Thursday, August 6, 2015

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And we have a winner! Congratulations go out to Peggy

Peterson for being the first to correctly identify the last mystery spot as the old adobe Tulare County Farm Bureau building on the north side of Oak Street between Court and Church. Nice work, Peggy.

Here are your clues for the next one:
1) This nice old brick building was completed in 1928.
2) Reportedly, thousands came to the open house ceremony.
3) The brand of product that was originally sold here, everyone, and I mean everyone, has heard of it
4) The business moved to this location from a building that had been on the site of the Fox Theatre.

Where is this building? Good luck.

84-Year Old PTA Cookbook
Recently, I came across a Visalia cookbook dated 1931. It was compiled by the South Side Parent-Teacher Association in Visalia. In addition to recipes, it is filled with ads for local businesses and a list of the members of the Recipe Committee. Mrs. J. R. Burum is listed first on the committee,
identified as president of the South Side PTA. It is a soft cover book with 170 pages filled with recipes like Mock Turtle Soup, Glorified Squash, Pigs Feet, and Sea Foam Candy. All of the recipes include the name of the provider. Anyone know why this PTA was called "South Side?" Was it just an obvious geographic reference?

Deluxe Bakery On Main
And we have more one-of -a -kind Pete Sweeny photographs to share. Do you remember the Deluxe Bakery at 225 W Main Street? Well, here it is during what I believe to be the February 1945 flood. One of these photos shows a view looking south on Encina Street between Center and Main and
shows an inner tuber floating down the road. Also in the picture you can see the rear of Ralston's on the left and the side of the Fox Theatre on the right. Straight down the street you can see the Deluxe Bakery on Main Street. The other photo is a close up view of the front of the business. The building that housed the Deluxe Bakery still stands today on the south side of Main Street.

Masonic Lodge Building Façade Restored
George Pope wanted me to pass along the restoration of the façade of the old Masonic building at the Tulare County Museum at Mooney Grove Park. Recently it was restored by the Tulare County Historical Society using funds from the society and members of the Visalia Masonic lodge. As some of you know the Masonic lodge, which also served as the I.O.O.F. hall
for a time, was built at Church and Center Street. The cornerstone of the original building was laid February 22, 1873 with the dedication ceremony held the same year. Over the years the building fell into disrepair and in 1963 was torn down and the façade was donated to the historical society who had it placed at the museum. It continued to deteriorate and in 2015 Charles Iacono, a TCHS board member and master wood craftsman, took on the project of restoration. It's a beauty again now. Go out and take a look at it at the museum.

Have You Ever Seen a Crosley?
And yes, you guessed it, Pete Sweeney recently shared another photograph, this time it's a Crosley automobile that he used in the family business. Pete was a "part's chaser" for his dad who was also Pete Sweeney and here is the Crosley he used in his work. It is shown here parked in front of the Sweeney home at Locust and Cypress streets. By the way, sources tell me that the Crosley company stopped production in 1952. What a cute little buggy!

Miniature Golf in the Olden Days
And still another Pete Sweeney contribution. These two rare photographs from Pete show what I suspect to be the only surviving photos of Visalia's indoor
miniature golf course. It was an entrepreneurial venture by Pete's grandfather, Carter, Sweeney (unknown year.) The building in which the course was located was on Main Street cross from the Reed & Bell Root Beer stand (which was at 501 W. Main Street.) Anyone know of or remember this miniature golf course? Also, anyone know the approximate year of these two photos? Thanks again Pete for all your wonderful photos.

***Roy Dressel mentioned that he read an article in Motorcycle Consumer News recently about a company called Van Tech Engineering that had been a Visalia business from about 1960-1973. They designed motorcycle racing frames, apparently. Anyone know any history about this Visalia business?

***John Bergman found a great old Sanborn fire map showing the Sugar Beet factory and its location. Thanks for your legwork on this, John!

***The Sons of the San Joaquin are very talented Visalia boys who really know how to sing. They have performed all over the country, and guess what? They are putting on a big show at the Tulare County Museum on September 20, 2015. This event is sponsored by the Tulare County Historical Society and the $45.00 ticket price includes both a delicious bbq tri-tip dinner and the Sons' concert. What a bargain! For more information please contact Jill Brown at (559) 626-4988 or Lari Ommen at (559) 799-1164.  Hurry as seating is limited.

***If you'd like to know more about the long gone Tipton Lindsay School, pick up a copy of the July 2015 Lifestyle magazine and read about it beginning on page 12. Or you can go online and read it at

We advise all young men who intend to escort young ladies home from church, sociables, or balls, these dark evenings, to provide themselves with a lantern, or their fair companions may playfully lead them into numerous mud holes.  Visalia Weekly Delta, January 1, 1867