Thursday, August 28, 2008

Test Blog Post

Hi Everyone,

It has come to my attention through various ways that you have an interest in local history in some fashion. Certainly, in some case we have talked about some aspect of local history. As a means of getting the historical word out or at least stimulating historical discussion, I am using this email to accomplish that. I know we all get inundated with email and keeping up with them is difficult, but unless you tell me to not include you, I will send out via email periodic and occasional notices about “Historic Happenings” in and around Visalia. Please don’t be shy. If you would rather not get them that is OK just tell me. If you know others that would like to be included please have them email me indicating interest. My email address is

For now emails will be sent out blind until I hear from each of you indicating that you don’t mind your email address openly displayed. Ideally an open email list is desirable so dialogue can take place between individuals on the list. As I mentioned this will be an occasional email that will focus on historical things occurring in the community, many of which will involve old buildings, activities connected to history, and historical programs. Its purpose is to inform, raise questions, solicit information and share in matters in which we all ( or many of us ) have an interest. Much of the information presented in Historic Happenings will be rumblings or rumors, but by learning and sharing, it is hoped that solid information can be obtained, so we can be better informed. In the past, many have indicated an interest in knowing what is happening historically and hopefully this will be a forum to help get the word out. I think by posing questions and /or providing information, a forum for discussion can be started about these historical topics. Initially if you would like to add something to the discussion let me know via email and I will include it in the next Historic Happenings. Again, I want to emphasize, much of the time, the material emailed to you will not be based on good solid factual information , but rather will fall into the category of the “word on the street.” I’ll try and make it worthy of your time but please forgive any grammar, punctuation or style problems.

Robin Fountain: The Robin Fountain or Birdbath restoration at the Tulare County library grounds is moving forward. For those of you not familiar with the project, Mrs Eichmann in 1944 commissioned local artist Carroll Barnes to create a marble water feature on what was then the site of the Visalia City Library. For many years it was in disrepair and it is now being restored. The plaque on the Robin Fountain reads “To the children of Visalia”. First Arts is coordinating organization with local art expert Aaron Collins taking the lead. The effort to restore the fountain is about 2/3 done. Still a little more fundraising to go. It is about a $6000 project. If you go to the East side library entrance, take a look at the birdbath in its permanent location. You can’t miss it is sure to become the Gateway to the restored children’s library. Many argue Visalia needs more public art. Here we have professional art with a historic Visalia connection.

Kathe Home Restoration: Just as a point of information, an out of the area building contractor ( although I think he grew up close by ) is restoring the old Kathe home located on the NW corner of Encina and Oak streets– directly across the street from the restored library. The contractor is interested in preserving the original structure as best he can. He has been asking about colors and so on, but unfortunately, no old photos exist showing any kind of coloration on the home. But if anyone has an information on that old house, I’ll pass it on to the contractor. Looks like it was built about 1910 and has been a triplex for a number of years and is going to be a home ( continue as a triplex ) for special needs Housing Authority tenants, I believe. The house is being “gutted” and should look super when the job is finished. You’ll know the house when you drive by. Should be very nice.

Fort Visalia: Susan Mangini has raised the question of rebuilding a replica on Fort Visalia on the lumber yard site at Garden and Oak streets. This is the site of the 1852 Fort ( birthplace of Visalia ) and it has been her desire for many years to build a replica on that site. Her recent comments to the Visalia City Council have brought the subject to the surface and it seems to have the community buzzing The block is apparently up for sale so she sees this as a golden opportunity to do something creative with Fort Visalia. Lotsa talk about that block either for sale or coming up for sale. Let’s see what happens to the site and if any more ideas surface about resurrecting old Fort Visalia. Go Susan! I’m sure Susan would love to know about other creative ideas that might be considered for that very historic site.

Old Courthouse Square: There has been recent talk about the status of the old courthouse building on Court Street between Oak and Center streets. Historically that block has been known as Courthouse Square. I am told the old WPA Courthouse building ( Finished in about 1935 ) located on Court Street is now totally vacated by county workers. The newer building on the Square still is being used. This property is owned by the county and speculation has it that the building and the surrounding grounds will come up for sale. This is a very historic site and seems to provide an opportunity for an investor. Great location! Anyone hear anything about it? Any investor groups out there? The old building has some problems but also has a lot of potential.

And then there’s Mearle’s?

Please feel free to comment on any historical topic here or about Historic Happenings in general. If at any time you want to unsubscribe from Historic Happenings, just let me know and you will be removed from the list. You obviously can forward to anyone you choose but to get Historic Happenings directly interested parties should contact me to subscribe. Nothing falls in the category of Secret in this document. Anyone that you know of that does not have an email address I will make an effort to get them a copy either snail mailed or delivered. Historic Happenings is designed to be a dialog or conversation so please comment or clarify to me and I will see that your information or questions are posted in the next HH. Brand new topics are encouraged too. This is a local history forum vehicle so you input is valued. It is hoped that this can be a great way to connect like-minded people.

At the risk of sounding repetitious. This material is for discussion purposes only and no claim is made that the information contained in Historic Happenings is true or factual in any way.

"No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that's in the right and keeps on coming."
On the tombstone of Bill McDonald, Texas Ranger