Monday, December 5, 2016

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Congratulations go out to Susan Mangini who was the first to correctly identify the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) three links symbol. It is at the entrance to the Odd Fellows lodge building on the east side of Court Street between Main and Acequia. Nice work Susan!

Now for the next one. This is a plaque mounted in Visalia. Here are the clues:
1.     This location was a school site for many years.
2.      It is near a street that was once called Cottonwood.
3.      It is not mounted on a building
4.      Many “card carriers” pass by this almost everyday.
Where is this plaque? Good luck

Talk About Taxis
Friends Peggy and JM Bragg came across a photo recently that absolutely astounds me and puts a smile on my face. This undated photograph shows the City Taxi Service at 120 No. Locust Street across from Chan Bros. Market. The thought that Visalia had a taxi
service doesn’t surprise me but this photograph shows 14 taxi cabs lined up with a lot of employees standing nearby. I checked the 1944 city directory and sure enough the City Taxi Service is listed. But in 1944 Visalia had only about 9,000 people. Why so many taxis? I’m sure Visalia now with a population of 130,000 doesn’t have 14 taxis. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Thanks Peggy and JM for sharing!

Dedicated to Visalia
Recently Rosemary Hendrickson shared a poem about Visalia that she found in the 1968 COS Tangent. I’m not sure what the Tangent was, but this 8 stanza poem was written by Jim Compton as a dedication to the publication. Jim was quite the Visalia fan. It is worth a read. Was Jim a student at the time? Is he still in Visalia. Thanks Rosemary for finding this cute poem.

Legrand Ellis Insurance
Normita Ellis Error, member of the VUHS class of 1948 and daughter of Legrand Ellis, recently contacted me and mentioned her father. Between Normita and Marsha Robbins, niece to Normita, we have some interesting information and a photograph of Legrand. He came to Three Rivers in 1923, and while recuperating from TB he took a correspondence course to become an insurance agent, which he became. He went to work for Buckman-Mitchell when the company was on No. Church Street. Later he opened his own insurance office at 121 So. Church. This photograph shows Legrand at his office on the west side of Church Street between Main and Acequia. Thanks to Legrand’s daughter and granddaughter for sharing.

Amazing, Simply Amazing
Peter Neeley contacted me some time back and alerted me to an unusual Visalia photograph that he had seen on a Fresno Bee Facebook page. John Walker, historian and a Fresno Bee Staff Photographer, I believe posted this picture believing  it was taken in Fresno, but Peter recognized it as really Visalia. Peter knows his Visalia pictures! Here is the photograph and it clearly shows dozens of motorcycles lined up on the north side of Main Street between Church and Court. The photo is looking west on Main and shows Cross Hardware, Leslie Cook Racket Store, then the Palace Hotel. Across Court Street is J. M. Boynton’s Drug Store (cupola on top). Appears to be early 1900s, maybe a motorcycle rally of some kind? There has got to be an interesting story here. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks John for sharing this photograph and thanks Peter for bringing it to our attention.

Structures, Styles & Stories Program – Next Monday Eve
We all know that Visalia is a pretty amazing place. For lots of reasons, the town is amazing. For one, Visalia has some very neat old buildings…buildings that are not only historically important, but also still in use. How nice is that! We have many that fit in that category, but on Monday evening December 12th beginning at 7:00pm, I will be highlighting 12 buildings that fit in that category. The following old photographs will be included: Visalia Co-operative Creamery (now Arts Visalia), Studebaker Bldg (now 210 Center), Montgomery Auditorium (now L.J. Williams), Fox Theatre,
Town Center Station Post Office (downtown post office), Palace Hotel, Pacific House, Dudley House, Southern Pacific Depot, Spalding House, and Bank of Italy (now Bank of Sierra). At the end of the presentation 12 enlarged (20” x 30”) photographs of the old buildings will be auctioned off and there are two special items also in the auction—two beautiful artistic pieces of history. The program will be at the 210 Center (Locust and Center). It’s free and I will also have my books for sale. The proceeds from the auction will go to the Visalia Rescue Mission. The evening is part of the on-going 210 Connect Community Program, a series sponsored by First Presbyterian Church and the Visalia Times-Delta. Should be an informative and enjoying evening. Hope to see you there.

COS Plays and Musicals
When Richard Drath mentioned “My Fair Lady” in HH some time back,  he tried to recall the year it was put on by COS. Sheila Caskey Holder came to the rescue and remembered it was 1964. Sheila also shared that she had a collection of COS plays and musical programs. And wow, does she have a collection. About 40 of them, one as early as 1951, “The New Moon.” Believe me the local college has performed all the classics. Thanks Sheila for your help on this.

Memoirs of George Washington Duncan
A regular reader of HH shared these memoirs of an old pioneer named George Washington Duncan. It is a fun read, typed on 24 pages with the last 5 or so dealing with Tulare County, especially around the Tule River area. There are a few Visalia references, but not many. “Grizzley” bears and lots of material describing the land. It is dated 1901 however, the date is a little suspect, but it is early. If you would like me to email you a PDF copy, I’d be happy to do that. Just email me and ask for a copy of the “memories” and I will get one to you.

***Byron Smith recently shared that when the famous “The Pioneer” statue by Solon Borglum collapsed at Mooney Grove Park on May 28, 1980, at least partly due to an earthquake here,  he was working there and  remembered seeing in the rubble, “a wooden frame with chicken wire” infrastructure, and recalls the rotting termite damaged wood.  No wonder it collapsed.

***If you would like to know more about the history of Visalia’s Palace Hotel, which by the way is probably the San Joaquin Valley’s oldest commercial building still in use, pick up the November 2016 issue of Lifestyle Magazine, the article starts on page 12. Or you can go online 

***Historian Andrew Crane is working on a historical project that involves Jasper Harrell, a pioneer of Visalia who was probably the richest man in Tulare County during the 1880s. Andrew is looking for a picture of Jasper and I can’t help him. He is trying to find a member of the Harrell family that might have a photograph. Any relatives of Jasper Harrell still around? Help would be appreciated.

Few people beyond the borders of our county, and indeed, some within its boundaries who have never visited our thriving young town, can form any adequate idea of its resources, its rapid advancement in wealth and population, and its prospects of future greatness. Its name is often mentioned abroad, and the inquirer, anxious for information, eagerly inquires, Where is Visalia?

The day however, is not far distant when the whole world shall know where Visalia is, and when its name shall be no more an enigma to the most unsophisticated.   The Tulare County Record and Fresno Examiner (Visalia’s first newspaper), July 2, 1859