Travel, Leisure & Fun for South Valley Adults


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  • Court Smith – A Tulare County Lawman

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated May 2, 2024

    I'm told that Rudyard Kipling, the well-known English novelist once said, "There's a man who has lived more stories that I might invent." Exactly who this famous writer was referring to is not known, but based on Kipling's words, he could have been describing a longtime Tulare County lawman named Courtland "Court" Smith. Smith was born on January 30, 1876, in Fairbury, Illinois. As a small boy, he moved with his parents to California. They settled in Tulare in 1888, where his...

  • Tipton Lindsey - An Important Tulare County Pioneer

    Terry Ommen|Updated Mar 2, 2024

    There is a man in Tulare County history that contributed so much to make the county what it is today. His name is Tipton Lindsey. His name oftentimes creates confusion as he is not connected in any way to the Tulare County towns of Tipton or Lindsay as his name might imply, but instead the man with the unusual name can lay claim to being one of Tulare County's most important pioneers. Tipton Lindsey was born in Delphi, Carroll County, Indiana on May 21, 1829. He was the...

  • Tulare County Museum Holds Grand Opening for Latest Addition

    Updated Mar 2, 2024

    The Tulare County Museum has announced the grand opening of its latest addition, a state-of-the-art building dedicated to showcasing agricultural equipment meticulously restored by local schools. The restored equipment will be displayed along with additional agricultural equipment from the museum's collection to illuminate the processes of farming. The Tulare County Museum is a county-based museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history that has shaped the...

  • Devil's Brew Was Stirring in Visalia's Past

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off Hisotry|Updated Jan 4, 2024

    Human attraction with alcoholic beverages is a worldwide condition. It's been that way for millennia. Its taste and its effects on the consumer causes many to seek it out. For some drinkers, Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said, "Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried with few tensions and more tolerance." For others, the concoction was evil with destructive effects. In 1898, Visalia newspaperman Alonzo Melville Doty spoke for them when he poetically wrote, "He...

  • Fort Visalia-Marked Forever

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Nov 11, 2023

    On April 18, 1852, a small wagon train of settlers left Red Rock, Iowa heading west. They traveled for several months, arrived in California, and in the fall they camped on a fertile forested piece of land that would become the town of Visalia. Led by three brothers - Osee, Warren, and Reuben Matthews, the group was looking for a home, preferably one that could turn into a new town. The Matthews family had experience with grist or grain mills, and these millers were anxious...

  • They Left Their Mark on Tulare County

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Sep 4, 2023

    Ninety years ago, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established in America as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. The program was one of many designed to put the country back to work after it was hit hard by the effects of the Great Depression, which had created massive unemployment. Many of the job-related programs of that era were aimed at finding work for the primary breadwinner of the family. But the CCC was different as it focused on men between...

  • The Pioneer Is Gone – Something Should Be Done!

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Jul 16, 2023

    In 1915, the famous American artist Solon Borglum revealed to the world a statue he called "The Pioneer." It stood at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco at the entrance to the Court of Flowers. It depicted a "triumphant American" man on horseback with a buffalo skin, carrying a rifle and an axe. It represented a rugged pioneer advancing forward on his way to winning the West. Nearby at the exhibition stood James Earle Fraser's "The End of the Trail",...

  • Visalia Gleaning Seniors Serving for Nearly 50 Years

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated May 25, 2023

    Tulare County is fortunate to have an abundance of food, and that's why it is called a breadbasket to the world. Unfortunately, the county is also known for its high poverty rate. Based on 2021 U.S. Census figures, nearly one in every five county residents live in poverty. And undoubtedly within that group some go hungry and regularly wonder about their next meal. Government - federal, state, and local - does much to address the hunger problem through various assistance...

