|City of Hemet|
|Coordinates: 33°44′51″N 116°58′19″W / 33.74750°N 116.97194°W|
|• Mayor||Joe Males|
|• Mayor Pro Tem||Malcolm Lilienthal|
|• City Council||Linda Krupa |
Jaculin "Jackie" Peterson
|• City Treasurer||Dale Dieleman|
|• Total||29.28 sq mi (75.84 km2)|
|• Land||29.28 sq mi (75.84 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2) 0%|
|Elevation||1,594 ft (486 m)|
|• Rank||89th in California|
|• Density||3,068.07/sq mi (1,184.51/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature IDs||1652718, 2410738|
Hemet is a city in the San Jacinto Valley in Riverside County, California. It covers a total area of 27.8 square miles (72 km2), about half of the valley, which it shares with the neighboring city of San Jacinto. The population was 89,833 at the 2020 census.
The founding of Hemet, initially called South San Jacinto, predates the formation of Riverside County. This area was then still part of San Diego County. The formation of Lake Hemet helped the city to grow and stimulated agriculture in the area.
The city is known for being the home of The Ramona Pageant, California's official outdoor play set in the Spanish colonial era. Started in 1923, the play is one of the longest-running outdoor plays in the United States.
Hemet has been named a Tree City USA for 20 years by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to the local forest. The city is home to the Hemet Valley Medical Center, a 320-bed general hospital.
This had long been the territory of the indigenous Soboba people and Cahuilla tribe prior to Spanish colonization. During the early 19th century, Mission San Luis Rey used the land for cattle ranching. They named the area with the settler name Rancho San Jacinto.
See also: List of Riverside County, California, placename etymologies § Hemet
Hemet was named by the land development company that founded the town, The Lake Hemet Land Company. The company drew its name from Hemet Valley, now called Garner Valley, located in the San Jacinto Mountains. Initially the company referred to the area as South San Jacinto, but changed the name to Hemet when the land company filed a plat map on November 11, 1893.
Following Mexico gaining independence from Spain, in 1842, settler José Antonio Estudillo received the Rancho San Jacinto Viejo Mexican land grant.
In 1848 the United States annexed the California territory after defeating Mexico in the Mexican–American War. In 1887, during the first major Southern California land boom, Anglo-Americans W.F. Whittier and E.L. Mayberry founded the Lake Hemet Water Company, and the Lake Hemet Land Company, for speculative development. They had plans to dam the San Jacinto River to provide irrigation water to the valley. They named the town Hemet in November 1893.
In 1895, they completed Hemet Dam as a private project on the San Jacinto River, creating Lake Hemet and providing a reliable water supply to the San Jacinto Valley. This water system, for irrigation in an arid region, was integral to the valley's development as an agricultural area.
By 1894, settlers had established a newspaper, the Hemet News, and "several general stores", the largest being Heffelfinger & Co, which occupied an entire block. Other businesses included "a drug store, an excellent barber shop, two blacksmith shops, harness shop, shoe repairing houses, two real estate offices and two lumber yards." "The most pretentious building" was the two-story Hotel Mayberry, "supplied with all the modern conveniences usually found in first-class hostelries, including stationary water, baths, etc., and a complete electric light system, the power for which is furnished by the company's private plant." Also noted was the Hemet flour mill, owned by John McCool and built at a cost of $20,000. It was the only such mill in this area, and was housed in a brick building. It could produce 50 barrels of flour per day.
Hemet was incorporated in January 1910. Of 177 residents, 130 voted to incorporate, with 33 against. Those who voted against incorporation were landowners who feared increased taxation. The incorporation helped to serve the growing city, which was outgrowing its current infrastructure.
With a railroad spur running from Riverside, the city became a trading center for San Jacinto Valley agriculture; commodity crops included citrus, apricots, peaches, olives, and walnuts. The Agricultural District Farmer's Fair of Riverside County began here in 1936 as the Hemet Turkey Show. It was relocated to Perris.
