By April of 1888 Elsinore became a thriving city. Brick buildings began to line Main Street downtown. A post office delivered mail daily. The soil, water, and climate contributed to successful harvests of fruits and nuts. Coal, clay, and gold mines prospered.
By the 1920s, Lake Elsinore was a favorite playground for the rich and famous. High speed boat racing was popular. The mural below is on the corner of a building at the intersection of Main Street and Graham Avenue.
The writing on the bottom reads: Scenic Lake Elsinore circa 1924, The Clevlin Pier on Lakeshore Drive. Yacht racing and the “Princess” can be seen in the background.
Celebrities seeking an escape from the glamour of Hollywood built vacation homes on the hills overlooking Lakeshore Drive. Apparently the house built by actor Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula, still stands today on these hills in the district called Country Club Heights. A famous house that can be seen from Lakeshore Drive is a unique Moorish-style temple called “Aimee’s Castle.”
In 1928 Aimee Semple McPherson, a famous evangelist based in Los Angeles, built quite a palace which she lived in part-time until 1939. A Canadian-American, Sister Aimee founded the Foursquare Church and became a media sensation known for her radio broadcasts. Rumor has it that Johnny Depp once owned this spacious house.
More Lake History…
Ah, the lake! It has survived a pattern of droughts and floods, floods and droughts. After going completely dry in the 1950s, something had to be done. In 1964 the lake was filled artificially with water brought in from the Colorado River. And in 1972 the city was officially named Lake Elsinore. With lake in its title the city had to do something to end the cycle of flooding and drying. So it lobbied the federal government in 1984 and received a loan and grant to implement the Lake Elsinore Management Project which was completed in 1995. By 1997 the Recycled Water Task Force successfully supplements the lake level with recycled water that is safe for full body contact. The recycled water also irrigates the land in the area. There are plaques along the River Walk that explain this process.
Hudson, Tom. Lake Elsinore Valley, It’s Story, 1776-1977. Lake Elsinore, CA: Published for Lake Elsinore Valley Bicentennial Commission by Laguna House, 1978.
Today Lake Elsinore has a population of 51,821. (suburbanstats.org) Main Street is home to antique stores, thrift shops, restaurants, specialty stores, and city hall.
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Bela Lugosi actually resided in the Lakeland Village area west of the lake