History of Menifee Roads
In the early 1880’s, there was only one main road called “the Road to San Diego” when the early settlers arrived in what is known today as Menifee. Eventually, when it was decided there should be “proper roads” some of the local men started to lay out the roads on the section lines, as getting from point A to point B would save time. These roads appear every mile, since one section is exactly one square mile. Overtime it became necessary for these roads to have a name, and the roadways were named after the families residing in a particular area, if it was possible. As late as the 1940s, residents referred to these roadways by the family names and not the ones you might see today in Menifee. While there are some pretty common names for some of Menifee’s streets, others roadways were named after people or families particular to the City of Menifee’s history and culture.
We invite you to take a look at the list below, that offers some familiar names and a few surprises with Menifee’s history.
- While not documented, Antelope Road most likely got its name because the roadway went to the and the Antelope School and the area was known as Antelope
- In 1891 Antelope School was at Scott and Antelope Road (Now Albertsons shopping center).
- Since the Antelope and Menifee Schools were landmarks, they were often used when giving directions to your home. (A person might live 2 miles south of the Antelope School, etc.)
- Newton Bradley worked on the Newport Ranch in the 1900’s. His home was on what is now Evans Road, just south of Garbani Road.
- Newton Bradley was an Antelope School Board Trustee and served many years.
- Named for the Briggs Family, in 1894 J. Watts Briggs discovered gold within half a mile of the Leon post office.
- The mine was located at Garbani and Briggs Road.
- Named after the Joseph Bundy family who came from Iowa in 1883.
- For a time, Joseph and Martha Bundy with their two sons, Orange and Emmor, lived in a tent under the oak trees a few miles up the canyon.
- Bundy Canyon was called the “Y” by locals since you either going left to Murrieta or right to Elsinore.
- Named after Ethan Allen Chase, who owned 1200 acres of land in this area and it was dedicated to growing alfalfa.
- The Southern California Railway (later known as Santa Fe) right-of-way was constructed along the northern boundary of his property with a train station and post office constructed in 1900.
- The town faded away after water had been diverted by the Temescal Water Company from Ethanac to Corona in 1920 when the water levels in Ethanac’s wells lowered and the water became more and more saline.
- In 1925, the Ethanac post office was discontinued and moved to the other side of the railroad tracks and highway to the newer community in Romoland.
- Named for Henry Evans, who arrived in Menifee in 1890.
- His 100 acre property was located on the southeast corner of Garbani at Murrieta Road where the Menifee Middle School and Menifee Historical Museum is now located.
- In 1915, Henry Evans served as Riverside County Road Foreman for the Menifee District.
- Henry and Ella’s son George “Dewey” raised three daughters on Antelope, south of Scott Road. They operated the Evans Fish Camp at Railroad Canyon Lake for thirty years. Four generations of Evans’ have lived in Menifee.
- Named for the Holland families that lived on the east side of Menifee Valley.
- Named after Lee Haun, his home was on Haun Road just north of the Antelope-Menifee Rural Center
- Lee Haun worked for the Riverside County Road Department in the Menifee District.
- Leon was an early name given to the area from Antelope to Winchester Roads, and Newport to Scott Roads.
- A post office was established in 1888, seven miles southwest of Winchester and sixteen miles southeast of Perris in the home of Emil Plath, the first postmaster. It is assumed the postmaster’s full name was Emil Leon Plath.
- Named for the two Lindenberger families that arrived in 1887.
- They built their homes on the east side of the road and named their property “Olive View” after a large grove of live trees they planted on their property.
- F.T Lindenberger was instrumental in helping to form Riverside County.
- In 1923, the McCall’s left their turkey ranch in Colorado with $100 and set out for California in a red Buick Sedan with their three children. The rough trip took 11 days. They camped out along the road each night and wore out many tires on the Yuma Plank Road.
- Fred McCall arrived in Menifee in 1924 and acquired a 1,000-acre ranch property which was roughly bounded by Lindenberger, Newport, McCall and Menifee roads.
- He primarily grew potatoes and beets. Fred served on various local farm service organizations. He also served 12 years on the County Hospital board and Planning Commission.
- In 1954 Fred was elected to Riverside County Board of Supervisors representing the Fifth District. He served nine years until his passing in 1963.
