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Murrieta (Images of America)

In the 1870s, the Spaniard Juan Murrieta and his business partners found green pastures for their sheep in the Temecula Valley, where Native Americans had lived for centuries in southwestern Riverside County. The Spaniards owned 52,000 acres consisting of two Mexican land grants, the Temecula and Pauba Ranchos, until the partnership dissolved. Murrieta stayed on his 1,000-acre ranch until 1884, when he sold his land to a developer who named the new town site Murrietaville. Two years earlier, the Southern California Railroad opened a line into the Temecula Valley. In 1900, a girl named Hale Sykes was born. With her box camera, she documented the growing town as she saw it from her home in the Fountain House Hotel across the street from the Murrieta Train Depot. In the 21st century, the city of Murrieta numbered more than 85,000 residents.

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