Sunday, July 3, 2011

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Wow, this one proved to be a tough one! Carole Mathewson, a former Visalian now living in Payson, Arizona was first to get it. Not surprising though, as her roots run deep in Visalia. Congratulations Carole for that long distance win! By the way, the correct answer was the decorative section above the main front entrance to the 1935 courthouse annex on Court between Center and Oak streets.

Now for the new one. Where is this building? Here are the clues:
1) The building once housed Gross and Stevens auto repair
2) It was across the street from Tom’s Automotive
3) I believe the business today continues to work on vehicles
4) When you add the street address numbers together, they total “7”.
Good luck.

Race Ave
In the late 1850s, the people of Visalia enjoyed the sport of horse racing—both as participants and observers. In fact, Visalia had a horse racing track near what is now the Ice House Theatre. Few details are known about the track, but Race Ave gets its name from that popular Visalia hangout.

The Other McDonald’s
Eleanor Bergthold mentioned McDonald’s Café recently. Not the McD’s we hear so much about today with Big Mac, but another McDonald’s. It was a fairly regular stop for her family for Sunday dinner. It was located across from the Fox Theatre. This circa 1963 photo shows it about where Little Italy is now. At one time there was a second McDonald’s Café in Visalia located at Center and Floral streets, and there were others throughout the valley. The company printed beautiful artistic placemats and here is a portion showing Visalia.

The Gas Company Building – Dramatic Changes
Sometime ago Norm Atkins shared a nice old photograph of the Southern California Gas Co. building on the southwest corner of Main and Floral streets. Norm transferred with the company to the Visalia office in 1974 and retired in 1993. The building has gone through considerable change over the years as you can see. Norm pointed out that in the Gas Company’s early years, the company actually sold appliances, which explains the display windows.. The Gas Company also had people who demonstrated gas appliances and they held cooking classes so they had a small auditorium in the building. Thanks Norm for sharing this great old photograph.

More Hospital History
The old Kaweah Hospital/Garcia House that I mentioned in a past HH created considerable interest. Jan Morrison asked about the single story, red brick, double wing hospital that replaced the Garcia House. After the Garcia House/Kaweah Hospital that was located where the Visalia Times Delta is now, was vacated, a new hospital was built where Kaweah Delta is now. The new 32-bed hospital was built with Works Progress Administration (WPA) money and had its open house in October, 1936. The current Kaweah Delta Hospital is on the same site and replaced the WPA structure in 1969 when the new hospital opened. Does anyone have a nice clear photo of the old WPA hospital? By the way, Ernest J. Kump was the WPA hospital architect.

Reed and Bell – A Part of A & W
Recently, Susan Mangini posed a question about an orange shaped eatery on Main Street. She thought it could have been an A&W or Reed and Bell. I located a photo, not a nice direct shot, but a photo nonetheless that shows the orange shaped building on the far left. It looks to me to be on the corner of West and Main streets, south side of the street. Is this the building, Susan? If it is, it could be Visalia’s Reed and Bell Drive-in, and it was probably the beginning of A&W in Visalia. The Reed & Bell Drive-in was located at Main and West at 501 W. Main and I show it there in the mid 1920s. Roy Allen sold A&W franchises to Lewis Reed and H. C. Bell and Visalia had one of them. So Susan, I don’t know that I know the complete answer to your question. Reminds me of the big oranges that at one time were up and down SR 99.

*** Tom Lewis (Mt. Whitney Grad 1967) thought he recalled combined Mt. Whitney and Redwood High graduation ceremonies. Were there ever combined graduations? Can anyone help?
***Several leads and ideas have come in on the Mixter Drug scale, but none that totally solve the mystery.
***Re: The Habit that is taking over the Mearles site, the malt or soda glass that was on the top panel of the building is coming back after restoration. It will be put back on the building.
***Joseph Johnson is looking for information. “I have family who have been in Visalia, California since the 1800s. They were into mining and lumber. My grandfather, Joseph H. Johnson was a businessman in Visalia. I am trying to find any information on a sawmill or lumber yard he may have had there, near the old train depot. This was before 1950, and I remember all of the machinery being driven by leather belts, powered by steam engine from an overhead system of pulleys. If you can put me in touch with anybody who remembers this or has any information pertaining to this, I would greatly appreciate it.” Can anyone help Joseph?

A bill is under consideration in the legislature authorizing cities and counties to license bicycles, the fees collected to go towards constructing exclusive bicycle paths along country roads. The cyclers have been the most persistent advocates of good roads, and the idea of placing a part of the tax incident to their construction directly on the wheelmen will meet no serious objection.
Visalia’s Tulare Times, January 26, 1899