Thursday, July 30, 2009

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Mystery Spot Identified!

Congratulations go to Virginia Strawser for identifying the mystery spot and doing it so quickly! A handful of you got this one, but she was the first to solve it and did it in just 37 minutes. The tile segment was part of the front of the Visalia Tea Garden located at 325 E. Main. Liberally trimmed with tile, the Visalia Tea Garden could be Visalia’s longest continuously operating restaurant. I think it may deserve that distinction, what do you think? It was established in 1922. It would be a great project for historical research.

Visalians Visit Visalia—Visalia, Kentucky, That Is

Back in May of this year HH subscriber, Ann Shaw and her sister Cathy Drennen took a month long cross country road trip which included stops in Canada. On the trip they stopped in Visalia, Kentucky and made their presence known as best they could, but could find very little evidence of the town. The town of Visalia, Kentucky (the namesake for Visalia, California) is quickly disappearing with not much left to photograph. Although, Ann did say it was beautiful country. Here is one of their photographs of the Visalia Baptist Church that sets on a green rolling hill. On the same trip, Ann and Cathy stopped in a Canadian restaurant and to their surprise they looked on the wall and found the famous Mearle’s Drive-In lighted picture. The legendary drive-in restaurant had found its way to Canada!

We Need Help On This One!

Bill Allen would like reader help to see if anyone knows anything about this bell. His sister allegedly got it from a Visalia firefighter in the 1960s and as the story goes the firefighter picked it out of a pile of surplus fire equipment. The iron arm that you see was part of it and it is welded in a fixed position. I think the iron arm may have still been added later. The bell works great and the opening on it is about 6 ½” in diameter and from end to end the bell itself stands about 5” high. There are no markings on it at all and as you can see the iron brace is an unusual shape. Can anyone confirm this bell or a bell like it might have been connected to the Visalia Fire Dept in any way? The bell was used on Bill’s sister’s boat.

Santa Fe Railroad Sign Recovered!

Well, the old Santa Fe Railroad sign that was mounted on the railroad overpass for the past 47 years has been found. As you know, the old Santa Fe track over crossing has been removed to make way for a new vehicular bridge that is being constructed in its place. During the removal of the old bridge, the two mounted Santa Fe Railroad signs disappeared, but thanks to the efforts of John Bergman, railroad historian and local banker, and Fred Lampe, Associate City Engineer with the City of Visalia, at least one of the two signs has been found. Now the question is, what do we do with this 47-year old sign?

Estrada’s Restaurant Gone—But Its History Remains

Gilbert Gia, historian and president of the Kern County Historical Society, is related through marriage to Louisa Estrada—the key family member that made Estrada’s Restaurant a household name in Visalia. He recently completed a 10-page history of the Estrada family and the Estrada Restaurant which includes great family photographs. The picture shown here is Estrada’s Restaurant which was located at 414 W. Main Street but is now gone. Take a look at Gil Gia’s well-written Estrada article at Thanks Gil for sharing your valuable research with our readers

New Mystery Spot: Step Up and Solve This One

Back in Visalia’s horse and buggy days, it is said that this partially broken concrete and brick structure helped buggy riders step up into their buggies more easily. This alleged “buggy step” as it is being called is in open view and thanks to HH subscriber Jay Belt for offering this interesting feature as our mystery spot. Here are the clues:
1) The building adjacent to this was built in 1911
2) The adjacent building once held “one man’s treasurers and another man’s junk.”
3) People often go here when something is broken.
4) If you add up the numbers of the street address it totals 9.
Good luck!


{{}} The Tulare County Historical Society will be holding its annual BBQ and auction on Saturday, September 26th at Mooney Grove Park on the museum grounds. We’d love to have you join us and if by chance you would like to provide an item or two for our auction, we’d love to receive them. All proceeds go to museum improvement projects.
{{}} At the end of next month HH will be one year old. Watch for some new features to help celebrate the 1-year anniversary.
{{}} Don’t forget, if you have any interest in being part of the new docent program at the Museum of Farm Labor, contact Curator Kathy McGowan at 733-6616.

“No murders this week.” October 26, 1878 Tulare Weekly Times.

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