Based on newspaper reports, development of the area began in about 1880, when Temescal Grammar School was established on the site where the dam is today. It has been reported that Fustero’s eight children attended the school.
The town of Piru was founded in 1887 by David C. Cook, who purchased 14,000 acres of the canyon, proclaiming it to be “Another Eden.” Originally from Elgin, Illinois, Cook was seeking a better climate to recover from bad health.
Once in Piru Canyon, Cook created his “Garden of Eden,” which included 900 acres of oranges, apricots and English walnuts. Additional crops included almonds, chestnuts, grapes and olive trees, among many others. Cook transformed the canyon into a self-reliant farm by building miles of roads and irrigation ditches.