Perris Celebrates Centennial in Style
Perris’ 100th birthday was one for the ages, as City officials placed items in a time capsule that will be reopened in a century while dignitaries from the region, state and nation praised the community’s history, accomplishments and heralded its future.
The Centennial Celebration May 26 included a flyover from the Perris Valley Airport, the appearance of an elephant, vintage cars, a five-tier birthday cake, bands and musical performances and a myriad of events for youngsters and adults.
Speaker after speaker congratulated Perris on the milestone. There were certificates of appreciation, proclamations and predictions that Perris would continue to prosper in coming years. A staff member from the office of Congressman Rep Darrell Issa, who represents Perris in Washington D.C., brought a copy of remarks Issa read into the Congressional Record to mark the City’s centennial.
Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, who graduated from Perris High School and still lives in the City, recounted some of the pioneer families who put Perris on a firm foundation when they incorporated what had been a rural farming community known for its fertile soil.
Since then, Perris has grown to nearly 70,000 residents and boasts Fortune 100 companies, world-class recreational sites, a resounding commitment to preserving its historical integrity and a record of major infrastructure improvements.
Those include a new interchange at Interstate 215 and Fourth Street, the soon-to-be-completed Big League Dreams sports complex, new facades along historic D Street businesses, the ongoing development of the Transit Center on C Street, restoration of the Bank of Perris, Southern Hotel and Depot building and plans for major developments in the City’s south side. Ashley predicted that future developments on the former March Air Force site will bring thousands of jobs to Perris.
“Perris will be known as the City of jobs,” Ashley said. “Perris is a great, vibrant City that will continue to grow. This is a very emotional day for me.”
Ashley praised the Perris City Council for working as a cohesive unit over the past decade, putting aside their individual egos to make sure the community thrived.
“This City Council has got it together,” Ashley said. “The sky is the limit.”
City Manager Richard Belmudez said planning for the Centennial began several years ago. The event itself took place just outside the City Council Chambers, the former site of Perris High School which was refurbished a few years ago.
“We are proud of our campus,” Belmudez said.
He then went on to praise the residents of Perris who “really embraced the spirit of the Centennial.”
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch called the Centennial a “neat, special day” that not every city gets to celebrate. At 100, Perris is much older than its neighbors—Moreno Valley, Menifee, Murrieta and Wildomar.
“Most cities in California are fairly young,” Busch said. “Attaining 100 years is a real accomplishment. We’re proud of what we’ve done and where we’re going.”
Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans said she felt “like a piece of history.”
“This is so marvelous,” she said. “Something good has got to come of this occasion. It is a pleasure to represent the City on such a special occasion.”
City Councilman Al Landers focused his remarks on the founders of Perris, who he said brought their faith with them as they forged a new City. Landers recently spear-headed efforts to declare “In God We Trust” as the official City motto.
Although their names may not be household words, I believe the visionaries who founded Perris had a great faith in their Creator to sustain this community always,” Landers said. “That is why I am so proud to be part of the current City Council which recently has re-affirmed our commitment to those values and to the creator who gives us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers said the Centennial was a “great day to celebrate our rich history and diversity.”
“This is a glorious day,” Rogers said. “Let us go forward with a positive outlook and continue on the path of enjoying all of the richness of our community.”
City Councilman Mark Yarbrough the Centennial was “a snapshot of us now.”
“The City of Perris is about past, present and future,” Yarbrough said. “We recognize it. We live it. We plan for it.”
Yarbrough, a race car owner and enthusiast, placed a Hot Wheels model car inside the time capsule. Mayor Busch placed the Book of Psalms. Mayor Pro-Tem, a former fighter, placed a Perris Fire Department patch and badge inside the capsule. Landers enclosed a name badge inside, while Rogers inserted a copy of an agenda from the group Cops and Clergy, which she formed as a liaison between the police and ministers and Perris residents. She also included an autographed basketball used in a game after the newly refurbished Bob Glass Gym re-opened.
City Clerk Judy Haughney ‘s contribution to the time capsule was a montage of iconic Perris image she captured with her digital camera—including the Bank of Perris, the water fountain in front of City Hall and other City Campus images.
Other items included in the time capsule include a cell phone, flash drive, a Perris Police Department patch, a spike and section of railroad track from the Grizzly Flats Railroad, which was created and operated by Walt Disney animator Ward Kimball, a huge fan of Perris’ Orange Empire Railway Museum. The capsule also includes various brochures from City functions, notecards, a copy of the “On Track in Perris” newsletter and of course, a “We Love Perris” bumper sticker.
The time capsule itself is air and water-tight and should last 400 to 500 years. It is encased in a 3,000-pound concrete vault. The time capsule location also includes a plaque, seal and bench as well as a Southern Live Oak tree.
Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer