to California sometime before 1870 and found work as a miner in Kern County.
In 1879, Wilson was a hotel keeper in Ivanpah, a small silver mining town located in the Mojave Desert. He was employed at the local mines in the area, and it was there he improved his skills at prospecting for gold. His prospecting ventures led him to the Menifee area.
In 1883, after the initial discovery of a gold-bearing quartz ledge near present-day Holland Road and Murrieta Road, Wilson filed a claim with the San Diego County Recorder’s office for his “Menifee” mine. Government survey maps of the time included labels depicting the Menifee Mining District. The area was then being referred to as the Menifee Valley.
Newport Road was named for one of Menifee’s prominent landowners, William Newport Newport arrived in Menifee in 1887 from England with his wife Mary. His ranch was located between Newport Road and Sun City and covered 2,000 acres of wheatland. He built a substantial ranch house and two large barns. He raised fine horses, mules, and Berkshire hogs.
Scott Road was named after Rev. William Scott. His property, Scott Acres, was on the eastern border of the valley near Winchester.
Wickerd Road was named for Isaiah Wickerd, who came to Menifee from Michigan. He bought a large parcel of land north from Scott Road to Wickerd Road and west of Bradley Road to Evans Road.
Wickerd gave land to family members, who later gave land to their sons. David Wickerd had 12 children and John Wickerd had eight. The entire area became known as “Wickerdville” in the early days.
Zeiders Road was named for Walter Zeiders. In 1909, 23-three-year-old Walter Zeiders left his home in Pennsylvania and headed west on his motorcycle with a friend. He eventually arrived in San Bernardino with $17 in his pocket. After finding his way to Menifee, Zeiders worked on the Newport Ranch.
Zeiders married Frances Evans, daughter of Henry and Ella (Ferrell) Evans. They raised three sons: Cecil, Leslie, and Merle. Five generations of Zeiders continue to live in Menifee.
This 3,000-acre property was acquired in 1891 by Charles Cooper in association with a group of Los Angeles area bankers connected with the Farmers and Merchants Bank. For years, it was held as a game preserve for the hunting of quail, cottontail rabbits, and doves.
In the 1920s, most of the land was sold to investors who began developing a project they called “Lake Elsinore Lodge” and included a clubhouse, tennis courts, equestrian stables, and a large swimming pool called “the plunge.”
In 1947, the property was renamed Quail Valley Country Club by Cooper’s son to honor his father. He fenced the property and added a guard gate front entrance and organized parades and events for residents and guests of the resort community.
By 1970, the Country Club and its amenities were no longer in use.
The Romoland community began as Romola Farms in 1924. Small Ranches of four to five acres were offered for the cultivation of fig trees.
The Menifee Valley landscape didn’t change much until about 1957. Richard Rand, a land developer who hoped to promote a planned community called Randsdale, purchased the Newport Ranch. A small motel and office were as far as his plans progressed.
A few years later, Del Webb arrived. The concept of an active retirement community was something new and Mr. Webb had just opened one in Arizona. He started looking for reasonably priced land in Southern California to develop another in Sun City.
Webb started buying large parcels from Rand and other farmers in Menifee Valley. He ended up buying 14,000 acres from Scott Road north to Ethanac Road for $500-$900 an acre. Grading was started in December 1961 with a projected opening date of June 1962.
The Kings Inn, a new motel and restaurant, was constructed on the corner of Bradley Road and Cherry Hills Road. When the June opening arrived, the Civic Center was in place, along with model homes and the golf course seeded and soon to be playable. The shopping center opened shortly afterward, and local residents were happy to have stores closer to home. Soon, all the amenities were finished, and residents began to embrace their new lifestyle.
For more Menifee history, visit the Menifee History Museum located at 26301 Garbani Road. The museum is open on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free
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