History of Elsinore Valley Cemetery

In 1891 Peter Wall purchased 12 acres of land for the Greenwood Cemetery.

He laid out the cemetery, and with the help of the GAR Relief Corps and others, planted trees and hauled water to the site to establish them.

The hilly site known as the “old cemetery” was on Minthorn Street, east of Highway 71 (now I-15). Our records show that 8 pioneers, buried between 1876 and 1890, were disinterred and moved to Greenwood Cemetery known as Elsinore Valley Cemetery today.

The first Superintendent of the cemetery was Charles Sumner Merrifield (known as Carl), son-in-law of Peter Wall. He was followed by his son, Leslie Merrifield, who held that post until 1970 when he retired at age 70. Both men are now buried at the Cemetery.

During the early years the cemetery ground was bare except for weeds.

They grew so high that burning was used for their control. This caused damage to the trees and also the marble, wood, and limestone grave markers, so the burning was discontinued. In the 1920’s a well was dug in hopes of getting enough water for more landscaping. An adequate water supply during hot summers continued to be a problem for many years.

In 1923 the Elsinore Woman’s Club, under the leadership of Mrs. Guy Willsey (Mary Lorena), took as their project the protection and care of the cemetery. Through their efforts, and with the assistance of other organizations in the valley, the cemetery was purchased in May of 1926.

Mr. Wall sold the property for $500 plus some additional funds for the improvements and equipment.

The name was changed to “Elsinore Valley Cemetery” and the Elsinore Valley Cemetery Association was formed as part of the Riverside Cemetery District. The Trustees appointed by the County Board of Supervisors were Willis L. Everett, Henry Clay Scott and Terrell L. Rush.

Ceremonies marking Memorial Day continue each year under the auspices of various veterans’ organizations in the valley and organized with the help of First Assembly of Lake Elsinore’s Pastor Fred Rodriguez. This annual Ceremony continues to grow each year in attendance because of the show that is presented. Skydivers, cannons, music, bagpipes, helicopters, tributes and much more draw the community together each year to honor our veterans.

Over the years the Cemetery has had many changes and beautification is an on going thing to keep the historical sight somewhere that can be seen as a peaceful and serene place to visit.

In 1995 the Elsinore Valley Cemetery District purchased the Home of Peace Jewish Cemetery, which adjoins the north side of Elsinore Valley Cemetery.

Most recently legislation was passed to allow all Riverside county residents of the Jewish faith interment rights in the Jewish section of the Elsinore Valley Cemetery District.

The Elsinore Valley Cemetery District has a total of 26 acres of which 20 are developed, 11 of those are actually designated burial sights.