During World War II, the city hosted the Ryan School of Aeronautics, which trained about 6,000 fliers for the Army Air Force between 1940 and 1944. The site of the flight school was redeveloped as Hemet-Ryan Airport. In 1950, Hemet was home to 10,000 people, joining Corona and Riverside as the three largest cities in Riverside County.
Hemet was racially discriminatory. Numerous African Americans migrated to California during and after World War II in the Great Migration from such Deep South states as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Hemet was a sundown town, prohibiting African Americans from living there or even staying overnight.
In the 1960s, large-scale residential development began, mostly in the form of mobile home parks and retirement communities. Hemet was known as a working-class retirement area. In the 1980s, former ranchland was developed in subdivisions of single-family homes. "Big-box" retail followed the increase in population. After a roughly decade-long lull in development following the major economic downturn of the early 1990s, housing starts in the city skyrocketed in the early 21st century. The area's affordability, its proximity to employment centers such as Corona, Riverside and San Bernardino, and its relatively rural character made it an attractive location for working-class families priced out of other areas of Southern California.
From the Hemet Library Heritage Room History Collection:
Hemet is in the San Jacinto Valley of western Riverside County, south of San Jacinto. The valley, surrounded by the Santa Rosa Hills and San Jacinto Mountains, is mostly dry land, except for Diamond Valley Lake to the south. Hemet is located at 33°44′31″N 116°58′59″W / 33.74194°N 116.98306°W (33.742001, −116.983068). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.847 square miles (72 km2) as of the 2010 census, all land.
Hemet is 80 miles (130 km) southeast of Downtown Los Angeles.
Hemet has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSh) with mild winters and very hot, very dry summers.
|Climate data for Hemet, California (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1917–18, 1997–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||90
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||81.5
|Average high °F (°C)||66.3
|Daily mean °F (°C)||55.2
|Average low °F (°C)||44.2
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||30.7
|Record low °F (°C)||23
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.40
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in.)||5.9||6.0||4.4||3.0||1.9||0.3||0.8||0.8||0.9||1.7||2.8||4.5||33|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Hemet had a population of 78,657. The population density was 2,824.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,090.6/km2). The racial makeup of Hemet was 53,259 (67.7%) White (51.8% Non-Hispanic White), 5,049 (6.4%) African American, 1,223 (1.6%) Native American, 2,352 (3.0%) Asian, 284 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 12,371 (15.7%) from other races, and 4,119 (5.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28,150 persons (35.8%).
The census reported that 78,043 people (99.2% of the population) lived in households, 155 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 459 (0.6%) were institutionalized.
There were 30,092 households, out of which 9,700 (32.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 13,174 (43.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,349 (14.5%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,623 (5.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,002 (6.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 208 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 9,119 households (30.3%) were made up of individuals, and 5,754 (19.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59. There were 19,146 families (63.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.24.
The population was spread out, with 20,340 people (25.9%) under the age of 18, 6,814 people (8.7%) aged 18 to 24, 17,323 people (22.0%) aged 25 to 44, 16,776 people (21.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 17,404 people (22.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.3 males.
There were 35,305 housing units at an average density of 1,267.8 per square mile (489.5/km2), of which 18,580 (61.7%) were owner-occupied, and 11,512 (38.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 5.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 17.5%. 45,459 people (57.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 32,584 people (41.4%) lived in rental housing units.
During 2009–2013, Hemet had a median household income of $32,774, with 23.3% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
As of 2008[update], the census estimated there were 75,163 people, over 29,341 households, and 18,031 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,713.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,047.6/km2). There were 33,486 housing units at an average density of 1,208.8 per square mile (466.7/km2). As of 2009[update], The racial makeup of the city was 60% white, 2.4% black or African American, 4.9% Asian or Pacific Islander, 4.9% from other races and 28.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino. 12.6% were of German, 10.5% English, 7.8% Irish and 4.3% American ancestry.
