Ramona Country, Then and Now

California History, Spring-Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

Ramona Country, Then and Now


TEMECULA

Ramona's Temecula

"'Is it a large town?' asked Ramona.

Alessandro sighed. 'Dear Senorita, it is not a town; it is only a little village not more than twenty houses in all, and some of those are built only of tule. There is a chapel, and a graveyard. We built an adobe wall around the graveyard last year. That my father said we would do, before we built the fence around the village.'

'How many people are there in the village?' asked Ramona.

'Nearly two hundred, when they are all there; but many of them are away most of the time. They must go where they can get work; they are hired out by the farmers, or to do work on the great ditches, or to go as shepherds; and some of them take their wives and children with them. I do not believe the Senorita has ever seen any very poor people."'

--Ramona, p.121

Temecula Today

In 1875 the local Luiseno Indians living in the Temecula valley were evicted from their land. Ten years later the Pechanga Indian Reservation was established near downtown Temecula, a federal reservation of Luiseno Indians. The reservation now has a population of 467, with an adjacent population of 305.

Today 67,000 people live in the wine country of Temecula. Visitors can experience Old Town Temecula, a representation of the town that existed when Temecula was a stop on the Butterfield Overland Stage Line and when it was home to the seventh post office in California. Old Town Temecula was also the site of the Ramona Inn, a building now occupied by an antique store and deli.

SAN PASQUAL

Ramona's San Pasqual

"When they [Ramona and Alessandro] rode down into the valley, the whole village was astir. The vintage-time had nearly passed; everywhere to be seen were large, flat baskets of grapes drying in the sun. Old women and children were turning these, or pounding acorns in the deep stone bowls; others were beating the yucca-stalks, and putting them to soak in water; the oldest women were sitting on the ground, weaving baskets. There were not many men in the village now; two large bands were away at work,-one at the autumn sheep-shearing, and one working on a larger irrigating ditch at San Bernardino."

--Ramona, p. 243

San Pasqual Today

Twelve miles from Escondido, the San Pasqual Band of Indians, affiliated with the Kumeyaay Nation, lives on a federally recognized reservation of 1,400 acres of land in Valley Center. The people of San Pasqual are known as the Kumeyaay-Ipai and Northern Diegueno Indians. The reservation is home to a nationally recognized community center and fire station and is in the process of building a new educational center, a new upgraded water delivery system, and permanent cultural displays in surrounding communities.

SAN JACINTO

Ramona's San Jacinto

"It was a wondrous valley. The mountain seemed to have been cleft to make it. It lay near midway to the top, and ran transversely on the mountain's side, its western or southwestern end being many feet lower than the eastern. Both the upper and lower ends were closed by piles of rocks and tangled fallen trees; the rocky summit of the mountain itself made the southern wall; the northern was a spur, or ridge, nearly vertical, and covered thick with pine-trees. A man might roam years on the mountain and not find this cleft."

--Ramona, p. 309

San Jacinto Today

Every year 400 actors, singers, dancers, and horsemen come together in Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley for three weekends to perform the Ramona Pageant at the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater. Since 1923 the Official California State Outdoor Play has entertained thousands of visitors with this unique production based on Ramona. …

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