Monday, August 17, 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 I will add you to the list.

Finally, Mystery Spot Identified!
Well, finally, we had a mystery spot that really was a “stumper.” It took a full week for someone to get it, and the winner is…. subscriber Harvey Hosman. He correctly identified the location of the so-called buggy or carriage step. J. M. and Peggy Bragg shortly thereafter came in with the right answer also. But only two of you got it. The concrete and brick relic is on the NW 1st Street curb at Court Street adjacent to the Deveraux Law Firm at 603 No. Court. It has some obvious damage, and go by and take a look. Very interesting. Even though it seems obvious that it is a buggy step, it sure would be nice to find proof that it actually was. A photo of it in use would be the “smoking gun.” Thanks Valerie Deveraux for letting us highlight your law firm and thanks Jay Belt for suggesting this as a mystery spot.

Now, Ready to Try A New Mystery Spot?
Where is this bronze/brass plaque? It has been hanging on this oak tree for a long time, so let’s see how observant you have been. Warning—this could prove to be more difficult the buggy step. Here are the clues:
1) It is on public property
2) Albert Evers is buried in the Visalia Cemetery
3) People are always resting under the shade of this old oak tree
4) Just a few feet away, water is being pumped from deep underground.
Good luck!

Life in 2009…Buried Deep in Concrete
The new Santa Fe overcrossing is being worked on right now, and when finished it will have 4 ornate corner pillars. Thanks to some good thinking on the part of Visalia City officials, time capsules will be placed in 2 of the pillars. One capsule will be scheduled for opening in 50 years, the other in 100. What do you think should be included in these capsules? What items do you think would help those future residents understand life in 2009 in Visalia. Call Nancy Loliva, Community Relations Manager at 713-4535 or email her at with your ideas. Deadline is September 10 and ask about the “sealing party” in October.

Remember Visalia Fair Mall?
This great old photograph is for everybody, but especially for Rudy. It shows the East side of the Visalia Fair Mall, now Visalia Mall. Sure has changed since the early 1963 about the time this photo was taken. Seems the only thing that stayed is See’s Candy.

Big Celebration
On Saturday, October 17, 2009, from 10:00am to 2:00pm there will be a party at Mooney Grove Park. The reason for the celebration? Well, first of all, the park is 100 years old and secondly, the new Museum of Farm Labor and Agriculture will be officially open. Park entrance fees will be waived for the event, so calendar it now. Also check this out—a chance to win $250.00 for the winner of the Mooney Grove Park Centennial Logo Art Contest. Contact Jed Chernabaeff at (559) 636-5000 for details. September 9, 2009 is the deadline! For all other birthday party details, contact Mila Magana at

Photographs of Visalia Lawman and Wife Surface
Constable William English was an elected lawman in the 1890s in the Visalia Township. Very few (I know of only one) photographs exist of this lawman who by the way was present at Stone Corral to see the mortally wounded John Sontag, the victim of a posse ambush. Maureen Anderson, reference librarian in the Annie Mitchell History Room, contacted me some days ago and told me William English’s Great Grandson was in Visalia researching his Great Grandfather. I met with Jon Goodfellow and his wife Teresa and thanks to Jon, a nice photograph of his Great Grandfather William English and his wife Eda now exists locally. Thanks to this nice couple, who made the long trip to Visalia on a history search, it is because of them that our history was made more complete!

{{}} A number of you responded to the request for auction item donations, and thanks to each of you. The Tulare County Historical Society will hold its annual BBQ/Auction on Saturday, September 26th at Mooney Grove Park. Proceeds from the BBQ and auction go to museum projects. More auction items are needed and welcomed. More information go to:
{{}} Thanks to all of you who shared memories of the historic Visalia Tea Garden and Estrada’s restaurants. It is very clear that both have left their mark on many people. I’d love to share some of your stories, but space is limited.
{{}} Terry Akers, an HH subscriber shared that when he was growing up in Visalia in the 1950s, Elmer’s CafĂ© was on Giddings Avenue across from the ballpark. About 60 years later, the Elmer’s building is still there having housed scores of restaurants with many different names over the years. Do you remember Elmer’s? Owner apparently came to Visalia from Texas or Oklahoma.

“Dogs—Our town is overrun with that most intolerable nuisance—a surplus of dog flesh. We are the friend of intelligent, respectable canines, but as for these ‘cures of low degree,’ we are decidedly down on them, and hope that some philanthropic individual will devise a speedy and effectual plan to abbreviate their sojourn with us.” Visalia Equal Rights Expositor, September 7, 1862 (About 6 months before the newspaper was destroyed by soldiers stationed in Visalia)

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