James Blackmore grades a road from Dominagoni Valley to Winchester (eventually to become HWY 79) with his horse-drawn grader - circa 1928
"Dirt is in our genes"

1971 - Ken & Terry Blackmore with new Caterpillar motorgrader

Ken Blackmore with 1929 antique Caterpillar Crawler, on display in Temecula at the Blackmore Building

1992 - Jeff Blackmore supervises grading operations under what is now the Pechanga Casino.


The Blackmore Family can certainly be counted amongst the "old timers" in the Temecula Valley area. James Blackmore moved to French Valley around the turn of the Century and married Edmee Nicolas in Elsinore (c. 1914). Edmee was born in Temecula in 1887 on the Joe Nicolas Ranch and was the daughter of French Valley pioneer Marius A. Nicolas and step-daughter of Pierre Pourroy, Sr. James & Edmee, with two of Jim's brothers, operated the Old Lindenberger Store on the SE corner of Simpson and Winchester Road. The present store building was built in 1927 and was a post office, variety store, and ice cream parlor at that time. The photo to the left is Jim operating a horse pulled motor grader.

Harvey Blackmore (who was born in French Valley to James & Edmee in 1919) and his wife Betty moved to Murrieta in 1949 and bought a 1200-acre homestead in the area that would become known as California Oaks. The couple raised cattle and dry farmed wheat and barley on the land that the locals called Blackmore Ranch.

Harvey and Betty's two sons, Ken and Terry, were born and raised in Murrieta. Both boys attended the original Murrieta Grammar School - the remains of that building can still be seen in Old Town Murrieta. The two helped their dad on the Ranch and earned extra money in high school by using their family's farm equipment to do custom grading job. In the 1960's, Terry Blackmore worked as a cowboy for the Vail Company, running cattle all over the valley, while Ken developed and expanded his grading business in Temecula. Most of the family's original ranch was sold off by the mid 60's and has been developed into homes for thousands of Murrieta residents.

By the early 1970's, the brothers had formed a grading operation called Blackmore Co., which has moved the earth on projects like the first industrial park in this valley, the original Tower Plaza, the Stater Bros. Center and in areas like Bear Creek, La Cresta and Alta Murrieta. Blackmore equipment and projects can be seen around town to this day.

Terry Blackmore left the valley in 1989 to pursue his love of cattle ranching in Arizona, but Ken Blackmore lives on a ranch in old Murrieta and remains active in developing land in the area. One of the last remaining pieces of the family's ranch property was developed in the early 1990's by the Blackmore Family and became the Blackmore Ranch development off Clinton Keith Road.

The newest generation of the Blackmore Family in the grading business is Ken's son, Jeff, who started Blackmore Contracting in 1997. Having worked with his father from a young age, Jeff learned the business from the ground up. Blackmore Contracting has done the grading on projects that brought the Valley shopping centers like Lowe's/Kohl's and Target, commercial developments like Village Walk I and Gateway Office Park in Murrieta, a new High School and Middle School in Lake Elsinore, as well as many residential projects ranging from single-family custom home sites to house pads in planned communities.