There were 29,341 households, out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 21.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.5 and the average family size was 3.2.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.1% under the age of 19, 6.2% from 20 to 24, 11.9% from 25 to 34, 10.6% from 35 to 44, 17.2% from 45 to 54, and 25.7% who were 65 or older. The median age was 38 years.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,974, and the median income for a family was $41,559. Males had a median income of $40,719 versus $30,816 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,046. About 14.5% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.5% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over. As of 2009[update], about 22,300 residents of the city were employed with 4,700 unemployed (an unemployment rate of 17.4%).
According to the California Economic Development Department, in 2005 the economy of Hemet was based on four main industries: retail trade, health care, educational services, and government. These industries provide 4,734, 4,441, and 3,946 jobs respectively. Other major industries in the city include leisure and hospitality, financial services, professional and business services, construction, and manufacturing. The amount of wage and salary positions in Hemet is 22,769, with a further 1,479 people being self-employed, adding up to a total of 24,248 jobs in the city.
According to the City of Hemet's 2021 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report, the ten largest employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Hemet Unified School District||4,216|
|2||Physicians for Healthy Hospitals||930|
|3||County of Riverside||673|
|5||Gosch Ford, Toyota, Hyundai & Inland Chevrolet||331|
|6||City of Hemet||273|
|7||Forest River, Inc.||257|
|=8||Village Healthcare Retirement||200|
|=8||The Home Depot||200|
|10||ManorCare Health Services||176|
Hemet was heavily impacted by the housing crisis which followed the financial crisis of 2007–2008. Rent remains affordable, but the three-hour commute by Metrolink to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles has impeded Hemet's growth as a bedroom community.
The City of Hemet has two museums and an outdoor amphitheater. The Hemet Museum is located at the intersection of State Street and Florida Avenue in downtown. It is a museum of local history, and features photographs of old Hemet, historic photographs from the Ramona Pageant, as well as Cahuilla cultural belongings such as baskets and agriculture displays. Hemet is also home of the Western Science Center, located in the southern part of the city at the intersection of Domenigoni Parkway and Searl Parkway. It features exhibits of Ice Age mammals, including 'Max', the largest mastodon found in the Western United States, and as 'Xena', a Columbian mammoth. Along with the two museums, science center and theater, close to Hemet there sits an outdoor amphitheater, the privately owned Ramona Bowl is a natural amphitheater located nearby in the Riverside county foothills. It is known for producing the play, Ramona.
The city of Hemet is expanding upon its entertainment venues. The three largest venues are the Ramona Bowl, an outdoor amphitheater, a Regal Cinemas and the Historic Hemet Theatre, built in 1921. A development being planned for the area is a downtown transit village, with the center of it being a Metrolink station. It will be north of the downtown core, and will consist of residences, shops, and parks. The station itself could feature a railroad museum, a heritage trail, and a farmer's market and market hall.
The Historic Hemet Theater was once the oldest continually run single-screen theater in the nation. However, the theater was forced to close down in January 2010 due to water damage from a fire that destroyed adjacent store fronts. The musty smell forced the theater to stay closed for a year, which created financial struggles. As of 2011[update], the foundation was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)3 for the purpose of supporting community projects. In July 2013, the Historic Hemet Theater Foundation negotiated a five-year lease/option to purchase the theater. Since then, the Foundation has restored the Theater back to operation and is in the process of raising funds in order to purchase and restore the Hemet Historical Treasure.
In addition to Diamond Valley Lake, Hemet has six large parks throughout the city.
Weston Park was established in 1921 and was dedicated to John B. Weston, who was president of the board of trustees from 1914 to 1920. It contains shuffleboard courts, restrooms, playground, basketball court, and turf area for passive uses and games. It is located in the downtown area west of Santa Fe Street, and has an area of 4 acres (20,000 m2).