- Both his sons followed in his footsteps. Floyd became a County Supervisor and other son Lloyd served as School Board President in Romoland and Hemet.
- Since 1924, four McCall generations have lived in Menifee
- Luther Menifee Wilson was born in Kentucky in 1842. By the time he was 18, he was living away from home and worked for the railroad. He made his way to California sometime before 1870 and found work as a miner in Kern County.
- In 1879, Wilson was a hotel keeper in Ivanpah, a small silver mining town located in the Mojave Desert. He was employed at the local mines in the area, and it was there he improved his skills at prospecting for gold. His prospecting ventures led him to our area.
- In 1883, after initial discovery of a gold-bearing quartz ledge near present day Holland and Murrieta roads, Wilson filed a claim with the San Diego County Recorder’s office for his “Menifee” mine.
- Government Survey maps of the time included labels depicting the Menifee Mining District, and the area was then being referred to as the Menifee Valley.
- Named for one of Menifee’s prominent land owners, William Newport arrived in Menifee in 1887 from England with his wife Mary.
- His ranch was located between Newport Road and Sun City and covered 2,000 acres of wheat land. He built a substantial ranch house and two large barns and raised fine horses, mules and Berkshire hogs.
- Named after Rev. William Scott. His property, Scott Acres was on the eastern border of the valley near Winchester.
- Named for Isaiah Wickerd who came to Menifee from Michigan. He bought a large parcel of land north from Scott Road to Wickerd Road and west of Bradley Road to Evans Road.
- Isaiah gave land to family members who later gave land to their sons. David Wickerd had 12 children and John Wickerd had 8 children, thus this entire area became known as "Wickerdville" in the early days.
- All of Isiah’s decedents attended the Antelope School.
- Named after Walter Zeirders who in 1909, twenty-three-year-old Walter Zeiders left his home in Pennsylvania and headed west on his motorcycle with a friend.
- He eventually arrived in San Bernardino with $17 in his pocket. After finding his way to Menifee, Walter worked on the Newport Ranch.
- He soon met and married Frances Evans, daughter of Henry and Ella (Ferrell) Evans. They raised three sons – Cecil, Leslie and Merle.
- Five generations of Zeiders’ continue to live in Menifee.
This 3,000 acre property was acquired in 1891 by Charles Cooper in association with a group of Los Angeles area bankers connected with the Farmers and Merchants Bank. For years it was held as a game preserve for the hunting of quail, cottontail rabbits and doves. In the 1920’s, most of the land was sold to investors who began developing a project they called “Lake Elsinore Lodge” that included a clubhouse, tennis courts, equestrian stables and a large swimming pool called “the plunge”.. In 1947, the property was renamed Quail Valley Country Club by Mr. Cooper’s son to honor his father. He fenced the property and added a guard gate front entrance and organized parades and events for residents and guests of the resort community. By 1970, the Country Club and its amenities were no longer in use.
The Romoland community began as Romola Farms in 1924. Small Ranches of four to five acres were offered for the cultivation of fig trees.
The Menifee Valley landscape didn’t change much until about 1957. Richard Rand, a land developer who hoped to promote a planned community called Randsdale, purchased the Newport ranch. A small motel and office were as far as his plans progressed. A few years later, Del Webb arrived. The concept of an active retirement community was something new and Mr. Webb had just opened the one in Arizona. He started looking for reasonable priced land in Southern California to develop another Sun City. Webb started buying large parcels from Rand and other farmers in Menifee Valley. He ended up buying 14,000 acres from Scott Road north to Ethanac for $500-$900 an acre. Grading was started in December 1961 with a projected opening date of June 1962. The Kings Inn, a new motel and restaurant was constructed on the corner of Bradley and Cherry Hills Road. When the June opening arrived, the Civic Center was in place, along with model homes and the golf course seeded and soon to be playable. The shopping center opened shortly afterwards, and local residents were happy to have stores closer to home. Soon, all the amenities were finished, and residents began to embrace their new lifestyle.
Thank you to the Menifee Valley Historical Association for this information. Please visit the Menifee History Museum, which is open Sundays from 1 to 4pm. Admission is free.
Also visit the Menifee History Website or call them at (951) 708-6842 for inquiries.