Visalia’s Fox Theatre

The gem of downtown Visalia would hands down have to go to the beautiful Fox Theatre. Located on the corner of Main and Encina, the theater was built in 1929-1930 by Los Angeles architect Clifford Balch and engineer Floyd E. Stanbery. The Spanish style exterior doesn’t give those about to enter much indication about the lavish interior, so upon entering your senses are immediately overwhelmed. The interior is a very opulent, East Indian theme. I think you could spend a good part of your day just in the lobby and you probably would not be able to see all of details. The sconces, stairs, and even the ceilings are decorated. One of my favorite details are the elephants painted on the interior beams. You can get an extra close view when you are on the second floor. The Fox Theatre in Visalia is one of many theater’s built by William Fox and his Fox Theatre Corporation, that grew into 20th Century Fox. It opened its doors on February 27, 1930. The opening night was packed and people lined the streets to visit something so new to the valley. In 1976 the Fox was converted into a triplex movie house in an attempt to keep up with modern demand. Despite the changes the money just wasn’t there and by 1996 it was shut down and put up for sale. No buyers were taking an interest despite a large amount of interest from the public and a desire from many to preserve this historical theater. A group, Friends of the Fox, was formed and a year later they were given the building by the seller and after much hard work and many donations the Fox reopened to a sold out house on November 20, 1999.

We have had the pleasure of seeing many different concerts and events at this theater but were overjoyed when we asked for a private tour to get some behind-the-scenes pictures for a write up on our blog. Our request was granted by the Fox’s Operations Manager, Kent Stahl. Stahl is also a local musician and sits on the board of the Sound N’ Vision organization, qualities that must give him that extra something that it takes for someone to work so hard in such a place. The Fox is like a maze and Stahl knows it like the back of his hand. He explained to us about the different access points to the roof, small ladders (and I use the word ladder quite loosely, these are pretty much metal poles with places to put your feet) that require the use of harnesses and cables, and an attic that even on a cool afternoon was blazing hot. He was not only gracious enough to let us explore the space, he went out of his way to do some extra cleaning, turn on the stage lights, and put up with my millions of questions over the hour and a half that he spent with us.

The pictures below speak for themselves, the Fox Theatre is a very special place and without the support of our community wouldn’t be what it is today. That support is something that is needed now more than ever. The theater is having its marquee replaced to look more like the original with the white lights surrounding the performers names. To help fund this project they are asking for donations and you can help to “light up the Fox”! Click here to donate, find out how to volunteer here, and for more information on this wonderful location!

IMG_4841 IMG_4845 IMG_4846 IMG_4848 IMG_4849 IMG_4852 IMG_4851 IMG_4856 IMG_4857 IMG_4858 IMG_4862 IMG_4863 IMG_4874 IMG_4875 IMG_4877 IMG_4881 IMG_4883 IMG_4884 IMG_4885 IMG_4887 IMG_4888 IMG_4891 IMG_4894 IMG_4898 IMG_4901 IMG_4902

Election Tree

There is something special about uncovering the past of an area you had previously considered yourself to be quite familiar with. I have found in writing these stories for our blog each addition brings a handful of more ideas for us to discover. We have grown up and spent most of our lives as residents of Tulare County and last week found ourselves standing alongside a country road that neither of us had ever driven on before. Echoes of gunshots rang out between the surrounding foothills as we had decided to hunt out the election tree while many other area residents were after a different prize on the first day of dove hunting season. The Election Tree, or Charter Oak Tree is listed as a California Historical Landmark and it marks the location where the election by which Tulare County was organized took place. A group lead Major James D. Savage took their meeting outdoors on that blistering hot valley summer day on July 10, 1852. The group of men gathered underneath the large oak tree and voted to create Tulare County. The original plaque that was placed here was stolen in 2009 and the Tulare County Historical Society held a re-dedication ceremony on February 5, 2011 and placed the marker that is now there today.

We thought it was pretty funny that while we were trying to get the perfect shot of  the tree another couple pulled up and parked right in front of the tree and went up to read the new monument marker. I love the idea that this location drew in two sets of visitors at the same time on an early Saturday morning. Whether by accident or not it is nice to see other people wanting to stop and learn more about out area’s history. They moved on and we were left to stand under this tree, 162 years later and talk about what changes our county has seen.

This is a beautiful area for an afternoon drive, to locate the Election Tree and marker take highway 198 and exit heading north on road 182, turn left onto avenue 304, and right onto road 180. Turn left onto Charter Oak Drive and the Election Tree will be about .3 miles down on the left hand side.

