THE PERRIS VALLEY
By Mrs. TV. H. Ellis
To study the history of Southern California, so full of legend and romance, one naturally asks the question,
when he pauses to look into the history of Perris valley, does it have any legends; could a web of romance be woven
into its early history The writer of this article has been led to believe by some that it was here that Helen Hunt
Jackson laid the scenes portrayed in the closing chapters of her famous book "Ramona." One good pioneer
assumed the writer he personally knew every character introduced into the story. Then there are the "doubting
Thomases" who urge that no mention of the people or places described in the story are entwined in a true historical
sketch of the Perris valley. But Helen Hunt Jackson was not alone among the literary lights who saw and appreciated
the beauties of the hill encircled Perris valley, for it was the gifted Mrs. Churchill who portrayed its sublime
beauty in "Purple Hills" that brought her fame and fortune; and Joaquin Miller has told in dreamy poetic
fashion the story of the days of outlaw chivalry.
It is not the intention of the writer to enter into minute details, or paint a creation of fancy that would lead
to erroneous ideas, but to record in a plain practical manner the story of "Brave Little Perris."
The Perris valley is astable land ranging from 1,300 to 1,500 feet above the level of the sea, while the city of
Perris has an altitude of about 1,110 feet.
The valley is located in latitude thirty four, being on the identical parallel that passes through the sunny hills
of Southern Spain. It is in the heart of that portion of Southern California called the "citrus belt,"
in Riverside county. It was in San Diego and San Bernardino counties until 1893, when Riverside county was formed,
the dividing line being a little north of the Schneider school house. Perris is seventy five miles southeast of
Los Angeles, one hundred miles north of San Diego, twenty five miles south of San Bernardino, and seventeen miles
from the orange groves of Riverside.
This valley was included in the San Jacinto Subranta grant, or was generally known in the early days as the San
Jacinto plains, which term included all that level body of mesa or table land lying between Box Springs canyon
and the Temecula valley, a territory about thirty miles square, which has since been given different names by settlers,
such as Perris, Diamond, San Jacinto, Menifee, Pleasant, La Belle, Paloma and Los Alomas valleys, although properly
speaking, the entire area of tillable land spreads out in a broad, level belt from the foot of Box Springs mountains,
stretching away to the southeast around the mountain spurs and ridges that form but slight geographical divisions.
Many of the boundaries are purely imaginary. The San Jacinto river runs in a southwesterly direction through the
southern portion of the territory known as the Perris valley, which is from six to ten miles in width from foothill
to foothill, and eighteen miles in length.
Commencing at the northwest corner of the valley, near Box Springs, the boundary between the Perris and the San
Bernardino valleys is marked by a range of low, broken granite hills extending eastward until merged into the plateau
known as Cajon pass, a natural gateway into this region lying between the snow covered peaks of San Jacinto and
Grayback. These peaks stand like Titanic sentinels guarding the less romantic and sublime works below. The valley
proper extends for a distance of ten miles along the range of low hills, that portion lying farther to the east
being called the San Jacinto valley. Another range of higher hills forms a natural division of these valleys and
terminates in a lofty, rugged granite pile known as Twin mountain. To the southward it extends, together with the
Menifee country and plains of Leon, to the crest of hills forming the walls of Temecula valley. On the west a low
line of hills first breaks the level expanse, and after an abrupt rise of one hundred feet or thereabouts there
is a mesa two miles or more in width, known as the Mountain Glen country, beyond which rise in rugged outline the
picturesque Temescal mountains and gold bearing hills of Gahilan.
Prior to the year 1880 the Perris valley, or San Jacinto plains, as it was then called, was a treeless desert;
great bands of sheep roamed at will over the level country, and Mexican miners worked the rich gold deposits in
surrounding hills. Before the plowshare had broken a foot of soil on the San Jacinto plains it was known as a mining
country. Prospectors tramped over ridge and ravine and staked off claims in every direction. Fifty years ago a
flourishing camp existed in the Gabilan country, and the Mexicans for many years made a living by mining, although
their methods were primitive, and fully one half of the precious metal was lost in its journey from the shining
quartz bed to the sheepskin dust bag of the miner.