Dedicated to James Simpson, Hemet City Council 1947–48, and mayor 1950 to 1966. Simpson Park is a wilderness park located in the Santa Rosa Hills southeast of Hemet with sheltered picnic area and tables, barbecues, restrooms, and hiking trails. At an elevation of 2,500 feet (760 m), it provides an expansive view of the San Jacinto Valley, as well as the nearby cities and towns of Winchester, Menifee and Temecula, and it has an area of 438 acres (1.8 km2).
Dedicated to Mary Henley, born in Hemet and served as Hemet City Clerk from October 1951 to March 1975, and is the first Hemet Park named after a real person. The park contains two playground areas, half basketball court, picnic tables, shade structures, restrooms and a large turf area. There is a marked walking path/sidewalk of 0.75 miles (1.2 km) around the perimeter of the park. It has an area of 16 acres (65,000 m2), and was established in 1993. A fitness court was opened in October 2022.
Gibbel Park contains a large children's play area, ball field, a half basketball court, restrooms, two lighted tennis courts, a lawn bowling green, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, and a large turf area for passive uses. The park also features a memorial of military branches of the United States. It has an area of 11 acres (45,000 m2), and was established in 1970.
The Valley Wide Community Sports Park opened in September 2009. The park, part of the eastern recreation area of Diamond Valley Lake, hosts eight baseball fields, eight lighted baseball fields, eight soccer fields, four basketball courts, six tennis courts, seven volleyball courts, two pickleball courts, fitness trails, three play areas, four restrooms, and three picnic areas. The park is also adjacent to an aquatic center.
Brubaker park contains one large children's play area, one half basketball court, eleven baseball/softball fields, fitness trails, two picnic areas, and one portable restroom.
The city's educational services are under the Hemet Unified School District to cover all of Hemet, and parts of San Jacinto and Valle Vista, with a student population of over 20,000 students. There are also HUSD member schools in the rural communities of Anza, Idyllwild and Winchester.
As of January 2010, the school district was facing having to possibly go far out of budget to fix the Historic Hemet Elementary school, due to the fact that it was built on top of a swamp and has been sinking deeper every year. The main building was built in 1927, and is one of the few historic landmarks left in Hemet. The other choice would be to demolish the school and build a new one in its place. The State of California will pay for 50% of either project, but the already cash-strapped district may run into trouble if the repairing of the school goes over budget. A new building could cost $20 million, with an extra $3 million to have it built in the original architectural style of the old building.
Hemet High School, Western Center Academy, West Valley High School and Tahquitz High School in Hemet and Hamilton High School in Anza.
Acacia Middle School, Diamond Valley Middle School, Dartmouth Middle School, Western Center Academy, and Rancho Viejo Middle School.
Bautista Creek Elementary, Cawston Elementary, Fruitvale Elementary, Harmony Elementary, Hemet Elementary, Jacob Wiens Elementary, Little Lake Elementary, McSweeny Elementary, Ramona Elementary, Valle Vista Elementary, Whittier Elementary and Winchester Elementary.
Cottonwood School of Aguanga & Hamilton School of Anza.
Advanced Path Studies School (credit recovery), Alessandro High School – continuation (grades 10–12), Baypoint Preparatory Academy (grades K-12), Family Tree Learning Center (grades K–8), Helen Hunt Jackson School for independent studies, Hemet Academy of Applied Academics and Technology (grades 9–12), Hemecinto Alternative Educational Center (grades 6–9), Western Center Academy (grades 6–12), River Springs Charter School (grades TK-5), and Renaissance Valley Academy (grades 6-12). The school is part of/owned by the Springs Charter School system, but operated elsewhere.
Dwelling Place Learning Academy (DPLA) is a Private Christian Academy. DPLA is K–5th grade with a student-to-teacher ratio of 16-to-1; their curriculum is based in the Weaver Curriculum (Unit Study). DPLA will add at least one grade a year until the 12th grade to become a K-12 school. DPLA began on August 17, 2015, and was incorporated as a 501(C)(3) in the State of California.