IMG_4738

IMG_4743

The marker on the far left is the one placed in 2011 by the Tulare County Historical Society. The stone next to it held the plaque that was stolen.

E Tree

Photo taken in 1942. Photo courtesy of the Annie Mitchell History Room, Tulare County Library, Visalia CA

ET

California Centennial Commission placed this historical marker in 1949. It was stolen in 2009 but a new marker stands today thanks to the Tulare County Historical Society. Photo courtesy of the Annie Mitchell History Room, Tulare County Library, Visalia CA.

IMG_4736

Other Election Tree visitors!

IMG_4733

Evans and Sontag

In the stories of Tulare County’s outlaws and bandits, two names are often the first to be associated, Evans and Sontag. These men and their story is even more interesting though because they do not quite fit the bill of your typical outlaw. Neither man had a past of crime, convictions, or had spent time in a jailhouse. They became the focus of an intensive manhunt and had a $10,000.00 reward luring all types to join in an attempt to capture them, even some once considered close family friends! They were wanted and on the run for ten months with the climax of their tale at a shootout at the Stone Corral, located approximately twenty miles north east of Visalia on June 11, 1893. We attempted to contact the property owner’s as the Stone Corral still stands today but they were not open to visitors during a high fire season so we hope to add our own personal photographs at a later time.

We were very excited to begin the research for this post. I have been vaguely familiar with the names Evans & Sontag. My husband and I both really enjoyed Terry Ommen’s coverage of their tale in his book, Wild Tulare County, which I can’t recommend enough if you love stories about outlaws and the old west. I expected to learn about the bandits, Chris Evans and John Sontag and feel a connection because we both have lived in the same area, though 125 years apart. What I did not expect was to see these two men as anything more than criminals or outlaws. However, I can see why many members of the community rallied to help them while the search was on to find them. Both were quite extraordinary men, and this is their extraordinary tale.

Like many tales of the Old West, a string of bad luck seemed to follow a good family. Chris Evans was no exception to this. Born twelve miles from Ottawa, Canada in 1847 to an Irish father and German mother. At the age of sixteen he ran away from home and crossed into the United States during the height of the civil war in 1863. He enlisted into the Union Army in Buffalo under a fake name.  Evans never became a naturalized United States citizen. According to Wallace Smith, author of the book Prodigal Sons: The Adventures of Christopher Evans and John Sontag, Evans’ daughter Eva asked her father about the name he had used in the war he replied, ““Can you keep a secret?” “Yes,” she answered eagerly. “Well so can I.”” (Wallace, 19). After his service ended he and army buddy headed West, and in a bit of foreshadowing, in the way only fate can provide, they chose to walk their journey along the railways. Evans decided to head south once he hit San Benito County ending up in Visalia.   He earned an honest living as a teamster hauling lumber from Cedar Springs in the mountains. The 3 day trip allowed for many stops at inns along the way, and it was at such an inn where Chris met his wife Molly. She was 15, he was 27 and they were married the same year they met. These happy times were shortly followed by a series of heartbreaking misfortune. Molly gave birth prematurely to their first son, he only lived two hours. The second child born, Eva, was born weighing only two pounds, but somehow was able to survive. Their next child, a son named Elmer was born in 1878 but died two years later after suffering from diphtheria. The fourth child born was another girl, Ynez. In 1882 a third daughter, Winifred was born. During this time of celebration and loss Evans continued to build his reputation as a hard-working man and he worked closely with the railroad companies and farmers. He saw the price gouging forced upon the farmers by the Southern Pacific Railroad. When you think of a gun slinging bandit, a train robbing outlaw, you don’t usually think of Shakespeare, poetry, and an aversion to foul language. All of these traits belonged to Chris Evans. He had a voracious love of reading, he could recite lengthy sonnets by memory, and acquaintances he made were often astonished by how well read he was. Once a group of men hired him as a guide to hunt in the mountains and they could not believe how they would find his face in a book the moment they took a pause to rest while hiking. One remarked that he had read more than the combination of educated men on the trip.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans was sentenced to life in prison when he was convicted in 1893. However, he later was paroled. Photo courtesy of the Annie Mitchell History Room, Tulare County Library, Visalia CA

Evans' family

Evans’ family pose on Strawberry Ave. and N.W. 2nd Ave. in Visalia, CA, in 1896. Pictured are Winifred Evans, Eva Evans, Mrs. Chris Evans with baby Carl, Mrs. Byrd and George Byrd (Mrs. Evans’ brother). Photo courtesy of the Annie Mitchell History Room, Tulare County Library, Visalia, CA.

