Winchester, The County Seat, Myth or Fact

   For years we have heard the story how Winchester  almost became or was considered for the county seat of  either  the  proposed  San  Jacinto County or the new Riverside County. Was it a fact or just a myth. Well the answer is yes and no. No doubt if there had been a San Jacinto  County  then  San Jacinto would have been the county seat. One can only wonder how things may have been different had this taken place.
  When the legislature decided that the good  people of Riverside could form a county  by taking a portion  of  San  Bernardino  and a  larger portion of San Diego  County it was left to the voters to decide where the new  county seat would be located. The election was held, the votes counted and the results published. Did Winchester get serious consideration? Not really although the town did  get  some  votes. Below is a list of the towns and places receiving votes.
Riverside                             2,140
Menifee                                   45
Perris                                28
San Jacinto                                                     18 
Moreno                            13
Beaumont                                        11
Alessandro                                 6
South Riverside (Corona)                                  5
Hemmett Station(Hemet?)                  3
Winchester                          2
    The following towns or places each had one vote: San Bernardino, San Diego, Eagan (Egan), Box Springs, Elsinore, Browntown de amento, Hyde Park,  Auburndale and Hell. Yes there was a community in the desert called Hell. An interesting sidelight to this is why  Menifee  received so many votes. It appears that someone was willing to donate twenty acres for the new courthouse which was a prime issue in the forming of the county.                                               
    So yes Winchester  was  considered  for  the county  seat,  but  not  real  seriously  as  the  myth  seems  to  indicate.

Winchester  About 1890    
    This picture below was recently lent to us so we could scan it by the Hemet Area Museum Association and through some checking we have found out some facts about it, but some questions
still persist. We have determined that the buildings in the background are the old hotel at the left and the two story brick building to the right of the hotel. Thus this is the intersection of what is now Winchester and Simpson Roads. The brick building was finished in late 1890 and we note the lack of trees. It appears the eucalyptus trees came in about 1890 or 91. Now the burning question. Who are the people in the
picture? The gentleman is wearing a star so we can suppose he is a lawman or Justice of the Peace. The Winchester Justice of the Peace in 1892 was William Haslam. After the forming of the County of Riverside there is no clear picture of who might be behind the star although there were constables and judges in the area. If you would like to see a bigger picture of this go to the following website and click on the picture: 94897B92
    This is another website we came across and including the one we already have we plan to add more to as time permits. This site will be pictures only site and feature many of the photos we just don't have room for on the main website.

Patterson House Museum Update
    Exciting things are happening at the Patterson house these days. All but one window on the bottom floor are in place and all the exterior doors are completed and functional. We found some of the old hardware and our contractor removed all the years of paint and under the paint was some exquisite old designs. The old glass doorknobs were cleaned up and glisten in the light as if they just came off the shelf. We want to thank our contractor Chris Forcier for his marvelous work.
    The other news on the positive side is that we have opened the house up for visitors to admire the house and view some of our history. If you are in the area any Saturday or Sunday (except holiday weekends) from 11:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. stop on by and take a look.
    We will also be having our July meeting at the house on the 19th of July so plan to attend. We meet from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.. Remember to bring your own chairs and also remember we have no restroom facilities yet so its roughing it at its best. 
    On the down side we are sad to report that we are losing our contractor Chris Forcier and we will have to find someone to finish the upper floor. For some reason he found he could no longer afford to be so generous with his services as he was with us, something about eating and paying the bills. We wish Chris only good things in life as he moves north to an area where he can make a living doing what he loves most to do, restoration. Now if you know of a good finish and/or restoration carpenter please contact the society so we might continue to replace the upper floor windows.                      Please click here to continue to the next page.