Evidences of a prehistoric people exist, and Indian relics are numerous. Among the latter may be mentioned stone
mills, almost identical with those described in the Bible, used by the Indians to pulverize maize. These are quite
numerous and consist of shallow bowl shaped depressions in the face of flat boulders, and smooth oblong rocks which
were held in the hand; the mode of operation being similar to that now employed by apothecaries in compounding
drugs with mortar and pestle.
In the year 1880 a pioneer named Copeland located a claim about three miles north of where the city of Perris is
now located. About the same time the Frazees located on land near Twin mountain. These were the first families
who made permanent settlements in the valley. A few settlers came the following year, J. H. Banks being among them.
Mining and "dry farming" now began to attract the outside world to this section, and people began to
come in and settle on claims. In 1882 came Mr. and Mrs. Henry W. Aikin and settled on a 160 acre tract in Menifee.
Mr. Aikin is a native of Wisconsin and Mrs. Aikin is a native daughter. They are the oldest pioneers living in
the valley. When they staked their claim not a tree was to be seen growing in the valley. In November, 1882, they
left their home in Los Angeles county for Menifee, the party consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Aikin, a year old babe,
Mrs. Aikin's sister, Miss Mary Lee, and a young man by the name of Shoemaker They traveled with a canvas covered
wagon, bringing what farming implements they could. They were two days making the trip, camping over night on the
plains between Pomona and Riverside.
The next morning they drove a few miles to the river, where the horses were watered and the party breakfasted.
While preparing breakfast, Mrs. Aikin climbed up to get something out of the wagon, and in stepping backward to
the ground she took hold of an iron rod and in some way her wedding ring was broken. No doubt this was taken by
the young wife as a peculiar omen.
When they started on again, a hard north wind was blowing, so Mr Aikin fastened the canvas curtain down in front
of the wagon, and they saw nothing of the country through which they were passing until they reached the top of
the Box Springs grade. The wind had cleased blowing, so the curtain was raised, and the San Jacinto plains stretched
away before them, a barren plain with rocky hills. You can imagine the disappointment of the young wife, who had
pictured a valley, surrounded by rolling hills, covered with live oak trees. To her it seemed hardly fit for a
When the party neared the Copeland ranch, a man came running toward them beckoning. When they had driven near enough,
he told them an old man had been killed in a well they had been digging, a large bucket of rock and dirt having
fallen on the old man while working down in the well. Mr Aikin and Mr. Shoemaker went at once to his assistance.
Mr. Aikin took half of the windlass rope and by means of it climbed down into the well, which was about forty feet
deep. The old man, whose name was Abe Reed, was not killed, but very badly hurt. They brought him out of the well
and put him on a moving machine, which Mr. Aikin was trailing behind his wagon, and after making him as comfortable
as possible they took him to his own cabin a few miles farther on. He asked them to drive to Pinacate station and
tell his sister inlaw, a Mrs. Reed, about his accident.
When they reached Pinacate they found the Hickey and Reynolds families celebrating the wedding of Prico Hickey
and Miss Mattie Reynolds. Miss Mattie Reynolds was the sister of A. W. Reynolds, who still lives in the Perris
valley. Leaving Pinacate they drove on a few miles farther south, and on the close of Thanksgiving Day reached
the place that for many years was to be their home.
The writer can well imagine the loneliness of the days and nights that followed their coming into this seemingly
desert land. No doubt the young wife bore it bravely, all for love's sweet sake love for her husband and the baby
boy. That baby now is a successful business man in Los Angeles, the city of his mother's birth.
