Saturday, March 12, 2016

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Congratulations go out to Tom Link who was the first to
correctly identify the 1876 courthouse cornerstone. It had been built into the 1876 courthouse located in Courthouse Square on Court Street between Center and Oak. Nice work, Tom. By the way, the 1876 cornerstone was salvaged from the courthouse demolition and is mounted in the current Burrel Ave courthouse breezeway.

Now for the next one. Here are your clues:
1) This is on government property.
2)  It has been on the site since probably 1933.
3)  It serves a patriotic purpose.
4)  It is by a street that means ditch.
Where is this?

A Main Street Beauty
Bruce Geiger was on the internet recently and found this very nice photograph. It’s obviously a postcard but I had never seen this one before, similar but not exactly. It is a view of Main Street looking east from about Encina. On the far left is the Carnigie Library (gone now) and on the far right is the Askins Sheet Metal Works (also gone now.) The Askins business was at this location from 1904 to 1911. In order to date this picture, it helps to know the library was finished in 1904, so I date this photograph to be from the first decade of the 20th century. There are a few interesting things about this photograph. Notice the dirt streets, cement sidewalks, and there are still some wooden buildings on Main Street. I sure like this photograph! Thanks Bruce for snagging it off the internet and sharing it with us.

Visalia Steam Laundry—Quite an Operation
Recently, Marian Shippey Cote shared a 1924 Visalia Union High School yearbook. I had seen it before, but this time, I spied an advertising photo that caught my attention. It was one of the Visalia Steam Laundry and their fleet of delivery vans. As you probably
remember, the laundry was on the southeast corner of Encina and Center streets. It was a big operation with lots of employees. I have also included here a 1908 interior photograph of the laundry which was provided by Peggy and JM Bragg. The laundry burned to the ground in 1936. Their business then moved to East Mineral King I believe. Thanks to Marian and the Braggs for sharing their photograph and yearbook.

Foresters of America—Another Fraternal Organization
Recently, Marian Shippey Cote shared a ribbon with me from her family collection of mementos. I have to admit, I don’t know much about Mineral King Court No. 182 of the Foresters of America in Visalia. Obviously, we know it existed. I know in the early 1900s they met in the Woodmen of the World (W.O.W.) hall every Wednesday evening. The hall was upstairs in the building now called Times Place located on west side Court Street between and Main and Acequia. Does anyone know anything about the Foresters of America, especially the local chapter? Thanks, Marian for sharing.

Acme—A Local Ice Cream Favorite

And again I want to thank Marian Shippey Cote for going through family mementos and sharing this with us. This time she found a 1923 Oak yearbook from the Visalia Union High School and in it was a full page ad for the Acme Ice Cream Company. Note that they specialized in fancy ice creams and liquid punch. They were located at 309 N. Garden and their building is still there, and this 104 year old building is still looking good.  The second image included here is obviously the building during its ice cream days. I have been told the building was constructed in about 1912. Is anyone else trying to figure out what “liquid punch” was?

Baca Brothers—Reflecting on the ‘60s & ‘70s

Recently, I heard from Hugh Baca and although he doesn’t live in Visalia now, he did in the 1960s and 1970s. On both sides of his family, there are deep roots in Visalia. The Bacas and the Mooneys go back to some early years in Visalia’s history. Hugh suggested that I include in HH material from the 1960-70s era also. I admitted to him that I have a bias for the older Visalia history, but he makes an excellent point about including later history. So let’s do it and include some of our 1960s-1970s history. After all, the 1960s were pretty active years with the Vietnam War, peace rallies, the Beatles, drugs, hippies, long hair, flower children…well, you get the picture. Hugh supplied a couple of photographs to kick off the modern history era for HH. The first one is Hugh in 1971one year after graduation from Mt. Whitney High School. Here he is shown on his Harley Davidson...sort of an Easy Rider look. In later years, Hugh spent his career in the medical field dealing with heart and cardiology equipment. The second photo is of Hugh's brother Jeff in his fatigues while serving in Vietnam in 1969. Jeff, now deceased, was a machinist in the bay area and retired to the central coast. Thanks Hugh for the nudge. Anyone else care to share your 1960s-1970s experiences? You’re fine, you can’t be prosecuted—the statute of limitations has expired!

Courthouse Annex Photograph Surfaces
Jeff Edwards of Porterville, a 93-year old historian and photographer, has been writing and taking pictures for almost all of his life. Not only is he a great photographer, he is a prolific writer of local history. You are fortunate if you have any of Jeff’s books. Recently, Jeff shared this photograph with me. I don’t think he took it, but it is a beauty and was taken soon after the courthouse annex building was finished. So I’m guessing this photograph was probably taken about 1936.This old timer building is still standing, but is showing its age. Thanks Jeff for sharing this wonderful photo of the building in its glory days.

VHS Lawn Fete—A Big Fundraiser

The Visalia High School had a history of events designed to raise money for the school. One of these more memorable events was called a Garden or Lawn Fete. These yearly affairs were similar to a school carnival. For years, these festivities including a wild west show, even had a firearm exhibit and shooting match, bronco riding and other activities. Hundreds of people would attend and good sums of money would be raised for the school. This is the ribbon worn in support of the event. In 1904 this Lawn Fete would have been held
at the Visalia High School Campus when it was at the Oval. This is what the high school looked like in about1904. Thanks, Marian, for sharing this neat old ribbon.

***If you would like to read about Leo the Lion, the MGM mascot’s  visit to Visalia, pickup a copy of the February 2016 issue of  Lifestyle Magazine. The article begins on page 12 or you can read it online at

***On February 27th Mearle Heitzman passed away at the age of 94. He, of course, was the namesake for the legendary Mearle’s College Drive In. Visalia was so fortunate to have such a talented businessman who was such a gentleman. Thanks to the initiative of Annie Silveria and the willingness of The Habit restaurant, a tribute to Mearle was placed on the marquee of the restaurant along Mooney Blvd. Thanks Annie and thanks to The Habit for helping to honor such an important man in Visalia history.

Thomas Flynn, the chronic nuisance, was arrested yesterday by City Marshal Stewart, and arraigned before Justice Holder. The judge gave him fifteen minutes to get out of town, and Flynn made sidewalks smoke in traveling over it in carrying out the court’s judgment. Daily Morning Delta, November 7, 1893