top of page
B Tarwater Store 2 E Hale Curran Collection.jpg

Welcome to the Murrieta Valley Historical Society's

History Marker Project

The Tarwater


The Tarwater Cash Store (Location #1)
On July 4, 1891, Benjamin Tarwater bought the former town hall building from
W. Henry Hending and opened the Tarwater Cash Store. It was located on the corner of
B Street and 1 st Avenue. Murrieta residents paid for their goods on credit. Their bills
would be settled once a year after the harvest when the crops had been sold. If their
crops failed, they would sell vacant lots of land to Tarwater to settle the debt. He always
made sure people in his community had food. His kindness earned him the name, Uncle

The Tarwater General Store (Location #2)
On 1911, Benjamin Tarwater built a second store out of concrete blocks on the
corner of B Street and Washington Avenue. B Street had been the main street because it
led to the train depot and warehouse. However, Riverside County was preparing to turn
Washington Avenue into a segment of the new cement county highway, the Inland
Highway. Benjamin capitalized on this new shift from the railroad to the auto route.
In 1936, Benjamin’s son, Urban Tarwater, closed the Tarwater store. Benjamin
Tarwater died on September 9, 1939. Benjamin requested that there would not be any
memorials for him. He was laid to rest in an unmarked grave, as a humble servant of his

The Dunham Garage
After the Tarwater Store closed, Urban Tarwater used the building as storage. In
1949, he leased the building to the Dunham family. They opened a garage in the former
store. They built a grease pit, did brake jobs and worked on cars.

The Burnham Store (Location #2)
In the late 1950s, Clifford Holliday purchased the building and remodeled it. The
original entrance to the store faced B Street. It is believed that Clifford changed the
building’s entrance to face Washington Avenue.

Mel Miller, owner of the Burnham Store, moved his store to the former Tarwater
Store in 1962. The floor space was twice the size and soon would offer air conditioning
for the customers. Also a paved parking lot was created that could hold up to 31 cars.
During his time in the community, Mel Miller was president of the Murrieta
Chamber of Commerce for two terms. His wife, Ann Miller, was on the local school
board for 11 years.

In 1963, The Murrieta Mutual Water Company incorporated. The first well was
established at this site and named the Holliday Well #1.

The Murrieta Country Market

In 1974, Mel Miller sold the store to Kenny Lee and Warner Stewart. They
renamed the store the Murrieta Country Market. They ran the country market until they
sold it to a corporation in 1993.

bottom of page