In 1882 also came Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Nance, with their baby daughter Evelyn, natives of Tennessee. No history of
Perris or Perris valley could well be written without frequent mention of J. W. Nance Having lost his health in
the Mississippi valley on account of malaria, he went to the mountains of his own state, but receiving nothenefit,
he came to San Diego, Cal., in June, 1882, and stayed there for three months without any improvement. He then went
to Los Angeles and there found himself much worse. Then he traveled all over California, seeking a place that would
benefit his health, when his physician, a Dr. Worthington of Los Angeles, suggested that he needed a dry climate
and high altitude. Acting on this advice he came to Riverside, and in talking with a merchant there, J. R. Newberry,
he was told that the place he was looking for was the San Jacinto plains, but that he didn't suppose he could live
there, as nothing but a jackrabbit could. He came to this desert plain, where nothing but a jackrabbit could live,
and when he saw the fair mountain valley he bought 200 acres of land, paying $1 and giving a mortgage back for
$1,999 and went to farming. Was it not a brave and courageous wife who could come with a sick husband and a baby
daughter of but a few months, into a treeless mountain valley, with a capital of $1 down? They went to farming,
sowed the ranch to barley and harvested two and one fourth tons of hay to the acre and sold it for $22.50 per ton,
making $4,000 from the first crop. Their place was paid for, and in the years following they increased their holdings,
and for many years they continued to live in Perris and were associated in nearly every enterprise for the upbuilding
of the place.
In 1882 the California Southern Railway was built from San Diego to Colton, and it was then that the settlers began
to dot the plains with cabins. The hopeful expectations from this road, however, were doomed to disappointment.
It had no direct eastern connection, and there was much opposition from other sections, so that travel over it
was practically nil. As a climax, the winter of 1882 and '83 was a very dry one, and the crops failed on all unirrigated
lowlands. Finally, early in 1884, most of the railroad in Temecula canyon and Santa Margarita was washed out by
a flood, having been built too low by eastern engineers who did not understand the requirements of the Pacific
coast climate. It took something like nine months to replace the road and restore traffic, and even then very dull
times continued. But even though the railroad was not a paying investment at that time, its coming through the
Perris valley meant the beginning of permanent settlements there.
It was not long before the demand for a postoffice and general supply store became urgent, and in the winter of
1882 L. D. Reynolds, father of A. W. Reynolds of Perris, located a claim. He built a house 10x12 and bored a well
119 feet deep, hoping to secure artesian water, but bedrock was encountered at that depth and work ceased. He was
appointed postmaster, and the new settlement was named Pinacate (Pin-a-car-tee), taking the name of the gold mines
near by, which were then running night and day, and employing a force of twenty men. The California Southern railway
had a box car on a side track, and dignified it by calling it the "station." The trade of the miners
and increasing settlement led to the establishment of a store by Albion Smith, and a saloon was the next enterprise
to be launched. Pinacate was now dignified by the title of "town," and bade fair to become a busy little
city. A Texas surveyor, A. Jul. Mauermann, arrived about this time, and after securing land near the "station,"
laid out the town site.
The railroad company had put down a switch, a commodious hotel had been erected by Mr. Mauermann, trade was on
the increase, and Placate was catching the first pulse waves of the great Southern California boom, when trouble
arose over the title to the land upon which it was located. Albion Smith, the storekeeper, filed a contest on the
land held by Postmaster Reynolds, which affected all property in the townsite except that owned by Mr. Mauermann
At this juncture several settlers in the central and northern part of the valley conceived the idea of starting
a new town. Among these settlers were J. H. McCanna and F. H. Carpenter, and after some agitation, they succeeded
in interesting a number of San Bernardino business men in the project. So it came about that Dr. I. W. Hazlett,
Dr. S. G. Huff, W. R. Porter, J. P. Hight, James E. Mack, Frank Volk, T. J. Forthing and W. J. Guthrie, all of
that city, made a proposition to the railroad company to donate a large number of lots, build a depot, and sink
a well, if the railroad company would remove the sidetrack to a point two miles north of Pinaeate. Fred T. Perris
of San Bernardino, chief engineer of the railroad company, favored the proposition, which was soon accepted, and
the new town was named in his honor. In the month of April, 1885, the switch was taken up and moved from Pinaeate,
and the new station was declared by the general manager of the California Southern Railroad to be the stopping
place for all trains, all the history of Perris dates from that period.
