Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ramona Epic #19: The Wolf Store

(GPS: N33 28.750 W117 05.995)

"Hartsel's was one of those mongrel establishments to be seen
nowhere except in Southern California. Half shop, half farm, half
tavern, it gathered up to itself all the threads of the life of the
whole region. Indians, ranchmen, travellers of all sorts, traded at
Hartsel's, drank at Hartsel's, slept at Hartsel's. It was the only place
of its kind within a radius of twenty miles; and it was the least bad
place of its kind within a much wider radius."

While Ramona is at the cemetery, Alessandro is trying to sell his violin at the Hartsel store. Alessandro had lived nearby and does sneak by his home that is now occupied by new residents. He gets to the store and talks to Mrs. Hartsel since Mr. Hartsel cannot speak with him. She ends up loaning him some money and tells Alessandro to come back the next day to sell his violin.

The only store that fits the description and would have been the place in old Temecula for commerce like this is the Wolf Store. This store is still around, but is currently fenced off along with a bunch of other buildings in the area. The area is currently listed as being in the process of being restored. All I could do with look over a fence to view the buildings. The Wolf Store is the one on the right.

Louis Wolf had his store built sometime in the 1860's and was the main place for commerce in Temecula until 1905. The following picture was taken around 1890.This is what it looks like today. It is the oldest building in Temecula that is still around.One thing I was puzzled by was the landmark sign on the building. That is what a California historical landmark (CHL) would look like. On zooming in I saw that it said, "Treaty of Temecula." I was puzzled by this since I did not know of any CHL around here. From what I remembered from reading, the treaty was not signed at this store, but across the way in a place no longer around. I'll come back to this down below.I do not know anything more about the other structures in the area. Whether they go back as far as the Wolf Store I do not know.At some point in the future, this area is supposed to open up to the general public. I hope they can get the resources to get this done.This is another area that the modern shopping stores have built around. Although enough area has been separated to make this look like part of the old world.

The Wolf Store (Youtube Version)

The Wolf Store (Vimeo Version)

A few links you can check out:

The Wolf Store (and restoration) mentioned on the Vail Ranch site

The Wolf Store (Wikimapia): this shows you where it is at

Louis Wolf and His Store

When I got home I did a few searches on that Treaty of Temecula plaque I saw. The only thing I could find was an old Desert Magazine (January, 1966) article that shows it.
Like I said earlier, from what I have read, this treaty was not signed at the Wolf Store, but some other nearby place. It was a treaty signed by a few of the local tribes, but rejected by the U.S. Senate. I am sure you can search "Treaty of Temecula" to find out more of the history on this one.