With a population of around 200,000, Moreno Valley is the second most populated city in Riverside County, and is one of the most populated regions in the Inland Empire. Moreno Valley borders Riverside directly on the east, and is considered part of both the San Bernardino-Riverside Metropolitan Area and the Greater Los Angeles area.
First settled 2,300 years ago by descendants of the Shoshone, Luiseño, Serrano, Cahuilla and other tribes, the Moreno Valley area became overrun by Americans soon after California became a state in 1850. The area is reportedly named after Frank Brown, the owner of Bear Valley Land and Water Company, which started collecting water from Bear Valley and pumping it into the area starting in 1883 (moreno is Spanish for “brown” or “brunet”).
Moreno Valley truly came into its own 100 years ago when the US Air Force constructed March Field there in 1918 to train fighter pilots during World War I and used the field again during World War II. The base location led to the development and growth of the unincorporated communities of Sunnymead, Moreno, and Edgemont, and growth in general in the Valley has continued ever since.
Moreno Valley’s population almost tripled between 1970 and 1984, when voters in the communities voted to create the incorporated general law city of Moreno Valley. Between 1984 and 1990 the population more than doubled to over 118,00. After a trying economic period during the ‘90s, industries began developing the Valley along with other Inland Empire areas in the early 21st century.
Among the leading employers in Moreno Valley are March Air Reserve Base, the Moreno Valley Unified School District , Riverside County Regional Medical Center and the Moreno Valley Mall