 

Chris Evans home

Chris Evans’ Visalia home located at Houston and Dinuba Blvd. in Visalia, CA. Photo courtesy of the Annie Mitchell History Room, Tulare County Library, Visalia, CA.

 

John Sontag was born fourteen years after Evans in 1861 in Mankato, Minnesota. He headed west in 1878 and began working for the Southern Pacific Railroad. While working in Fresno he was injured on the job when was crushed between railroad cars. He was told he could return to a lighter duty position once he recovered, but the railroad company did not stay true to its word. Sontag was only able to afford to stay in Fresno while friends chipped in for his room and board while he tried to recover.

Sontjohn_John_Sontag

Photo courtesy of the Tulare County Museum, Visalia, CA.

 

One day, while in Tulare on business Chris Evans ran into an acquaintance at the train station. Sitting nearby was John Sontag, still too weak to stand for long lengths. This group of men began to trade stories about loses they had been dealt by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Evans told the story of how his wife’s uncle’s family had been beaten out of their land by the railroad and those issues lead to what was known as the Mussel Slough tragedy where six settlers and two railroad men were killed. John Sontag spoke up about his issues against the company. Evans felt compelled to offer Sontag a place to stay with his family in exchange for light work, Sontag accepted. He soon after became engaged to Evans’ oldest daughter, Eva, though the marriage never took place as their paths veered off the course they had once imagined.

The first robbery attributed to Evans and Sontag happened at the train station in Pixley, CA on February 22, 1889 . When the train arrived at the station two armed men boarded  the train. A deputy constable from the city of Delano sensed there was a problem and boarded the train as well, the bandits shot at he and another man, killing the deputy. They then attempted to force open a door where J.R. Kelly, an express car employee, was hiding. When he refused the set off an explosive, it did not open the door but Kelly knew they meant business so he obliged their demands. Once inside they packed their loot of nearly $3,000 and escaped.  Over the next few years similar train robberies happened in Earlimart, Visalia, Goshen, Ceres.

Also around this time John Sontag’s brother came to Tulare County. He liked his drink and one day in a bar in Visalia he was telling stories about these train robberies that only someone involved could have known. Police were tipped off and he was soon arrested and sentenced to life in Folsom Prison. On August 5, 1892 police went to Evans’ home to question John Sontag about his brother as part of their investigation. A gunfight began and the police were forced to flee. This began the intensive manhunt for Evans’ and Sontag and a reward of $10,000 was placed on their heads. The duo spent most of their time on the run hiding out in the Sierra Nevada mountains and they would receive some help from those living in remote mountain locations. Eventually though, even those they considered friends, began to try to hunt them down for a piece of the prize.

On June 11, 1893 the battle to bring them down took place at the Stone Corral. The posse tracking them had been tipped off that they would be crossing through this location in Eshom Valley. Their patience paid off, Evans and Sontag were making their way towards Stone Corral. As they approached Evans spotted the posse and began to fire. The shootout lasted over and hour but as the sun set they were both wounded and hiding behind a straw pile. John Sontag had been shot several times and the posse found him semiconscious the next morning. Chris Evans had escaped, in Wallace Smith’s book, Prodigal Sons, he details an account later given by Sontag on his deathbed about how he begged Evans to end his life and put him out of his misery but Chris Evans could not oblige. Sontag urged him to make a run for it alone, he had a family to look after and Sontag knew his life would soon be over. Evans then crawled to the home of a nearby friend but they notified the sheriff of his arrival. The battle left him very injured, he lost his right eye and had to have his left arm amputated below the elbow.

Stone Corral

Aftermath of the battle at Stone Corral. John Sontag lays wounded in the foreground. The U.S. Marshal guard and posse propped him up against the hay to take this photo. Photo courtesy of the Annie Mitchell History Room at the Tulare County Library in Visalia, CA.

Chris Evans-page-001

Chris Evans after the shootout at the Stone Corral. He lost his right eye and had to have his lower left arm amputated. Photo courtesy of the Tulare County Museum, Visalia, CA.

