Local author and Temecula historian Rebecca Farnbach greeted visitors with her winning smile to share Temecula history on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Promenade Temecula’s Barnes and Noble bookstore.
“This is the sixth book I’ve written on the history of this area and with my co-authors Loretta Barnett and Jeffrey Harmon, we’ve really worked together to create something uniquely Old Town,” said Farnbach, one of the founding members of the Vail Ranch Restoration Association.
The authors signed books, discussed area history and reveled in the release of the long-awaited work.
“We have had clients asking for historical books on Old Town Temecula and are thrilled to be able to have this on our shelves, said Regina Reese, Community Relations Manager of Temecula’s Barnes and Noble Booksellers. With the Christmas season just beginning, the bookstore brimmed with shoppers browsing stacks for gift books and new release.
The trio of authors signed books on the same day of the Temecula Genealogical Society meeting with a portion of the sales going to fund that organization.
“It’s a perfect way to support our history and spread knowledge about the way Old Town used to be,” Farnbach said.
This is also the first opportunity a published work of area history has enjoyed the blessing of the Pechanga Band of Lusieno Indians and Tribal Chairman Mark Maccaro, according to the authors.
“Chairman Maccaro and Lisa Woodward inspected the final draft of this book and gave approval, for which we are grateful,” Barnett said.
The book’s introduction contains images of sacred landmarks of the Luiseno tribe, as well as a description on what the area means to the Pechanga.
Harmon added, “Many of the photos included in this book have never been seen prior to this publication.”
Barnett, Harmon and Farnbach spent much time over Farnbach’s kitchen table, organizing photos and reviewing the most pertinent elements of Temecula history.
“Each page tells a story — from the darker side of murder mysteries to the building that has served as everything from a saloon and biker bar to a church,” Farnbach said.
With other titles focusing on “Temecula,” ” Murrieta,” “Murrieta Hot Springs,” and “Wine Country,” Farnbach proudly showed how each page of this collective work showcases the history and many faces of Old Town through the years.
Many locations are still in existence behind the storefronts of present-day restaurants and gift shops.
“It’s exciting for visitors to see how much Old Town has changed through the years, especially now,” Farnbach said.
All three authors acknowledge that may changes have taken place in Old Town’s master plan since the late 1990s.
“We drove my daughter through Old Town recently and she said in that nine-year-old honest way, ‘You can hardly call it Old Town anymore, with all the buildings looking so new.’ This book preserves those memories,” Harmon said.
“Old Town Temecula” is available at Barnes and Nobel, selected shops in Old Town , as well as the Temecula Museum and Temecula Little History Center.
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.