  • When Ice Came to Town

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Mar 2, 2023

    Today it's an almost indispensible commodity, especially if you live or visit the San Joaquin Valley in the summer. It is a common staple in almost all homes, restaurants and any place that caters to the public, and it comes in all forms including blocks, cubes and crushed. For many it is important for tea, sodas and many adult drinks that normally are served "on the rocks." Its versatility makes it useful for treating painful injuries, and it's essential for creating a hard...

  • Ground Observer Corps – Looking Skyward for America

    Terry Ommen|Updated Jan 3, 2023

    World War II brought out love of country in so many ways in America. Thousands of young men and women joined the armed forces and, on the home front, many civilians made countless patriotic contributions like buying war bonds and collecting valuable commodities like scrap iron. Intense patriotism was everywhere including Tulare County. Many of Tulare County's home front efforts are well known, but there was one that is frequently overlooked - the work of the Ground Observer...

  • The Exeter Race Riot

    Terry Ommen|Updated Nov 7, 2022

    The Tulare County town of Exeter has many bright spots and important claims to fame in its history. It was home to the famous red Emperor grapes, was selected to have a beautiful Carnegie Library, and was one time headquarters of the popular Visalia Electric Railroad. But 93 years ago, one unfortunate incident cast a dark shadow on the town's amazing historic achievements. An event so noteworthy that the Exeter Sun published an "extra" edition of its newspaper bearing the...

  • Millwood and Stagecoaching to the Timber

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Jul 24, 2022

    Stage travel in the mid to late 19th century was a common form of transportation. Even though the ride could be bumpy and dusty, it was preferred by many to riding horseback, bicycling or walking. So, entrepreneurial businessmen established stage lines to the more popular destinations. One of those routes was the Visalia-to-Millwood line. Millwood, first called Sequoia Mills, was a popular mountain settlement just over the Fresno County line near General Grant National Park....

  • News from the Visalia Migratory Labor Camp

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated May 6, 2022

    Over the years, Tulare County has been very fortunate to have many newspapers. Whether it was the small town of Traver that had the Traver Advocate, or the larger town of Tulare that had the Tulare Advance-Register, these community newspapers provided readers with a glimpse of world and local news. A number of the county papers lasted just a short time and shut down operations. Others merged with neighboring publications, and still others published for a long time. In fact,...

  • Accidents - Close Calls & Narrow Escapes

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Mar 5, 2022

    Recently, the National Safety Council reported that the number of preventable injuries from accidents in our country is at an all time high. In fact, accidents are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. From paper cuts, to burns, to stray bullets, to vehicle crashes, the list of potential injury causing mishaps goes on and on. Truly, the world is a dangerous place! But accidents are not just recent phenomena, they were also common in the past....

  • Farmersville - An Old Town with an Interesting Past

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Jan 10, 2022

    Tulare County is a big county with about a half million people living within its boundaries. Many live in the eight incorporated cities. One is Farmersville, which happens to be one of the oldest of the group. It traces its beginnings to 1866 when the town sprang up in Four Creeks Country. On December 12, 1866, the Visalia Weekly Delta reported that there was a "new village building up on Deep Creek" called Farmersville. At the time of reporting, the town already had a store,...

  • Mysterious 'Black Bart' Pays Visalia A Visit

    Terry Ommen|Updated Nov 10, 2021

    Charles E. Boles liked stagecoaches. In fact, he liked them so much that for at least eight years he was in the stagecoach business earning some $50,000. Not bad considering that today the amount would be worth more than $1.3 million. Now this accomplishment seems laudable until it's realized that he didn't earn the money using smart business practices. Instead he acquired his cash by robbing coaches, and lots of them - crimes that earned him the name "Black Bart." For...

  • Inside the Visalia Ransacker Investigation

    Terry Ommen|Updated Sep 16, 2021

    The Program: At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29, at the Ponderosa Lecture Hall on the campus of College of the Sequoias, a free program sponsored by Visalia Heritage and the college will be presented, featuring retired Visalia Police Sergeant John Vaughan as the guest speaker. The Visalia community will finally hear the stories and learn the investigative techniques used during that intense and confidential investigation into the hunt for the Visalia Ransacker, now called...

