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However, the lake was full again in 1872, when it overflowed down its outlet through Temescal Canyon.

While most of the old Californio families lost their ranchos during the great drought, the La Laguna Rancho remained in the hands of the Machado family until 1873, when most of it was sold to Englishman Charles A. Juan Machado retained 500 acres (200 ha) on the northwest corner of the lake, where his adobe still stands near the lake at 15410 Grand Avenue.

From the beginning, the mineral springs near the lake attracted visitors seeking therapeutic treatments.

In 1887, the Crescent Bath House, now known as "The Chimes", was built; it still stands in historic downtown and is a registered national historic site.

The city has grown from a small resort town in the late 19th century and early 20th century to a population of 51,821 at the 2010 census.

Native Americans have long lived in the Elsinore Valley.

After 1872, the lake again evaporated to a very low level, but the great rains in the winter of 1883–84 filled it to overflowing in three weeks.

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The lake water was purchased by the Temescal Water Company for the irrigation of land in Corona, California.Its outlet channel was deepened, permitting gravity flow down the natural channel of Temescal Canyon to Corona for a year or more after the water level sank below the natural elevation of its outlet.As the lake surface continued to recede, a pumping plant was installed and pumping was continued a few seasons, but the concentration of salts in the lake, due to the evaporation and lack of rainfall, soon made the water unfit for irrigation and the project was abandoned by the company.Augustin Machado built a seven-room adobe ranch house and an outbuilding on the southwest side of the lake.Soon after, Rancho La Laguna became a regular stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route between Temecula 20 mi (32 km) to the south and the Temescal station 10 mi (16 km) to the north.

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