 

Evans was tried for murder but before sentencing, he and another man in jail escaped the Fresno County Jail. He remained on the run again but officials tricked him into returning to Visalia on false rumors that his son was gravely ill. On February 19, 1894, almost 5 years to the day from the first train robbery in Pixley, Evans finally surrendered. He was well-behaved in Folsom and on May 1, 1911 he was released on parole and moved to Oregon to live with his daughter Eva. He died at age 70 in Portland, Oregon. He was laid to rest in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in 1917.

grave

Photo courtesy of findagrave.com

IMG_0552

Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland, OR. Photo courtesy of our awesome historian in the field, and favorite Oregon residents, Carly and James Brittain-Gore.

IMG_6033

Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland, OR. Photo courtesy of our awesome historian in the field, and favorite Oregon residents, Carly and James Brittain-Gore.

 

I don’t know why it came as such a surprise that these two men met only a half a mile from where we currently live but it just made the story seem that much more exciting to us! Another piece of the puzzle came when we learned that John Sontag was buried in Fresno, CA. We decided to head up early one Sunday morning to try to find his headstone. It was a very humid morning, it felt like we were walking in a cemetery in the South rather than Central California. John Sontag is buried in the Calvary Cemetery off of Blythe. This is a beautiful old cemetery, one that we spent a little over an hour walking up and down the aisles of, and after much searching my husband was the one who finally found Sontag’s grave. We had walked past it multiple times but had subconsciously brushed it off as we had wrongfully assumed it would be one that had not been recently visited. In fact it had two American flags and multiple flower bouquets decorating it.

 

john sontag cemetary

Here is where John Sontag has been laid to rest in the Calvary Cemetery in Fresno, California.

 

 The story of Christopher Evans and John Sontag has provided us with a fascinating trip through history. We felt close to the story as we have walked on the same city streets, lived in the same towns, and were even able to visit one of their graves. For further reading on these two men and their mark on Tulare County’s history please consult the following publications and websites:

Wild Tulare County by Terry Ommen

Prodigal Sons by Wallace Smith PH.D.

Evans and Sontag, various authors published by Pioneer Publishers

http://www.eshomvalley.com

http://www.tularecountylibrary.org/historyroom.html

 

gun

Gun and bullet casings used by Chris Evans, donated to the Tulare County Museum.

 

Eva Evans

Chris Evans’ daughter Eva. She was extremely close to her father. While he was in jail awaiting trial for the string of train robberies and murder she starred alongside her mother in a play about her father. Photo courtesy of the Tulare County Museum.

China Alley

One of the reasons I love working on this blog is having an opportunity to discover areas so close to home that I had no previous knowledge of. Today’s post features one such location. I have been to Hanford so many times, we have seen concerts at the historic Fox Theater, eaten downtown, tasted massive and delicious ice cream sundaes at Superior Dairy, and I planned a wedding at the Carnegie Library Museum. In all of these trips I never came across China Alley. While we are finishing up some loose ends for another post we went searching online for something to post about from a nearby location. Hanford was thrown out there and my husband suggested China Alley. He had learned about it from an episode of Huell Howser’s California Gold. We were not disappointed!

China Alley is actually more of a neighborhood but the alley is a time capsule.The area became home to a large influx of Chinese immigrants starting in 1877 that came to work on the railroads and in the agriculture business. Stepping into the alley you feel like you are stepping back in time, or onto an incredible movie set. The shops ranged from grocery stores, natural medicine shops, boarding houses, tea rooms, and even a gambling establishment. Sadly, this location has made the list of the eleven most endangered historic sites in the United States. Hanford does not have a trained preservation staff to ensure the safety and proper renovations of the buildings. While deteriorating, it is still such an incredible location. I truly hope its value can be realized by the community and it can be saved in time. The Taoist Temple Museum, which is only opened on the first Saturday of the month, has small gift shop and they donate the proceeds to the preservation efforts of not only the museum but the entire historic district. You can find a link to the China Alley Historic District website here for more information. If you are able, I recommend taking a trip here, the details on the buildings, locks, and signs are a glimpse into the vibrant beauty of this place. It is easy to imagine the street bustling with people, the smell of one of the many nearby restaurants wafting through the air, while the light catches the streamers hanging from many of the balconies sending reflections across the street. Though it was only my husband and I in the alley you get a sense of the many souls that once called this place home.

IMG_8198

IMG_8189 IMG_8194 IMG_8197  IMG_8200 IMG_8202 IMG_8206 IMG_8225 IMG_8226 IMG_8223 IMG_8222 IMG_8221 IMG_8219 IMG_8214IMG_8207 IMG_8211

IMG_8212

Happy 4th of July!