St. Johns Christian School has been a private Christian school since 1983, offering classes for children between 18 months and the 8th grade. St. Johns School was ranked the #1 Preschool in the 23rd Annual Press-Enterprise Best of Inland Empire Readers’ Choice Awards.
The Hemet News was a newspaper published from about 1894 until 1999.
Hemet and nearby San Jacinto are situated in the Los Angeles designated market area and are able to receive most of the Los Angeles and Riverside/San Bernardino area television stations via cable and satellite providers. Over the air signals with limited reception include KCAL-TV 9 (Independent) Los Angeles; KVCR-TV 24 (PBS) San Bernardino; KFMB-TV 8 (CBS), KUSI 9 (Independent) and KNSD 39 (NBC) from San Diego; two ABC stations KABC 7 L.A. and KESQ-TV 42 from Palm Springs[verification needed]; KOCE 50 (PBS) and KVEA 52 (Telemundo) from Orange County, California. A local TV station based in Hemet and nearby Perris is KZSW 27 (Independent) of Temecula.
Commercial air service is provided by the Palm Springs International Airport and Ontario International Airport. Hemet-Ryan Airport, which is a municipal airport owned by Riverside County, is located in the city but has no commercial service.
Public transit in Hemet is provided by the RTA, which has stops at various locations including Florida Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, and the Hemet Valley Mall. Routes in the Hemet area include: 28, 31, 32, 33, 42, 74, 79, 217.
Expansion of the Metrolink commuter rail service from Perris to Hemet has been discussed, with stations planned for West Hemet and Downtown Hemet.
Two California State Highways cross the city. California State Route 74 runs along most of Florida Avenue, the main corridor of east and west transportation in Hemet, and California State Route 79 also follows Florida Avenue for a few miles in the city. Highway 79 is slated for re-alignment when the Mid County Parkway project begins. Streets in Hemet are arranged mostly in a standard grid. Almost all major streets that go east–west are avenues, and almost all streets going north–south are streets. Exceptions are Sanderson Avenue, Lyon Avenue, Palm Avenue and Cawston Avenue. Major streets in Hemet are Florida Avenue, Sanderson Avenue, San Jacinto Street, Stetson Avenue, and State Street.
The railroad to Hemet was operated by AT&SF Railway from 1888 to 1987. It was used for loading and shipping oranges that grew in the region. In 1987, it was abandoned because of a lack of demand for transportation. Today the railroad line is mostly abandoned. Tracks are usually used for storing rail cars for a short time while they are not needed by Class I railroads.
The City of Hemet public library was created in 1906. Members of the Women's Club opened a reading room at the corner of Harvard Street and Florida Avenue.
In 1910, citizens of the newly formed city voted for its own library, and the city took over the operation of the facility built in 1906. Shortly after, the reading room became too small for the growing community, and groups and citizens lobbied for a newer, larger facility to house the growing collection of books. A woman of the community named Mrs. E.A. Davis was the one who wrote to Andrew Carnegie seeking funds to help build a new library. The city received $7,500 to fund part of the construction, and Mr. and Mrs. St. John donated land to the city to build the new Carnegie Library. The new library was finished in 1913, and served the city for 52 years. The building was declared unsafe by the Fire Marshall and razed in 1969, and the new C.B. Covell Memorial Library was built. This building however, also became too small for the city.
The library moved again in 2003, to its current facility, relocated for the first time since 1913. The new facility is now located at 300 E. Latham Avenue, just blocks from its former location. The new building is two stories tall, and contains 52,000 square feet (4,800 m2). It was designed by John Loomis of 30th Street Architects at a cost of over $15 million.
Hemet has five sister cities:
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It must have bothered a few attending the stellar affair because in those days Hemet was pretty well a sundown town, meaning blacks could work over here during the day but they had better head for Perris or wherever at dusk.
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((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). The Press-Enterprise (Hemet, California), May 22, 2001.