The new town was mapped and platted by E. Dexter and surveyed into lots and blocks by George A. Doyle, in December,
1885, and January, 1886. J. H. McCanna, in 1886, built the first store, now owned and occupied by M. L. Mapes with
his general merchandise stock. The Town Company gave Mrs. Albion Smith, a former resident of Pinacate, two lots,
on which she built, in 1886, the Hotel Perris. The Perris Pharmacy, in the Sharpless Block, is now located on these
lots. Mrs. Smith was appointed postmistress, with Frank H. Carpenter, deputy. Mr. Carpenter owned a general merchandise
store; L. D. Reynolds moved from Pinacate to the new town, and James E. Mack and John H. Banks opened a real estate
office. About this time J. W Nance and George B. Knight opened a land office, and Charles E. Gyger, now of Los
Angeles, E. E. Waters and O. G. McEuen embarked in the same business. Mrs. B. Bernasconi built the Southern Hotel
in 1886, and has continued to run it ever since. J. A. Peron opened a hardware store, and for many years was engaged
in that business. C. E. Gager was the first telegraph operator at the new station. Mr. McCanna opened his grocery
store and business became lively. In November, 1886, H. Stephens Erman issued the first number of the Perris Valley
Leader. One year later the paper was sold to Julius C. Rieger and Edmund L. Peebles. Mr. Rieger came to Perris
in 1884 and took up 160 acres of government land, on which he built a house and barn and planted trees and shrubs
and made other improvements. He stayed on the ranch a year, when he formed a partnership with Mr. Peebles and purchased
the Perris Valley Leader. He published the paper for one year, when he sold out and afterward purchased an interest
in the firm of Mapes & Coppel, which firm was then running a fine grocery and provision store, giving up one
front corner to the postoffiee.
During the fall and winter of 1887 and 1888 the town doubled in population. Drs. Perry and Sherwood opened a first
class drug store. Dr. Perry, now of Los Angeles, who was a descendant of Commodore Perry, came to Perris in 1887.
He was a practicing physician in Chicago, but having serious throat trouble, came to California in December of
1887. He improved greatly in health and heartily recommends Perris valley as a very healthful place to live.
F. M. Coppel, now a practicing physician in Illinois, and M. L. Mapes, in 1887, bought the store of F. H. Carpenter,
Mr. Carpenter entering the real estate firm of C. E. Gyger & Company. Mr. Coppel was the second postmaster
to be appointed in Perris, with Mr. Mapes as deputy. Mr. Mapes and Judge Vermason afterwards owned this postoffice
store, while now Mr. Mapes is sole proprietor.
This same winter Hook Bros. & Oak built a large two story brick and iron building and put in a complete line
of general merchandise. In the fall of '87 Ora Oak was looki g over Southern California for a place to engage in
business. After considering the merits of the many new places that were starting in California at that time, he
returned to Oakland most favorably impressed with San Jacinto. In San Francisco he met Joseph F. Hook, an old acquaintance,
who was also desirous of exchanging city for country business, so they went to San Jacinto with the intention of
going into business there, but real estate values were so high they came to Perris instead. Here they bought property
in January, 1888. In February and March they built their store, and in April the Perris Valley Supply Company's
general merchandise store was opened for business. In May, A. W. Hook came up from his ranch in Sierra Madre, and
J. F. Hook returned from San Francisco, where he had gone to dispose of his business. In August of the same year
they bought lot 2, block 3, which made them owners of all available land in the railroad Y, thus securing valuable
warehouse property. From the start they grasped the idea of what Perris needed in the way of a general supply store,
and they were successful beyond their highest expectations. The men who made up the firm were hard working, pushing
men, who do business on the live-and-let-live basis, and not only have their eyes open to their own interests,
but also to the interests of the community in whieh they live. Ora Oak is now located in Colton, while J. F. and
A. W. Hook still continue in the business, which has grown to such proportions that they now have a large department
store besides the store in block 3.
C. D. Bevier bought a lot on Main street and the land company gave him another. He moved his stables from Pinacate
and started the first livery in Perris. He also built the brick building now owned and occupied by the Hook Bros.
In time all the business places in Pinacate were moved to Perris and other lines of business were started. The
Perris Valley Bank opened August 11, 1890, with James Patterson, Jr., as cashier. A meat market opened in 1888.