In honor of our nation’s independence I thought we would share a few photographs that give a glimpse into the lives of those celebrating the same holiday many years ago. All photos are from the Annie Mitchell History Room, Tulare County Library, Visalia, CA.

John Howell, the Porterville, CA, marshal is shown in his uniform in 1902.

John Howell, the parade marshal in Porterville, CA, in 1902.

4th of July parade in 1886 in downtown Visalia on Main Street looking east from Court Street.

4th of July parade in 1886 in downtown Visalia on Main Street looking east from Court Street.

Fourth of July parade entry in Visalia, CA, in the 1920s.

Fourth of July parade entry in Visalia, CA, in the 1920s.

A home that was decorated for July 4th in 1908. The home is still in use at 220 N.W. 1st Avenue in Visalia.

A home that was decorated for July 4th in 1908. The home is in 2002 still in use at 220 N.W. 1st Avenue in Visalia.

Historic Jails

 

 

First Visalia City Jail

This jail now resides at the Tulare County Museum located in Mooney Grove park. It was donated to the museum by Luella Hyde and her sons. This jail was built in 1872 on the north side of Courthouse Square on Court and Center. This facility was used by both city and county offenders. It was only used for a few years at this location, before the new courthouse was built containing its own jail. This jail was then sold to R.E. Hyde and was moved across the street. In the early 1920’s it was moved to the Hyde Ranch west of Visalia.

The jail was built from vertical 4×12″ planks and covered inside and outside with horizontal boards. At one point it contained a partition inside, that created two separate cells. Pictured below you can see how it looks today at the Tulare County Museum. On the inside, if you look closely, you can see the etchings made by the former inmates while they were held here.

 Image

Image

Interior view of the cell walls, note the “art” the inmates scratched into the wall on the right side of the photo.

Image

Image

The Old Tulare County Jailhouse

Located on the corner of Oak ad Church Street, the old Tulare County Jail now houses commercial offices as well as a restaurant, Jack & Charlie’s in the basement. The marker out front reads:

“In 1854 the supervisors of Tulare County authorized construction of a 16′ x 16′ oak log structure with a courthouse upstairs and a jail downstairs. Before this, the most dangerous prisoners were chained to a large oak log out in the open. In 1858 a brick courthouse was constructed with the jail again on the ground floor. The prisoners were still placed in chains bolted to the oak floor. This served both the county and the city of Visalia. In 1870 the county jail was no longer to be used as a city jail. In August of 1870 the Visalia Delta noted ‘The other day we noticed a prisoner of the city chained to an oak tree in the courthouse yard; we think this an outrage in a civilized community.’ Three years later a 14′ x 24′ city jail was constructed. in 1876 a new courthouse was built with the jail on the ground floor. This an earlier jails were not escape proof and were too small as the county grew in size. In 1890 a new updated county jail was built on this site. It was constructed of brick and was two stories high with a basement, and it was considered escape proof. In September of 1891 Grat and William Dalton of the famous Dalton Gang were imprisoned here on suspicion of train robbery. Grat was found guilty. The other gang members headed back to Indian territory. Grat boasted this jail would not hold him. After having the other prisoners sing loudly for two days to cover the noise of him sawing his cell bars, Grat escaped during the night of September 27, 1891. The jail originally fronted on Church Street. When rebuilt in 1918, the entry was changed to the Oak Street side as it is to this day.”

IMG_3909

IMG_3910

IMG_3912

IMG_3913

IMG_3914

 

On historian Terry Ommen’s blog, Historic Happenings this photo was posted showing seized moonshine in front of the County Jail around the 1920’s, Photo credit: http://visaliahistory.blogspot.com/

 

Hogwallow Preserve

It isn’t too often that you hear of something that has you completely stumped, I’m talking furrowed brow confusion. Such was the case a few months back while I sat in a meeting for the Tulare County Historical Society and an item discussed on the agenda happened to be the Hogwallow Preserve. I whispered to my boss, “what’s a hogwallow?”. I don’t think I had ever even heard the word. I set out to do some research.

It turns out a hogwallow, also known as a mima mound, is just that, a mound. They can range in height and those found here in the valley are created by groundhogs that cause water to settle beneath the surface. During wet seasons vernal pools form at their bases. Unfortunately, due the extensive drought California is facing, our visit was during an extremely dry season.

