Saturday, September 5, 2015



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Well, here's a familiar mystery spot winner! Virginia
Strawser was the first to correctly identify the red brick building
feature as part of the old Ford building (now, at least partly occupied by Family Health Care). The mystery spot was the top portion of the building at Bridge and Center streets. Nice work, Virginia.

For those of up to it, and I hope you are, here are the clues for the next one:
1) This feature is on a corner building
2) The building was finished in 1923
3) R. F. Felchlin and Co. of Fresno built the structure
4) It is a dominate building downtown.

Where is this building? Good luck!


Hong Kong—Food For Thought on the Menu
Everyone has heard of Visalia's Hong Kong restaurant at 417 E. Center Street in the heart of old Visalia Chinatown. I don't know when the restaurant first opened but it has been around for a long time. I know it dates back to at least 1938, but I suspect it has been around much longer than that. Recently, I found an old undated menu from that
eatery. What a fun read! It includes prices and some fun dishes like chop suey, fried noodles, boiled noodles, mince meat, etc. In small print at the bottom of the menu (cut off from this scan) it says "Please do not deface or mar the furniture." You don't see that sort of request very often on menus today. Must have been a rough crowd!


Visalia Manufacturing Co. – The Ice Age
Ice in the early days was an important commodity especially in the valley heat, so in 1897 after Visalia decided to stop having it delivered from out of the area, the town built an ice plant. It was constructed near east Main Street at Santa Fe adjacent to the Visalia Water Works. At

that time ice was sold to commercial establishments for about $6.00 per ton or for smaller quantities it for a half a cent per pound. Delivery of ice became routine much like milk deliveries in the day. Early ice boxes in homes needed plenty of ice to keep food cool during the hot summers. Ice is another item we take for granted these days.


Dallas Pattee—Historian Loses Everything in Fire Except Positive Attitude
Many of you know Dallas Pattee and others at least know of her. She is a Tulare County historian who specializes in cemetery history and is the creator of the long-running "Tales From the Tomb" program. Dallas, a 60-year old native of Tulare County, lives a simple life style without a lot of so-called "creature comforts," but she thrives on writing and researching local history and she does a great job. She has been a regular fixture at the Visalia Cemetery visiting graves, researching Tulare County pioneers, and directing "Tales From the Tomb." On May 12, 2015, her home near Munson
burned to the ground. Fortunately, she was not home at the time, but she lost virtually everything—her family keepsakes, furnishings and equally important to her, her historical research material including books and papers. The incident of course is devastating to her as we can all imagine, but despite her losses, serious on-going health issues, and limited financial resources, she maintains a positive attitude. She currently lives with friends until she can find other more permanent housing arrangements. Dallas has the same tough spirit as the pioneers she often writes about. I will keep you posted in HH on her situation. The photographs included here are of Dallas in costume (widow's weeds) as she appeared in various productions of "Tales From the Tomb." If you'd like to correspond or talk to her, I can provide contact information.


Visalia Junior College—An Important Institution
Recently, Sandy Newman shared this Visalia Junior College (now called COS) booklet for the school year 1941-1942. The 58-page publication describes school rules, suggestions for college life, etc. for prospective students. It also includes class offerings and lists administrators and faculty. One of the student requirements mentioned in the booklet under the title "Living Accommodations" is that students attending college from outside of the area get
pre-approval for their new quarters from the Dean of the school.
They also discouraged students from living in apartments.
Interesting? By the way, the Visalia Junior College was organized in November, 1925 and was part of the Visalia Union High School District. This booklet includes a diagram of the master plan for the campus as part of a centerfold, and is shown here.



Harrell Building Undergoing Major Work
Back in February, HH mentioned the remodeling project going on in the former Mike's Camera location in the old Harrell building. As you may recall, James Jessen (of Tazzeria fame) is making a new restaurant there. It is going to be amazing space, I'm sure, and as part of the job it looks like he is
incorporating the vacated Christian Science Reading Room area as well. I can't wait to see what James does with this project. Wouldn't it be nice if the Harrell Bank safe, especially the fancy safe door, could be highlighted in this new restaurant. By the way, as a historical note, the building was built in 1889 and was originally a 3-story beauty. In 1962, a fire reduced the building to the one-story that we see today. Good luck, James, on your project.


Christian Science Reading Room Vacated
Well, there have been a few recent developments regarding the First Church of Christ Scientist in Visalia. Their public Reading Room has been in the old Harrell building (110 So. Court Street) for many years, but they recently vacated and it looks like a new tenant (James Jessen) has taken over. See more of the story above.  The Reading Room staff over
the years has always been so accommodating in allowing visitors to look at the old bank safe there. Also, regarding the Christian Science church, the Visalia Arts Consortium has taken over the building at 400 N. Church Street, the former Christian Science church building. According to my records, the Christian Science Society of Visalia was organized in February 1904 and in 1914, they moved to this building on Church Street. The site was their church until 1968. Michael Kreps provided this old photograph of the Church Street building in its early years.


***For those of you who would like to read a history of the Acequia post office, pick up a copy of the Lifestyle Magazine for an article that starts on page 12, or you can read it online at http://www.issuu.com/lifestylemagazine/docs/web-1508-3  again starting on page 12

***Thanks to all of you that shared information on Van Tech Engineering. Your information was much appreciated.

***In the last HH I shared that the Masonic Lodge building fa├žade at the Tulare County Museum had been restored and I heard from Phil Kneeland who shared a few interesting historic Masonic tidbits. First of all, he said that Masonic Lodges are generally in upstairs locations for privacy purposes, and secondly, he gave insight into a curiosity I have had for many years. In Visalia's first Masonic Lodge the upstairs windows were painted over in what to me looked like a checkerboard pattern. Phil indicated that the pattern had significance in Masonic ritual. Thanks, Phil, for your information.

***Alfred Williams, referring to the last HH story on the Deluxe Bakery, said that when the announcement of the Japanese surrender during World War II was made, he was in the Deluxe Bakery picking up something for his mother. He indicated that following the announcement, Main Street was "a mad house."  He added, "People in the street, cars racing up and down honking their horns. Kind of a mini Times Square, I suppose. We lived north of Main Street and I had a difficult time getting myself and my bicycle back across Main Street to go home. One of those things, like when I heard about Pearl Harbor, that I will never forget. The day it started and the day it ended." Thanks Al, for sharing.



Great Joy Among City Sewer Rats and Bugs—Quantity of Liquid Evidence is Poured Into Sewer by Marshal. Two barrels of beer and several bottles of whiskey, the results of raids on blind pigs in the past few weeks were dumped into the sewer at the city hall yesterday by City Marshal Ed Rowland the act being witnessed by Mayor Cutler and others. The value of the stuff was about $25, but it being against the law to convert it into money in Visalia, the marshal was forced to destroy it. Visalia Morning Delta, September 19, 1914