Mesdames Banks & Norton supplied the needs of the gentle sex in the millinery line, as also did Mrs. J. C.
Reynolds. There were blacksmith shops, one saloon, a boot and shoe shop, and the only Chinese resident was Gee
Lee, the laundryman. There were several contractors and builders in Perris, among them T. M. Mott, A. L. Broch,
F. T. Merritt, J. R. Moore, Harry McCanna, M. A. Penny, Charles S. Haag, B. Gardener and B. M. Velzy. Mr. Schmutzler
was a first class painter who lived in the north end of the valley on a fine ranch, but was always on hand when
his services were needed.
This Perris valley was an exception to the general rule in Southern California, inasmuch as it always kept ahead
of the town in matters of development. The few scattering elaims of 1884 soon grew to hundreds, and every section
of level government land in the valley was loeated. Alternate sections belonged to the Southern Pacific Railroad
Company, under the terms of the land grant, and these were eagerly purchased by homeseekers. A majority of the
settlers came into the valley because they were poor and could not afford to pay the speculative prices asked for
land in better known localities, and it was only the wonderful fertility of the soil and its adaptability to grain
culture that enabled the settlers to make a living and improve their homes. Every rancher who had the will to work
and manage gained ground year by year, and each season was marked by some improvements. The board shanties gave
place to substantial frame houses, trees were planted and the ranches gradually assumed a homelike appearance.
Little orehards and vineyards were set out and industriously cultivated by the thrifty settlers, wells were bored
and windmills set up, and thus water was secured for irrigation in a small way. During this period the business
of the valley had enormously increased. A branch line of the Santa Fe Railroad was built through the valley, from
Perris to San Jacinto, a distance of twenty miles, and great quantities of barley, wheat and rye were marketed
yearly. Large shipments of gold ore from the adjacent mining country, and wool from the sheep ranches added to
The first white child born in Perris was Lucy Renuia Kingston, now Mrs. Ray Small of Riverside. Mr. and Mrs. John
Kingston, with their little daughter, Grace, came from Illinois to Perris, February 28, 1886. Mr. Kingston had
come to find a place where he might regain his health, but within six weeks from the arrival of the family in Perris,
on the 9th of April, a few hours after the birth of the baby girl, Mr. Kingston died. A few months later Mrs. Kingston,
with her two little girls, went to her Eastern home, but was soon obliged to return on account Of her own health.
She reached Perris the second time May 8, 1888, her father and mother returning with her. Miss Grace Kingston is
now a most efficient bookkeeper in the George N. Reynolds Department store in Riterside, and Mrs. Kingston is now
Mrs. M. L. Mapes of Perris.
It must be admitted here that Mathew Lutz was the pioneer settler near the townsite. He came here to work on the
railroad, and liked the country so well that he took up a claim and became a resident. When the Kingston family
arrived the first time the only trees in or around Perris were to be found at the Lutz home about a mile north
of town on the Riverside road.
Another pioneer to be mentioned in the history of the valley is William Newport, a rancher in Menifee. Mr. Newport
was born in England in 1856. He came to this country in 1876, and came to Perris valley in 1885 and purchased 2,000
acres of land. When he moved to Menifee, although a young man, he resembled the patriarchs, as there were twelve
wagons in his train, loaded with implements, provisions, lumber, and his cook house on wheels was a building 9x18
feet. He found the valley very dry, and inhabited only by a few poor people; but poor as they were they pitied
the young man who, as they thought, was to make a failure of farming. After unloading the caravan he built a good
ranch house and two large barns, and began farming his 2,000 acres, nearly every foot of which was tillable Could
you see this same ranch today you would find a beautiful home presided over by a dignified, queenly wife, who was
Miss Katherine Lloyd, also a native of England. There are four fine, manly boys, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Newport,
and one daughter, Katherine. The house is filled with many luxuries and interesting curios, and the grounds about
the place are large and beautiful. Mr. Newport has been a most valuable factor in showing what can be done with
land in that section when properly handled.
