Sunday, September 8, 2013

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Ed Stewart was the first to get the last mystery spot correct. Congratulations! The marker is in the courtyard area of the Visalia Convention Center, a short distance from the big wall mural there. The plaque marks the general location of the famous Douglass Eucalyptus tree. Nice work Ed!

Is everyone ready for  the next one? Where is this building? Here are your clues:
            1. It is a very large building.
            2. It is packed with communication technology.
            3. It has very few windows.
            4. The building is between 40 and 50 years old.

Where is this structure?  Good luck.

I Love This Bar, but...?
Well, here is a tough one for all of us to work on. I recently received this saloon photograph from Betty Treaster. She believes it to be a Visalia bar, but she doesn't know for sure. It’s a professional photo and mounted accordingly, but no photographer name appears on it. Does anyone recognize it? I've spent a lot of time looking over the photo with a magnifying glass, but other than one clue, I find nothing that gives me any idea as to its identification. The clue that might be helpful in solving this mystery is a brass plaque mounted at the top of the National Cash Register that sets on the counter. The brass nameplate says either I. W. Thurman or L. W. Thurman.  Does the name sound familiar to anyone? Help would be appreciated. Oh to go back to the days of the elegant spittoon!

More Sidewalk Tattoos Found
In the last HH I asked everyone to keep their eyes open for interesting sidewalk and curb markings, and Mike Olmos did just that. As he walked recently on the sidewalk just north of the Kaweah Delta Patient Financial Services building on the southwest corner of Acequia and Locust streets, he noticed these old chrome emblems embedded in the concrete sidewalk. How they got there, who put them there and why are mysteries waiting to be solved.. Tom Spear was a Dodge/Plymouth dealer in that building from about 1926 until at least 1939. Imagine these chrome emblems imbedded in the sidewalk for the last 75 years or so. After looking around the area of the emblems, I also noticed in the sidewalk near the building entrance, this good luck horseshoe which was impressed in the concrete. There must be some interesting stories connected to these fossils. Thanks Mike, for your great observation skills. Just the talent Visalia needs, especially for our new City Manager. Best of luck to you in your new position.

138-Year Old Warehouse Identified
Back in 2008, I believe it was, a building was torn down on the northwest corner of Willis and School streets and revealed an old advertisement painted on an adjacent brick building to the west. The ad had been protected for so many years by the demolished building and although it was faded and barely readable, you could make out the sign. It said:  L. Guggenhime – Dealer Wagons, Farming Implements & Grain. The building with the advertisement on it is on the northeast corner of School and Johnson streets. When this revelation first came to my attention, I wasn't certain as to
what it all meant. The name Guggenhime wasn’t familiar to me. Since then, I have found out through personal research and the work of several others, that the ad had been placed on the Pioneer Warehouse owned by Leon Guggenhime. Recently, I accidentally stumbled onto more information. Inadvertently, I found the following article from the August 6, 1874 Visalia Delta newspaper: "Large Warehouse—R. E. Hyde, E. Jacob, S. Sweet, J. W. Crowley and L. Guggenheim [sic] have united for the purpose of building a first-class warehouse in this place, fifty by one hundred and twenty feet, twenty feet high, and fitted for the storage of eight thousand tons of wheat. The company has purchased a block adjacent to where the depot is now being built. Two hundred and fifty thousand brick have been purchased, and the contract for erecting the building was to have been awarded yesterday." Can you believe this is a 138-year old building?

Nice Old Images Surface
Gordon Bell recently shared a couple of nice old photographs from his family collection. The first is of the East Lynne School. This school was built in the early 1900s along what is now Highway 198. In the early 1950s as the widening of the roadway was taking place east of Visalia, the school was in the way and was torn down. The site of the school is where Mineral King School is today. The second photo is of the Big Orange drive-in, a restaurant Gordon's uncle Jim Bell owned. The Big
Orange was located along Highway 198 just west of the sales yard east of Visalia. This photo was taken in about 1949 and shows Jim Bell and Anna Matilda Devaney. By the way, Jim Bell owned another Big Orange by Kingsburg along 99, I presume. I think there were a lot of these giant oranges throughout the valley. They have become recognizable historic landmarks. Thanks Gordon for these nice photographs.

Studebakers On East Main
Bob Kabchef is a big time Studebaker fan. He owns them, loves them and is very knowledgeable about them. He shared a few photos of Visalia's connection to this famous automobile. These two photographs show the "Stude" dealership called Switzer & Jordan and shows it  at 601 E. Main Street. By the way these are 1939 model cars so I assume they are 1939 pictures. This building and the surrounding ones are still with us. Thanks, Bob, for sharing these great pictures.

Famous Wienies Also in Watsonville
HH follower and lover of local history, Brent Nunes, reminds us that Taylor's has a companion hot dog stand in Watsonville. Brent offered to take a photograph of it and shares it with us here. It is amazing how similar it is with Visalia's. If you're not convinced, just look at the building next to the stand. Thanks Brent for going out of your way to get the photo and for sharing it with us.

Visalia Photographer Goes International
Some time back, Roy Dressel, a Visalia photographer and HH follower, asked me about doing something in HH about historic Visalia photographers. Coincidently, recently Peter Neeley, HH follower and local history aficionado shared some information he recently learned about a man named Edward J. Kildare who was a historic Visalia photographer. When Peter asked me about Kildare, I told him I only had a small file on him, but Peter had much more information. In addition to working in Visalia in 1875, Kildare was in the photography business in Bakersfield as well. Later he moved to Guatemala and apparently lived and worked there as a photographer in the 1880s and 1890s. According to Peter's research, he died about 1901. I'd love to have a photograph of him. Does anyone know of one?

***In the August 2013 issue of Lifestyle Magazine, there is an article about the historic Visalia Fox Theatre and how it has achieved iconic status for Visalia. It can be read online on page 20 at this website address:  

***Starting on September 14, 2013, Fresno State will host the "Valley Firsts" exhibit in their Henry Madden Library. Visalia and Tulare County are represented in this exhibit and will have historic items on display. It is a free exhibition. Will be very worthwhile I’m sure. For more information go to:

***The Green Acres Airport story in the last HH sparked a memory with Lynne Brumit. Her father was the acting postmaster at the one of the local airfields and she remembers every Sunday her family invited student pilots over for dinner. What a nice gesture for those a long way from home. Thanks Lynne for sharing that.

***Speaking of Kaspar Schlaich, the concrete man who laid sidewalk in Visalia and the man  I mentioned in the last HH, Norman Atkins tells us he once owned the Schlaich home and it still stands on Court near Beech Street. He believes it was built prior to 1906.

***Patricia Geiger asked about a photograph of the old Alpha Beta Supermarket at 2701 So. Mooney Blvd. If you have one, she'd sure like to see it. She said the building now has become a 99 cent store. Can anyone help?

Beginning today no more morphine will be provided by the jail officials for any of the inmates of the jail. The prisoners were notified of this yesterday.  Visalia Daily Times, August 22, 1893.