  • Farm Labor and Linnell Camp

    Terry Ommen|Updated Jul 9, 2021

    It's no secret that agriculture is king in Tulare County. It always has been. Rich soil, favorable climate, plenty of water, good farming practices, and hard-working laborers all have combined to make the county an amazing success story. So much so that Tulare County, and really all of California's Great Central Valley, has earned the well-deserved title "breadbasket of the world." With vast acres of farmland under production, having an adequate number of farm laborers to...

  • Alaskan Dog Team Comes to Visalia

    Terry Ommen|Updated May 1, 2021

    The Big Creek Project in the Sierra Nevada east of Fresno is one of the early 20th century marvels. The undertaking required massive engineering, large amounts of capital and many years to build. It is an amazing story in so many ways, but there is one small part that many times gets omitted in its telling. The often-neglected piece of the story isn't about technology, engineering or water distribution, but rather about Southern California Edison Company's famous dogsled team...

  • The Life and Mysterious Death of William Clough

    Terry Ommen|Updated Mar 3, 2021

    Some called him eccentric, while others saw him as a preacher, miner and explorer. Actually, William O. Clough (pronounced like "tough") was all those and more. He was a likeable man and was well known to those living in and around Three Rivers and especially Mineral King, the place where he spent so much of his time. Even though his family came to the area around Three Rivers in the 1860s, Bill Clough's name burst into prominence in about 1885 when he found an elaborate caver...

  • The Strathmore Bank Robber - Frozen with Fear

    Terry Ommen|Updated Jan 13, 2021

    Tucked between Lindsay and Porterville lies the little community of Strathmore. It owes its beginning to the Southern Pacific Railroad and also the rich farm land that surrounds it -- grain and citrus being the dominant crops. Mostly it was a quiet sleepy town and still is, but it had its moments of excitement. On November 26, 1926, shock paid the town a visit when an armed robber invaded the community. Strathmore traces its beginnings to the late 1800s. By the decade of 1910,...

  • When Cattle Were Put on a Short Leash

    Terry Ommen|Updated Nov 1, 2020

    It was inevitable...the two sides were going to clash! The cattlemen were first to come to the Tulare Valley, now called the San Joaquin, and were very pleased with the abundant grass and water that nourished their herds. They especially liked the vast open range land that gave their cattle plenty of space to roam. So it wasn't surprising that cattle operations became big business. In 1857, the Mariposa Gazette took note of this, reporting, "The raising and fattening of...

  • The Battle of the Bottle

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Oct 11, 2020

    It has been called shepherd's delight, a social lubricant and even the nectar of the gods. But despite this collection of pleasing sounding names, there have been others not nearly as flattering, like rotgut, devil's brew or worse. Of course, they all refer to alcoholic beverages. For centuries, in fact for millennia, holders of these two opposing opinions have debated and sometimes clashed over the controversial concoction. The argument was usually not over the drink itself,...

  • Nelson's Camp Became Camp Nelson

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated Jul 24, 2020

    The Sierra Nevada has provided people with beauty and escape for hundreds, if not thousands of years. John Muir called the 400-mile-long, 70-mile-wide mountain chain the "Range of Light" and once proclaimed, "The mountains are calling and I must go." And many have felt the same magnetic attraction. Some mountain lovers are lucky enough to live in the high country, but the rest of us must be content with periodic incursions. Fortunately for us living in Tulare County, we have...

  • George Stockton Berry and His Harvester

    Terry Ommen, Dusting Off History|Updated May 10, 2020

    The San Joaquin Valley has long been known for its highly productive agricultural land. Mention the valley and many people automatically think "bread basket." Tulare County is one reason for that reputation. Early on, the county captured the attention of the media and farmers looking for a place to earn a living off the soil. As early as 1854, folks were talking about Tulare County. In fact, San Francisco's newspaper the Daily Alta California announced that, "Tulare County is...

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