Local museum showcases Canyon Lake history


Menifee Valley Historical Museum celebrated its one year anniversary on Sunday, May 21, with food, refreshments, museum tours, children’s activities and book signings.

For the celebration, Canyon Lake residents and museum docents, Don and Elinor Martin, hosted a special exhibit on the history of the Canyon Lake area.

Elinor is the president of the Menifee Valley Historical Association and has been preserving area history for many years. In 1970, she penned the book “Images of America: Canyon Lake.”  She is also the co-author of the book “Images of America: Menifee.”

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.

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 said the celebration was a success. “We had a great turnout. About 30 families came from Canyon Lake,” she said. In addition to the exceptional turnout, the museum received a mortar and pestle donation from Canyon Lake residents Cy and Ora Peterson.

Those who were unable to attend the celebration can tour the museum on any Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Private tours for parties of 10 or more are avilable on other days. Admission is free.

The museum is located in two rooms of the former Menifee Elementary School at 26301 Garbani Rd., between Murrieta Rd. and Evans Rd.

Elinor Martin stands next to a display that showcases her family history in the area.

One of the special exhibits the Martins hosted on the history of the Canyon Lake area.

The museum has several display cases filled with artifacts from the valley’s early history.