Lake Elsinore, a small community on the edge.

 

Boat Ramps at North BeachI first came to know Lake Elsinore when my parents drove down on old highway 71 in 1960 to take a look at homes that were just building in the area....Lake Elsinore is in Riverside County as such, many homes built by private residents were simply Mobile homes set down on prelaid concrete slabs, while other condos and apartment buildings were built just like any other in the Inland Empire.

Lake Elsinore was incorporated as a city in 1888 but was inhabited well before then by Ranchers, a few Indians and not more than a few scofflaws escaping from LA......It seems that even today, many people move out to the area to escape there past lives in the ghettos of LA....The lake was once a natural lake fed by springs and small springs coming down from the Santa Rosa hills located just west of the city, where highway 74 crosses over into Orange County and heads for San Quan Capistrano, but because of building and Avocado Trees being planted in the hills, water was diverted for these reasons and the lake went dry in the 1930s......In the early 1960s it was refilled.

The Staduim
Since then there has been a continuous effort to keep it filled with new channels dug and a canal that comes in from the New Diamond Dam in Hemet.....Unfortunately there are no natural springs or small creeks that would allow the water to escape when it fills from heavy winter rains.....The Lake Elsinore Stadium is sometimes surrounded by lake water.....A huge trench was dug along the 15 freeway in the 1990's allowing water to fill away from the stadium and the new shopping centers that have been built along Lake shore drive and the overflow is diverted into the Temescal Canyon Wash. So when flooding occurs the lake overfills joining with all the septic tanks built very close to the waterline.....In the 18th century when the lake was natural it provided a spot for Spanish ranchers and American trappers to replenish their supplies....It was named Elsinore after the Danish city in Shakespeare's "Hamlet".

Lake Elsinore was a popular destination in the first half of the 1900s for celebrities to escape the urban Hollywood scene.....Many of their homes still stand on the hills surrounding the lake, including Aimee's Castle, Douglas Fairbanks, Red Skeleton and Red Buttons were all reported to have retreats on the northern part of the lake.
Like many other large geographical cities, Lake Elsinore is divided into several smaller communities, such as: Downtown, Canyon Hills, North Lake Elsinore (Northshore), Tuscany Hills, Rosetta Canyon (Ramsgate), NorthPeak, Countryclub Heights, Alberhill (Ranch), Eastlake (Summerly), La Laguna Estates and its general area also includes portions of Wildomar, Cleveland Ridge, Lakeland Village, Sedco Hills, Canyon Lake, Horsethief Canyon and the Temescal Valley.

It can take as much as 20 minutes to drive from one side of the city limits to another, on highway 74....But in more recent years, Canyon Lake and Wildomar have voted for city hood.....The other areas are nothing more than golf courses and gated communities....Canyon Lake is a guard gated community, but it has several shopping districts, its own post office, and fire and local Riverside Sheriffs patrol the area.

Lake Elsinore Diamond served as a site for the semi-pro football team, the Riverside-Elsinore Dolphins of the Western States Football League in 1996-98.....The stadium now hosts the Banning-Elsinore Eagles of the California Football Association, a minor American football league....Every time they play the Cucamonga Quakes, they get their collective butts kicked.....It may host the Murrieta Bandits, a professional soccer team in 2007, despite the team's office is based in Murrieta.

Lake Elsinore Marketplace opened in 2006 provided much needed retail commercial center for the city residents. Some of the stores recently added to the Marketplace are, Lowes, Costco, Staples, Bed Bath Beyond, and Petsmart to name a few.....To the south and west of the city, large areas of commercial development has gone in with some internationally know businesses locating to the areas.

Sky diving at south lake center near the airport
The City's Visitors Bureau has also been making efforts to expand tourism in the area, however a lack of lodging, particularly in Brand Name Lodging prevents the city from capitalizing majorly.....Prior to 2006 there were no Brand Name Hotels, and even today only one exists in the city limits, The Quality Inn, although steps are being taken to attract such brand name hotels......Both Best Western and Holiday Inn have announced they are building new hotels in the city.

Gary Hall, the ghostpainter

Comments

I recall in the mid 40s, my sister and brother in law lived in Elsinore a stone throw from the lake and it smelled so bad there as the lake had a lot of sulfer in it. You could not drink the city water as it tasted terrible. I understand it was refilled after a bunch of the sulfur springs were plugged. I do remember going through there in the late 40s and the bugs plastered your windshield. Haven't been through there in many years.

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