Saturday, July 11, 2009

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Thanks for visiting Historic Happenings! If you are not on the email list yet, and would like to be notified via email when a new posting of this newsletter is made, please email, me, Terry Ommen at and I will add you to the list.

Mystery Spot Identified—Wow, Was It Ever!

Within 21 minutes of the posting of the last Historic Happenings, the amazing Randy Groom identified the Veterans Memorial Building as the latest mystery spot. Four minutes later, Rita Gardner got it also. Then the floodgates opened up and many of you got it right. Congratulations to all of you.

Tulare County Agricultural Museum—New Docent Program Being Formed

The new ag museum at Mooney Grove Park is moving along nicely. The building will be completed in September, and Kathy McGowan, the curator is creating a volunteer docent program to work inside. She wants to talk to anyone who might be interested in getting involved with the Museum. What a ground floor opportunity! If you think you might want to be part of this exciting program, contact Kathy McGowan at or call her at (559) 733-6616. By the way, this photo shows Brian Summers, Tulare County Building Projects Manager, holding a sample museum banner high up in the air inside the new building. This building is going to be very impressive.

Yokohl Valley –A New History Book Is Published

Scott Barker loves Yokohl Valley and we are lucky he does. He has compiled much of the history of this special place in his brand new book called Yokohl—A History of Its People and Their Culture. This is a very limited print book so don’t wait to long to get yours. Many references of course to Visalia are included. It retails for $24.99, but call Scott at (559) 539-1004 and he may offer you a better price, you never know. Valhalla’s in Visalia is carrying the book also.

Remember When? It Wasn’t That Long Ago

Rudy, one of our newer HH members was in a nostalgic mood and asked about photographs of more contemporary businesses and buildings that have undergone a change over the last few years. He specifically asked about the old Thrifty Drug store downtown at Locust and Main St (now Starbucks). Well, here it is Rudy, this is Thrifty as it appeared in 1970, almost 40 years ago. Sometimes we forget history doesn’t have to be ancient. Thanks for the reminder of that.

Speaking of a Flood of Photographs

Claudia Allred Ward, an HH member, sent me a number of great 1955 flood photos. Claude Allred, her father, owned the Buick- Pontiac automobile dealership on the southeast corner of Bridge and Main St. The photo in the lower left shows that dealership almost underwater. The other photos were taken at various Main St. locations and show businesses such as the Wunder Stag, Hotel Johnson, Pryor Music, Palace Hotel, Togni, Purina, Sweeney’s CafĂ©, and Chop Suey. By the way, the photo on the lower right shows the Tulare County National Bank of Visalia at the location now that is now the Visalia Coffee Co. at Church and Main streets. How Visalia’s landscape has changed in really such a short amount of time!

New Mystery Spot – This One is Going To Be Much Tougher

Okay, the days of easy pickin’s are over. This new mystery spot should separate the pros from the novices. Decorative tiles as trim on buildings, gave buildings some color, uniqueness, and a touch of class. Here is a portion of old tile trim. What building or structure is it part of? Here are some clues:
1) If you add up the numbers in the address it totals 10
2) It has been a family owned business since 1922
3) Its location gives a feeling of being connected to the “south”
4) It is located just south of Mill Creek


{{}} Local professional photographer Ron Holman is leading a Visalia photo walk on July 18th, starting at 9:00am. The walk includes historical homes and other downtown sites and is part of the second-annual worldwide photo walk. Should be loads of fun. It is limited on the number that can participate, so if you have an interest, don’t waste and time and go to

{{}} Joseph Vicenti wants to know if anyone has heard of a celebrity horse named Visalia Abbe. He thinks it may have been a movie horse for class “B” movies, but he’s not sure. Obviously, because of the name he is curious as to whether there is a Visalia, California connection or could it be connected to Visalia, Kentucky?

{{}} Jon Carlton, the book manager at Visalia Costco, has made arrangements to have valley author Mark Arax of King of California fame at Visalia Costco on July 18th starting at 11:00am. He will be signing his book West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Buildings and Killers in the Golden State. Great opportunity to meet this well-respected valley author.

Our platform is a good broad plank—Make Visalia dry, make Visalia a place so clean, so wholesome, that you could have your little ones grow up among environments free from the influence of the saloon. Anyone not agreeing with me is not a good citizen to live in Visalia. An excerpt from a temperance speech giving by Carrie Barnett as President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Good Government League. February 13, 1914, Visalia Morning Delta.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Joseph Vicenti wants to know if anyone has heard of a celebrity horse named Visalia Abbe."

Hi, Visalia Abbe was a Standardbred that played the role of Dan Patch in the movie, "The Great Dan Patch (1949)."

I found Visalia Abbe's pedigree on the All Breed Pedigree website and a newspaper article discussing the movie on Dan Patch and Visalia Abbe.

Here's a quoted section from the Freeport Journal-Standard article on Visalia Abbe:
"Dan Patch is portrayed by Visalia Abbe, four-year-old pacer found in Phoenix, Ariz. Visalia Abbe, called "the Horatio Alger of horses," was discovered after a two-year search. Until he appeared in the picture in the role of Dan Patch he was unknown beyond sniffing distance of his stable, says Patricia Clary, United Press staff correspondent.

A little more than two years ago, W. R. Frank, Minnesota motion picture exhibitor and theatre owner, sent "straw-chomping Paul E. Mac Pherson nosing through stables from Santa Anita to Narragansett to find a horse that looked like the wonder horse of 1904 to 1916," Miss Clary writes. " 'I met so many horses,' MacPherson said, 'that I got to whinnying when I talked.' Looks Like Dan Patch "MacPherson stopped whinnying when he met Visalia. Visalia is seal-brown, just like Dan Patch. He paces without hobbles, which some horses need to keep from breaking stride. He's a descendant of two famous racing sires, Guy Axworthy and Peter the Great. His markings are the same as Dan Patch's, but he stands one inch shorter. "That Is about where the resemblance stops. "

'Dan Patch broke 10 world's records and set a record for the mile at 1:55,* said MacPhearson. 'VI- salia Abbe is okay, now, but he can't do better than 2:04.' "However, he's beautiful. They can always speed up the camera in the racing scenes," says Miss Clary."

Not sure if this may help answer any questions concerning Visalia Abbe, but we enjoyed watching him starr in "The Great Dan Patch." Dan Patch was a Super Horse!