Local museum celebrates first year, showcases Canyon Lake history


This Sunday, May 21, the Menifee Valley Historical Museum will be celebrating its one year anniversary. The museum is celebrating this milestone with food, refreshments, museum tours, children’s activities and book signings from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Canyon Lake is an area that was always considered part of Menifee Valley until the development of Canyon Lake. The museum is possibly the closest thing Canyon Lake will ever have to its own museum and something Canyon Lakers will appreciate touring.

Canyon Lake residents and museum docents, Don and Elinor Martin, will be hosting a special exhibit on the history of the Canyon Lake area.

Elinor’s family history is Canyon Lake’s history. In 1890, Elinor’s grandfather Henry Evans settled at the east end of what is now Canyon Lake. Her great- grandfather J.B Ferrell was the first recorded land owner of the Audie Murphy property. Six generations of his descendants still live in the surrounding area.

Elinor’s parents operated a fishing resort in Canyon Lake for 30 years. Back then, the area was known as Railroad Canyon Lake. In 1968, the Temescal Water Company developed the private community of is now known as Canyon Lake.

Elinor, the president of the Menifee Valley Historical Association, has been preserving area history for many years. In 1970, she penned the book “Images of America: Canyon Lake.” Copies of Elinor’s book and vintage Canyon Lake postcards will be for sale at the museum.

For the anniversary celebration, Don and Elinor put together a special exhibit about Canyon Lake for it’s resident to view that day only. “There will be a lot of information about Canyon Lake and albums of photos, including one on the history of Fiesta Day that dates back to the first Canyon Lake Fiesta Day,” said Elinore.

“We have also doubled the size of the Native American exhibit, added one new one, enhanced other exhibits and changed some artifacts in our display cases.”

Those who are unable to attend Sunday’s celebration can tour the museum on any Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The museum gives free private tours for parties of 10 or more on other days.

The Menifee Historical Museum is located in two rooms of the former Menifee Elementary School at 26301 Garbani Rd., Menifee.