Monday, October 1, 2012

Click on photo for larger image
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 Terry Ommen at I will add you to the list. I will not share your email address with anyone without your permission.

Congratulations go out to Duane Copley for being the first to correctly identify the last mystery spot as the Masonic Temple at Locust and Mineral King. Over 30 of you recognized the building correctly, but Duane had the fastest trigger finger. By the way, his father John Copley was a Master Mason at the lodge. Good job Duane.

Here are the clues for the next mystery spot:
1. This door went to a business that no longer exists.
2. The business was a partnership between O. H. Madden and J. I. King.
3. This door is easily seen from the street
4. The business operated in the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.

Wild Tulare County – It’s Now Available
Wild Tulare County – Outlaws, Rogues & Rebels is now available. It was just released from the publisher History Press and the book includes some of Tulare County’s most ruthless men. It highlights a baker’s dozen or so of individuals and gangs that helped give Tulare County a bad reputation. Over 50 photographs are included and the book is well-referenced. Visalia plays a major role in most of the stories. As the author, I can give you information about how to get a copy. Please email me at or call me at (559) 901-3227 for details or questions.

Carroll Barnes & the COS Giant
Recently I received notification from HHers Larry McLaughlin and Susan Mangini that there was a video/movie of the famous local artist Carroll Barnes sculptor of the COS giant on COS YouTube. This is an amazing video produced in 1954 and a great find and I want to make sure it is shared with everyone. It shows the cutting of the Sequoia tree, the transporting of the tree and the carving of the giant out of the tree, and then of course the placement at COS. You can view the video which runs about 15 minutes at    Carving the Giant   and it is well worth the time. I found it to be historically and artistically  very important and I’m glad it exists. Maybe this video has been out for a while, and I just hadn’t seen it, I don’t know. Wouldn’t it be nice if you were able to recognize some COS students caught on film

Huge Fire Draws a Big Crowd
On Sunday, March 30, 1975, a fire of unknown origin started in the 70-year old building located on the southwest corner of Willis and Murray across from Franks Liquor ( little shopping Center is on site now ). According to the newspaper, the old building housed Lloyd’s Plumbing and American Air. The building was a total loss. The firefighter in the bucket spraying the water on the building is Visalia firefighter “Andy” Anderson, the father of Jim Anderson who supplied this photo. 40 Visalia firefighters fought this blaze to keep it from spreading. It was extremely hot fire and it attracted a huge crowd, and as a result, crowd control became a major undertaking. Thanks Jim, for sharing this great photo.

Confederate General Comes to Visalia
Bill Allen reminded me recently of a very interesting man in Visalia’s history. His name is Tyree Harris Bell. Born in Kentucky in 1815, he eventually entered the Civil War on the Confederate side and distinguished himself in battle. Eventually he served under General Nathan Bedford Forrest and under his command, Bell rose to the rank of general himself. After the war, he came to San Joaquin Valley and was active in confederate veteran affairs. Eventually he was appointed by President Grover Cleveland to Agent of the U. S. Land Office in Visalia. His son, Isaac “I.T.” Bell became a prominent Visalia businessman and attorney and is more well-known than his father. Tyree eventually moved to Fresno County and is buried in the town of Sanger. Here is a rather grainy poor picture of General Bell in about 1885 while he was in Visalia.

Mysterious Photo is Identified
Forgive me for publishing the same photograph in two HH postings in a row, but the mystery regarding this great photograph has been solved. Laura Spalding, a long time follower of HH and the soon to be author of an Ivanhoe history book, identified the photo as being an early picture of Mills Grove. In fact it is believed to be the earliest known photograph of little community. Mills Grove was an active area for a number of years, and now it has disappeared. The site is at Mill Drive and Road 160 (Highway 216 near Cutler Park). Thanks Nancy for bringing the photograph to our attention, and Laura for a good identification. Thanks also to Gary Holder for his information on Mills Grove.

Lone Oak Park - Another Photo Surfaces
Early on, Visalians recognized the historical value of the beautiful Valley Oak trees that once dominated our area. By 1900 the vast majority of the giant trees were gone. The few that remained were prized by the residents. By 1913, one such Valley Oak was identified in the intersection of Giddings and Main Street. The community rallied in support of the awkwardly situated tree, and decided that they would make a very small park out of it. The tree became the centerpiece for what became known as Lone Oak Park. At one time, Lone Oak Park was considered to be the smallest park in the world. In 1936 the big tree in the park was removed and the tiny park disappeared. Located in a busy intersection, it became a public safety hazard.  Here is a great old photo that shows some interesting things in and around Lone Oak Park. Notice the light mounted on the tree and you can see the sign at the base of the tree, nice street light, etc. Again this view is looking east thru the intersection of Giddings and Main Street, with Visalia High School on the right. Photo is dated 1930.

“Good For” Token is Found
Greg Porter would like some help from us. He found this token in Visalia while metal detecting, and as you can see it is marked C & B Visalia, Calif. Good for 12 ½ cents in trade. Anyone know what C & B means? It had to be a business. Was it a saloon? I’ve got my fingers crossed that we can solve this one for you Greg. Let’s give it our best, followers.

***I need to apologize. In the last issue of HH I indicated that Lynne Brumit mentioned a vacuum system at the Penney’s store in Visalia. I misquoted her and rather than a vacuum system it was actually a wire that sent paperwork to the office. Sorry about that Lynne. Thanks Peter and others for bringing my error to my attention.

***No pictures have surfaced about Navy Gas, but for those of you interested it was located at 910 E. Main Street near the PPAV Hall in the 1950s. Still looking for a picture.

***An HH visitor asked if anyone knew of a business called the “Lemon” which allegedly was on or near Main Street at the edge of town. It was apparently across the street from a Richfield gas station in the early 1930s. It was described as a “stand” and it was either owned or operated by William Wadsworth and his wife Mabel. Any help would be appreciated.

Whiskey held high carnival last Saturday night and Sunday morning. Knock down and drag out was the order of the day, or rather night, and some of our officials were the leaders in it.
Visalia Delta, April 2, 1863