By Bill Zimmerman
Special to Valley News 

History program tells of first pioneers of Menifee Lakes

 

Last updated 4/2/2018 at 9:45am

Courtesy

Descendants of the Kirkpatrick family join board members at the newly installed historical monument.

Many residents are familiar with the Menifee Lakes community, one of the area's first single-family residential neighborhoods which was built in the 1980s by the Lusk Company. Located on the east side of Interstate 215, the community includes shopping plazas, a regional park and the Mt. San Jacinto Community College campus.

At a recent free program, local historians revealed that the land was also one of the first in the Menifee Valley to be claimed under the Homestead Act in the early 1880s. Guests listened to narration that accompanied a slide presentation filled with photos of the Kirkpatrick family, their Victorian-style home and early aerial imagery showing the family ranch. Robert Kirkpatrick and his sons staked out available land on the south side of today's Newport Road. They hauled lumber by wagon from San Jacinto Mountain to construct a dwelling and began farming their newly acquired land. Today, an elementary school on Menifee Road is named in honor of Callie Kirkpatrick, the matriarch whose nine children were raised here.



Local historian Betty Bouris shared firsthand memories of the sprawling ranch when its wire fences contained amber waves of grain. The Bouris family leased and farmed the Kirkpatrick and McCall properties after Del Webb bought up 14,000 acres of Menifee farmland in 1960. Slideshow photos also depicted scenes of the Menifee Lakes groundbreaking ceremony by developer John D. Lusk, who purchased the land in 1979.

When the Saturday morning program was about to begin, members of Menifee's Historical Association saw descendants of the Kirkpatrick family arriving to attend the program. Some had driven from south Orange County and as far away as Lone Pine to hear about their ancestors' lives in Menifee over 100 years ago.

After the program, the Kirkpatrick descendants joined historical association board members at the recently placed monument honoring the family. The monument is placed at the Callie Kirkpatrick Elementary School. Menifee Union School board members Bob O'Donnell and Jerry Bowman joined the group to celebrate the occasion.

For more information about Sun City's history, visit http://www.menifeehistory.com or the Menifee History Museum, which is open Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Admission is free.

 

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