From the archives of the Fresno Flats Research Library and the Sierra Star, covering news and events from the month of August.
60 Years Ago
Greetings – Miss Lynn Montel, “Miss Madera County of 1960,” was hostess to Larry Gately, an official of the California State Fair at Sacramento, on a guided tour of the Madera County industries. Among the places visited by the group was a cotton oil mill and cotton gin, an olive packing plant, a meat packing house, a potato washing and loading plant, a creamery and milk condensing plant, a winery, and a building block and tile plant.
Farewell – Mrs. Rose Lowe was tendered a “farewell” party Wednesday evening before leaving for her home in Madera. She has spent several months at the sanatorium as a patient. She was presented with gifts from her friends and refreshments were served.
Girl Scouts camp – Invited guests toured Camp Timberloft [formerly Miami Lodge] at an open house of the Oakland Girl Scouts camp. At the close of the day a brief ceremony of music and a skit on the history of the property from the time of the Indians to the year 1935 were presented. The property was acquired from Ed Huffman who had operated a lodge on the place for several years prior to 1935. Only one hut of the Huffman housing remains.
50 Years Ago
Oakhurst sewer system – Congressman Harold T. (Bizz) Johnson, representing Madera County, announced the approval of a $240,000 Economic Development grant for the development of an adequate sewer system for the community of Oakhurst. Congressman Johnson had worked with County Supervisor Herman Neufeld and other county officials in gaining approval for this project.
Ahwahnee Sanatorium – The Madera County Board of Supervisors decided to buy out Merced County’s half interest in the Ahwahnee Sanatorium. The board voted unanimously to pay $150,000, the price set by the Merced board, in expectations of leasing out the property for 20 years at $20,000 annually.
Unique fundraiser – It’s that time of year again fellas! “Terrible Sarge,” sheriff of the posse for Sierra Mountaineer Days, says, “If there ain’t no hairs growin’ from that face, better be lookin’ to buy a slickpuss badge.” “Terrible Sarge” and his posse will fill that jail with badgeless slick faces – so if you fall in that category, look for a badge at most of the merchants, ’cause they are gonna do their thing!
40 Years Ago
Yosemite deaths – Five deaths have occurred in Yosemite National Park within a period of less than a week. Two 22-year-old men drowned at Vernal Falls. The body of a hiker was recovered from the back country after he apparently fell to his death. That same day, a woman died from injuries received when thrown from a horse. In a non-accident situation, a diabetic who was hiking the Yosemite Falls trail suffered an adverse insulin shock reaction and died before evacuation could be completed.
Yosemite jump – “I feel lucky to be the guy to be number one. I’ve wanted to do this jump and do it legally. It just happened to fall on my birthday.” Those were the words of Dean Westgaard of Laguna Beach as he became the first “legal” jumper off 3,000-foot-tall El Capitan in Yosemite National Park and parachuted to the valley below.
Telethon – The 1980 Jerry Lewis Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon will take place this weekend and volunteers are needed to take local pledges. This is the third year the Soroptimist Club of the Sierras has sponsored the local pledge center.
30 Years Ago
Jet skis at Bass Lake – Recreationalists who enjoy using jet skis at Bass Lake may find themselves grounded soon. Although the activity has gained popularity, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department is concerned about the potential safety hazard. This worry brought Undersheriff Jim Hickman to supervisors last week requesting an ordinance abolishing jet ski areas and requiring jet skis to conform to the same rules and traffic patterns as other boats.
Talking Bear – Realty World-Ditton Realty is planning a 25th birthday celebration for the Talking Bear at the corner of Highway 41 and Road 426. The Talking Bear has been delivering his free message for over 25 years now. Hugh Schollenbarger began his quest to obtain a Grizzly Bear in 1963, finally finding him at the Fiberglass Menagerie Co. in Alpine. The lifelike bear was delivered and installed in early 1965.
Unique inn – Ol-Nip Gold Town Bed and Breakfast now features the Outlaws Steakhouse and Saloon which is, according to Paul Bonin, “the home of the 18-ounce Porterhouse steak.” Entertainment is offered every Friday night. The bed and breakfast inn features eight rooms individually appointed with antiques. One of the eight rooms is the “jail cell,” featuring video games. For those who want to experience what it was like back in the 49er days, a complete gold camp is set up outside with a tent that sleeps four.