Sunday, May 24, 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.

Mystery Spot Identified—Three Diamonds Building
Four of you found this Visalia mystery spot building. However Virginia Strawser was the first. The building was the old Dodge Bros Auto dealership on the southwest corner of Acequia and Locust streets. She used the meaning of the word Acequia (irrigation canal or waterway) to connect the water clue to this building. It is now being used by Kaweah Delta Hospital. Thanks to all of you, but a special super sleuth medal goes to Virginia.

Robin Fountain Rededication Date Set – Yes, it is True!
Rededication Day has finally arrived. On Saturday, June 13th at 9:00am on the east lawn of the Tulare County Library, the much talked about Carroll Barnes’ Robin Fountain will be rededicated. For background information, scroll down for previous HH postings. Highlights of the short rededication event include two speakers who were actually at the original dedication in 1944, nearly 65 years ago. Janet Loffland Moffett who witnessed the ceremony in the audience and Lynne Sharon Lipscomb Brumit who at 10 years old gave the speech accepting the birdbath on behalf of the children, will both be part of the rededication. Megan Forgey, a talented 12-year old Visalia girl will give Lynne Sharon’s speech and accept the Robin Fountain on behalf of the children of Visalia. Visalia Mayor Jesus Gamboa will formally accept the birdbath on behalf of the city and Carole Firstman, co-founder of First Arts, will provide background information on Carroll Barnes and public art. Everyone is welcome.

Another Gathering of Local Authors – Special Appearance by Bill Coate
Thanks to Jay O’Connell, premier publicist and Tulare County booster and Jon Carlton, heavyhitter and wonder Manager at Visalia’s Costco, Visalia will again host a gathering of local history authors at Costco on June 13, just in time for Fathers Day. This time the famous historian Bill Coate, of Twist in Time fame, will be present. The authors will gather at 11:00am and will be there until 3:00pm. The photo that you see here shows the previous group at the last gathering which took place December 13, 2008. It was a big success. The other authors scheduled to be at Costco with their books on June 13th include: John Bergman, Chris Brewer, Bill Coate, Ron Hughart, Jay O’Connell, and me. For more detail about the authors and their books, please contact me and I can give you more information. This is a great opportunity to meet the authors, get their books and have them signed, right before Father’s Day.

The Visalia & the Yuma, Arizona Connection
Charles “Arizona Charlie” Meadows was born on a ranch near Visalia where he learned to ride, rope and shoot. While still a young man, he moved to Arizona with his family where he gained worldwide acclaim as a rodeo star and wild west showman. I have traveled to Payson, Arizona and Dawson City in the Klondike Territory, Canada in pursuit of his story, and I have one more trip to make. As an elderly man, Arizona Charlie moved to Yuma and it was there that he died in 1932. Story has it that he died due to complications of a surgery he performed on himself with a pocket knife. This legendary man, who stood 6’5” tall, was known throughout much of the world and he was a Visalia native son. I will report more upon my return.

New Mystery Spot – Way Too Easy
I sure hope I don’t insult the intelligence of all of you with this very easy mystery spot. You probably don’t need any clues, but here they are just in case:
1) This is a manmade structure built with Kaiser Steel.
2) It was installed at the tail end of Rock ‘n Roll’s Golden Decade .
3) It is sometimes called a word that rhymes with “wrestle.”
4) It is disappearing from Visalia’s landscape as of this posting.
What and where is it? Don’t all answer at once!

{{}} Regarding the possible of the demolition of the 400 block of East Main Street, Charles Loffland commented that he believes people go to Europe to see 200-300-400 year old historic buildings. He said the we will never have [old buildings] if our 50-200 year old buildings are demolished. He concluded, “sometimes the ‘bottom line’ needs to be scrapped to save something special.”

{{}} Bruce Geiger pointed out sometime back and reminded me recently that Visalia had German and Italian sections much like Chinatown. The Italian neighborhood generally was on Santa Fe between Noble and Tulare avenues. The German area was around the little white church that still stands at 724 So. Court Street. At one time, this church was a German Lutheran church. Anyone else have information on Italytown and Germantown in Visalia?

{{}} Patrick Barszcz, who successfully identified the Highland Park mystery spot marker, did more investigative work. He discovered the historic term “manual training”, which is on the marker, is what we would call today “industrial Arts” which would include wood and metal shop.

“Diphtheria still lingers in the county. We know of no cases near Visalia at present, but every few days we hear of the death of children in some part of the county, caused by this terrible disease.” March 7, 1879, Visalia Weekly Delta.

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