Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is truly a piece of living history.  Get a glimpse of how the Valley must have looked 200 years ago.

A Fiddle for a Refuge? Dreams and schemes gone awry forged the foundation for the present day refuge. Once traded for a fiddle and a new suit of clothing, this former Mexican land grant harbors as many stories as wildlife. The same land narrowly escaped a plan to form the keystone in a river development project on the scale of the Hudson River Valley.

In 1943, concerned about the loss of habitat, the federal government purchased the land grant for the protection of migratory birds.

Within the refuge, a 100-year-old hand-hewn ebony fence surrounds tombs and unmarked graves at the cemetery. Visitors today will sometimes find grave sites adorned with flowers from family members who still come to the refuge to pay their respects to ancestors of 150 years past.