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Perris*, California (* Pronounced “Paris”)

Perris, California

February 13, 2021

A fixed-up old town meets suburban sprawl. Interesting place. Many signs are Spanish then English. Working-class community.

Thanks to Julie’s dad, Calvin, for making me aware of this additional “Paris.” 😁

Perris is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, located 71 miles east-southeast of Los Angeles and 81 miles north of San Diego. It is known for Lake Perris, which hosts a variety of flora and fauna. The city is most widely recognized for having many choices involving aerial activities, such as skydiving and hot-air ballooning. Perris is within the Inland Empire metropolitan area of Southern California.


The Perris Valley was actively settled in the 1880s, a boom period for Southern California. Prior to 1880, the land was used for pastures. The coming of the California Southern Railroad led to the founding of the city around the new depot. The California Southern was built through the future town site in 1882 to open a rail connection between the present day cities of Barstow and San Diego. Due to a land title dispute at Pinacate, most of its citizens moved two miles north on the railroad and established Perris in 1885. The city is named in honor of Fred T. Perris, chief engineer of the California Southern Railroad. The city of Perris was incorporated in 1911. It originally was part of San Diego County, but in 1892, it was transferred to the newly established Riverside County.

Perris now incorporates Pinacate Station which is the home of the Orange Empire Railway Museum (a.k.a. "the trolley museum") - the largest operating museum of its kind on the West Coast of the United States.

The Southern California Fair has been held at the Lake Perris Fairgrounds since 1987. On March 20, 2007, Perris was featured on ABC's Nightline news show during its "Realty Check" segment. The story dealt with the rising trend of home foreclosures in Riverside County, and Perris was referred to as the "epicenter".

The Farmer Boys restaurant chain, which has many locations throughout the Inland Empire, was started in Perris in 1981. Perris is also known for the Rock Castle house set on a hill above town.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.5 square miles of which, 31.4 square miles of it is land and 0.1 square miles of it (0.35%) is water.


Perris has a Mediterranean climate, with long, hot summers and short, mild winters. The climate in this area is described by the Köppen Climate Classification System as "dry-summer subtropical" often referred to as "Mediterranean" and abbreviated as Csa.


U.S. Decennial Census


At the 2010 census Perris had a population of 68,386. The population density was 2,170.7 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Perris was 28,937 (42.3%) White (11.0% Non-Hispanic White), 8,307 (12.1%) African American, 589 (0.9%) Native American, 2,461 (3.6%) Asian, 286 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 24,345 (35.6%) from other races, and 3,461 (5.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 49,079 persons (71.8%).

The census reported that 68,146 people (99.7% of the population) lived in households, 140 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 100 (0.1%) were institutionalized. There were 16,365 households, 10,836 (66.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 9,778 (59.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,128 (19.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,441 (8.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,314 (8.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 120 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,442 households (8.8%) were one person and 383 (2.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 4.16. There were 14,347 families (87.7% of households); the average family size was 4.32.

The age distribution was 25,288 people (37.0%) under the age of 18, 7,951 people (11.6%) aged 18 to 24, 20,088 people (29.4%) aged 25 to 44, 11,711 people (17.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 3,348 people (4.9%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 25.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

There were 17,906 housing units at an average density of 568.4 per square mile, of the occupied units 10,854 (66.3%) were owner-occupied and 5,511 (33.7%) were rented. The homeowner vacancy rate was 5.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.8%. 44,695 people (65.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 23,451 people (34.3%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Perris had a median household income of $46,435, with 28.2% of the population living below the federal poverty line.



The nearby, privately owned, Perris Valley Airport (FAA designator: L65) has a 5,100-foot runway. Perris has drawn a crowd of skydivers, amateur and professional, to Perris Valley Skydiving. The area's sudden fame gave Perris the nickname: "the skydiving capital of America". On April 22, 1992, a de Havilland Twin Otter crashed during takeoff at Perris Valley after an engine lost power. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the accident was caused by contaminated fuel obtained from the improper handling of the airfield's fuel tanks and the pilot's improper actions after the power loss, as well as other factors. The aircraft never rose above 50 feet and 14 parachutists and the two pilots were killed.


Perris is served by Interstate 215 which runs from Murrieta to the south to San Bernardino to the north, and by State Route 74, which serves Lake Elsinore and Orange County to the west, and the San Jacinto and Coachella valleys to the east.

Commuter Rail

In June 2016, the 91 Line of the Metrolinkcommuter rail system was extended from Riverside to Perris, connecting it to downtown Los Angeles and the rest of the Greater Los Angeles megalopolis with two stations. Future expansion to Hemet has also been discussed.

Would you want to live on Genuine Risk street?

  • Louis B. Mayer – Hollywood film mogul, owned a horse ranch in Perris

  • Alfred E. Green - film director, born in Perris

  • Danny Harris – former Olympic hurdler, silver medalist in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, as well as, the 1987 World Championships in Rome. Grew up in Perris and Alumnus of Perris High School.

Turpin family

In January 2018, authorities discovered 13 malnourished siblings held captive by their own parents, David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, in a home in Perris. Some of the siblings were adults, as old as 29.

According to state records, the parents had been operating Sandcastle Day School out of their home.

The 13 kids house of horror: On Thursday, January 18, 2018, Louise and David Turpin were both formally charged with: 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, 7 counts of abuse of a dependent adult, and 6 counts of child abuse and neglect. David Turpin faces one charge of a lewd act on a child under 14 by force of fear which prosecutors say was a crime against one of his daughters. If convicted, they face a minimum of 94 years imprisonment each. Bail was set at $13 million, $1 million for each child they are accused of abusing. Various legal charges and court hearings followed in the succeeding months. On February 22, 2019, the couple changed their pleas to guilty on fourteen felony counts, including "cruelty to an adult dependent, child cruelty, torture and false imprisonment". On April 19, 2019, the couple was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years, although experts believed they would never receive parole due to the severity of the crimes

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Perris is also the headquarters of Starcrest, a privately owned low end health and beauty mail order company. It is very low profile. Size of the business is about $200 million.

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