For years it was believed that irrigation was unnecessary upon the greater portion of Perris valley lands. Trees
and vines made a good growth without water, save that which fell during the rainy season, but when the trees and
vines reached a bearing age they produced little or no fruit. It became apparent that lacks of water was the cause
of barrenness, for the average trees picked out in an orchard and plentifully watered made a bounteous yield, while
those on dry land, a few rods distant, would be barren. One by one the advocates of "dry farming" began
to discover they were mistaken. About that time the sentiment in favor of irrigation became so strong that public
meetings were held, and it was decided to form an irrigation district under the Wright act. Many obstacles were
encountered. however, and it was not until about a year and a half that the boundary lines were definitely established
and the work of organization was begun in earnest. And this brings us to perhaps the most important period in the
history of Perris and the valley, the bringing in of the Bear Valley water and the results following its being
The Perris Irrigation District comprised 13,000 acres of land, and was organized by order of the board of supervisors
of San Bernardino county, on May 20, 1890, under the provisions of an act of the legislature of this state, entitled,
"An Aet to provide for the organization and government of irrigation districts, and to provide for the acquisition
of water and other property, and for the distribution of water thereby for irrigation purposes, approved March
7, 1887." This act is familiarly known as the Wright act. By an order of the board of supervisors the district
was divided into five divisions, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. An election was held in the district May 20, 1890,
to fill the various eleetive offices, namely: Five directors, one for each division or precinct of said district,
and a treasurer, collector, and assessor. The following were elected to fill these offices. Directors - J. W. Nance,
first division; Israel Metz. second division; George P. Oakes, third division; W. F. Warner, fourth division; C.
T. Gifford, fifth division. Officers - D. G. Mitchell, treasurer; H. N. Doyle, assessor; and Julius C. Rieger,
On June 13, 1890, the board of directors organized by electing J. W. Nance, president and Dr. W. F. Perry, secretary.
The question of water supply was the question before the directors, and the entire board resolved. itself into
a committee of investigation to ascertain the most reliable, and at the same time the cheapest water supply.
To facilitate matters O. G. Newman of Riverside and James Taylor of Pomona were selected as advising engineers.
On the 17th day of June They left Perris to examine all available and known water sites of the San Jacinto mountains,
such as Lake Hemet and the proposed works of the Soboba Water company, on Indian creek. On July 3rd they left Perris
for Redlands, from which point they proceeded up the Santa Ana canyon to the summit and to Bear valley to examine
the Bear Valley dam and reservoir. It was while standing on that magnificent piece of masonry and looking over
the vast expanse of water that they mutually agreed that it was the safest, best and most feasible system of water
supply yet examined, and further agreed that if it could be had at a satisfactory cost the Perris valley lands
should have no other. The Bear Valley reservoir at that time was the largest irrigation reservoir in the United
States, and plans were then on foot to enlarge it, which would so increase its capacity that it would be the largest
of any kind in the world.
O. G. Newman of Riverside, in his report, said: "On July 3, 1890, we examined the Bear Valley and its water
supply, visiting the dam and the lake. The lake is now about five and a half miles in length, with an average width
of two thirds of a mile, having a depth of water at the dam of fifty three feet, which is equal to a supply of
about 3,334 inches under a four inch pressure, for a six and two thirds month irrigating season, or about 5,560
inches for a period of four months, according to an official map of Bear Valley reservoir, in addition to the waters
wasting into Bear creek during the winter season. The present dam is sixty feet in height. The contour of Bear
valley and of the narrow canyon leading to Bear creek is such that a dam of considerable additional height can
be constructed at a minimum cost, to store almost an unlimited amount of water. The valley above the dam is large
and nearly level; the slopes of the entire valley, especially to the south, are heavily timbered, preventing the
melting of the snow, which falls in abundance during the winter months. The gaugings of the rainfall of Bear valley,
taken during a period of six years prior to November, 1890, show an average of about fifty two inches, with a maximum
annual rainfall of 94.6 inches. The average rainfall for the year 1889 was 42.8 inches. The drainage area, or the
water shed of the valley, is estimated at about seventy five square miles, and the present dam is located at an
elevation of 6,450 feet above sea level. The cool atmosphere and the frequent summer rains compensate to a larger
degree for the natural loss by evaporation, and the water supply is also largely augmented by the numerous living
streams continually pouring into the lake from the mountain's side, whose crest reaches an elevation of 7,500 feet
above sea level.