It is because of one man and his family that we are able to take a look back at what a lot of the valley floor looked like before fields were plowed, farmed, or used for housing, and business development. A satellite image of the area gives you an idea of how special this preserve really is. Dr. Phil Buckman purchased 40 acres of land in 1943 and through the years he saw many of his neighbors leveling their properties to plant a variety of crops that thrived in the area. Dr. Buckman appreciated the land and saw that it was becoming more and more unique. On April 22nd 1979 his wish to keep this area forever preserved was realized when the land was donated to the Tulare County Historical Society. A maker has been placed at the north side of the preserve. To those passing by in a hurry, distracted on their way to or from the National Parks, or even those that drive the route daily, these mounds may simply look like a small parcel of land that looks a bit overgrown. To those that know what this area is, that have stopped, gotten out, and looked a little closer those are the lucky ones that know the true value of this land.

If you would like the chance to see what our valley floor looked like before the pioneer settlers the preserve is easy to find and is located about 14 miles from downtown Visalia near the intersection of Road 220 and Avenue 314.

More information about the Hogwallow Preserve, written by Dr. Buckman’s daughter Delora, can be found here.

photo (15)

The marker placed by the Tulare County Historical Society.

photo (12)

The Sierra Nevada Foothills in the background.

photo (13)

photo (14)

photo (17)

My husband demonstrating the ease of the small platform you go over to get a closer view of the marker placed by the Tulare County Historical Society.

Though we went in late spring, in a very dry year the preserve is still a very peaceful location. I did want to provide a glimpse at what it looks like in early spring as well. This photo is from netstate.com.

The Pogue Hotel, Lemon Cove

The history of the small town of Lemon Cove, CA cannot be told without telling the history of the Pogue family and the mark they made on this area. In 1857 the Pogues came to California and moved around Tulare County twice before settling in what was then known as Lime Kiln, but would later be named Lemon Cove. James William Center Pogue planted orange and lemon trees and was the first to introduce lemons into the area.

The Pogue Hotel, originally called “The Cottonwoods” was constructed in 1879 and served not only as a home to Pogue and his nine children but also as a place for weary miners, loggers, and travelers to lay their heads for a night. The thirteen room hotel also provided meals to those passing through and soon become a popular gathering place.

J.W.C. Pogue died at the hotel in 1907, his youngest daughter Nora Alice, who had been born at the hotel and her husband, Dr. R.B. Montgomery lived there until 1920. In 1936 she deeded the hotel to the Lemon Cove Women’s Club.

We were delighted to hear back so quickly when we e-mailed the Lemon Cove Women’s Club about featuring the Pogue Hotel on our blog. Club member Mona Wyatt was gracious enough to open up for us, despite being closed for summer as there is no air conditioning in the hotel. She gave us a tour and explained about the collection now housed here. Even though they don’t quite view themselves as a museum the Lemon Cove Women’s Club has done a very impressive job displaying a rather large collection of artifacts, clothing, and furniture all pertaining to the history of the Pogue family and the history of Lemon Cove.

Without the hard work and dedication of their organization the history of this location may have been lost, as many of the historical sites in this area have unfortunately been. Throughout the year, in cooler seasons that is, the public is welcome to tour the Pogue Hotel when the Women’s Club meets and also at special events and fundraisers. On their website you can find a copy of their wish list and an e-mail address to enquire about donations. Every bit helps and I encourage readers to make a donation to help continue the preservation of such a historic site.

Related links:

 Lemon Cove Women’s Club

SAMSUNG CSC

Photo courtesy of lemoncovewc.org

photo (5)photo (36)

photo (18) photo (35) photo (6) photo (7) photo (8) photo (10) photo (23)  photo (25) photo (26) photo (27) photo (28) photo (29) photo (30) photo (31) photo (32) photo (35)

1906 Visalia Flood

In 1906 a levee at the St. John’s River in Visalia broke and water rushed into Visalia from the north. An article published in the Los Angeles Herald on June 15th in 1906 explained, “parts of the town are now inundated to depths ranging from a few inches to two feet” and goes on to discuss that many orchards had also been severely damaged. Below are a couple of photographs that we were able to try and shoot from the same angle. The last two photos didn’t include cross streets but were taken on East Main Street.

Image

This image provided by the Tulare County Museum.

 

Image

This photo was taken standing in roughly the same spot looking east on Center Street.

Image

Photo provided by the Tulare County Museum.

Image

The photo we took was taken from a similar angle at the corner of Court and Center Street. Note the low cement wall wrapping around the buildings, it is the only item still remaining in both photographs.

Image

East Main Street. Photo provided by the Tulare County Museum.

Image

East Main Street. Photo provided by the Tulare County Museum.