Idyllwild-Pine Cove, California

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Idyllwild, Pine Cove, and Fern Valley are three adjacent communities, of which Idyllwild is the largest, located in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County, California, United States. "Mile-high Idyllwild" is a popular southern California mountain resort about one mile (1.6 km) in altitude. Residents call the area "the hill." The population was 3,504 as of the 2000 census. Idyllwild is flanked by two large rocks, Tahquitz Rock (also called Lily Rock) and Suicide Rock, which are famous in Southern California rock climbing circles. One of Idyllwild's attractions is that it offers all four seasons, yet in snowy winter is only an hour's drive down to the warm desert on the scenic Palms to Pines Highway. Another advantage—to many—is that it offers no lake for speedboats and no downhill skiing, thus the hill has been minimally developed over the years and remains a center for hiking, mountain and rock climbing, and horseback riding. Idyllwild also has a fine cultural scene, which includes a music and arts school formerly affiliated with the University of Southern California and an annual musical festival called Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines every August. The Idyllwild community also generally includes the hamlets of Mountain Center and Garner Valley, though individual residents embrace this association to varying degrees.

Neither Idyllwild, Pine Cove, nor Fern Valley are incorporated municipalities. In order to provide statistical information, the United States Census Bureau has defined Idyllwild-Pine Cove as a single census-designated place (CDP). The statistical information applies to the entire CDP, although local views of the community vary somewhat from the definition of the CDP.

Contents

History

Idyllwild was once the summer home for bands of Cahuilla Indians, who migrated to the area to escape the heat of lower elevation deserts. The Cahuilla's grinding slabs can still be seen in Idyllwild.

A Cahuilla legend recounts how tribesmen chanted over the body of their fallen chieftain Tahquitz, or Takwish, who had been possessed by an evil spirit and killed his sweetheart. Suddenly his body began to glow like fire, and he rose and settled on Idyllwild's Tahquitz Rock. According to the legend, Tahquitz is trapped beneath the rock with a rattlesnake and a condor for company, and when the mountain shakes and trembles, it is not an earthquake, but Tahquitz up to his evil tricks on Lily Rock.

Idyllwild was known originally as Strawberry Valley because of the wild strawberries that grow there, especially beside the creek that runs through the town, Strawberry Creek. Shepherds regularly brought their flocks to the valley. In the 1880s, the Domenigoni family of San Jacinto homesteaded land near what is now the Idyllwild Arts Academy. In 1889, George and Sarah Hannahs built a summer camp next to the site of their sawmill in upper Dutch Flat; they named it Camp Idyllwilde. By the 1890s a toll road had been built from Hemet, which opened Idyllwild to settlement, logging, and tourism. A post office was established in 1893; at this time, the town was called Rayneta after the Hannahs' son Raymond.

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