"The water from the Bear valley would be conducted to the Perris Irrigation district by means chiefly of an
open canal, piping and fluming possibly a small portion of the distance. The entire distance to be overcome and
the grade of the canal necessary for the most feasible route, render the expenditure heavy in the construction
of the required conduit. However, it is our opinion. that the most permanent supply of water, and by far the largest
supply, can be delivered to the Perris Irrigation District at a minimum cost from the Bear valley when a new dam
"The present water sutply of the reservoir reaches only the fifty three foot contour, representing the depth
of water at the dam
The eighty foot contour shows a capacity about four times present capacity, and the higher contour shows a proportionately
larger capacity for storage. Much more might be said, in a general way, and estimates of cost of delivering the
water at the district from the different sources referred to can only be obtained by a more extended and careful
research and surveys."
A preliminary survey was at once ordered, and the same made by A. H. Koebig, showing cost from San Mateo tunnel
to the end of the district, and in his report of same he says:
"A canal with the capacity of 5,000 inches over the line described in my report would cost $344,752, to which
I have added twenty per cent for incidentals and general superintendency, which amounts to $68,950. Adding this
to the first amount the entire cost will be $413,700. This would cover the cost of construction of a canal of the
capacity of 5,000 inches from the entrance of the same into San Jacinto valley, to the south boundary line of Perris
Irrigation District, covering the entire district. The cost of a canal over the same line, with a capacity of 15,000
inches, would be $774,427. One third of that, which is the pro rata of 5,000 needed by the Perris Irrigation District,
would be $258,142, so that 5,000 inches, delivered through a canal of 15,000 inches capacity would cost $86,610.80
less delivered through a canal of only 5,000 inches' capacity." James T. Taylor, engineer for the Perris Irrigation
District, in his report on estimated cost of canal, etc., for the delivery of 2,000 inches of water, says: "Upon
examination of maps, profiles and estimates of preliminary surveys, I am of the opinion that $175,000 is sufficient
to conduct the entire amount of 2,000 inches of water from the point of delivery from the Bear Valley company to
the district, and also to the south end of the same and across the valley to the east side. The total distance,
estimated to be about nine miles to the district, six or seven miles along the western boundary, and about five
miles across the valley. The water to be conducted by means of canals and pipes, either of wood or iron."
On August 5, 1890, Dr. W. F. Perry handed in his resignation as secretary, and Col. H. A. Plimpton was appointed
in his place. Owing to circumstances beyond the control of the board matters progressed slowly, and no definite
arrangements were entered into with the Bear Valley Water Company until the 7th of October. In the meantime, the
Bear Valley and Alessandro Company, asked through petition presented by various petitioners, to have all lands
north of the county line, except a portion of section 36, township 3, south, four west, excluded from the district.
At the same time a petition was presented by various owners to have 4,150 acres east of the San Jacinto river annexed
to the district. Both being duly advertised and no objections having been filed the said petitions were granted,
leaving the district's present area about 17,680 acres.
Several propositions were made to the board by the Bear Valley Water Company, and it was only on October 7th that
finally a proposition was presented which, in the judgment of the board, is the best, surest and cheapest proposition
of any colony in this, the orange belt of the state. The following is the proposition in full, and the same was
duly accepted by the board.
Perris, Cal., Oct. 6, 1890.
To the Board of Directors of the Perris Irrigation District:
The Bear Valley Land and Water Company hereby offers to the Perris Irrigation District sixteen thousand (16,000)
of its class "B" acre water right certificates (a copy of the resolution of the Bear Valley Land and
Water Company providing for the issuance of said certificates hereto and made a part hereof), with the option unto
the Perris Irrigation District of increasing the number of said certificates to twenty thousand (20,000) certificates;
provided the said Perris Irrigation District shall exercise said option on or before July 1st, A. D. 1891.
[continued in part 2 of Perris Valley history]