January 21, 2014 

Since this is a new year, I started feeling nostalgic looking back at Oakhurst 40 years ago.

We had no traffic lights — in fact you could drive all the way to Fresno without stopping. We had two markets, Oakhurst Market and Midway Market, and both had butchers who helped you with your choices. I remember Oakhurst Market had the best lamb choppet's, that's what they called them, my husband doesn't like lamb but he enjoyed those.

We had Colbern's Department Store and The Men's Den, two mail order stores, Sears and Montgomery Wards, and The Holiday Village on the corner of Highway 41 and Crane Valley Road (426). Owner Olive Burnett claimed Teddy Roosevelt slept in one of the cabins there. I remember Lorraine made the best boysenberry cobbler I have ever tasted. If you didn't get there early, you lost out because she only made three of them and everyone knew the day she baked.

We had an A&W drive in and The Big Foot burger place where everyone had their own cup for coffee with their name on the cup. Later, we had Mountain Chicken — the owner said if the Colonel had his recipe, he would be a general.

We had two motels, The Oakhurst Lodge and The Rustic Pine Lodge. When we first came to find a house, we stayed at the Oakhurst Lodge and had a room facing Highway 41. My daughter, who was then nine, woke up, looked out the window, and said, "we're Oakhurst people now, aren't we?" She is now 50 years old and the mother of my wonderful grandchildren.

We had a real bakery on Highway 41 and believe it or not we had a lot of real estate places. You know the yellow house on the hill in Coarsegold, the one in front of where the great wall used to be — it was on the north-east corner of Highway 41 and Crane Valley Road (426) where the talking bear is and was called Shollenbargers Real Estate. We had Toby Tobin Realty, Ramona Scott Realty, McCoon Realty, Lee Barcus Realty and others. They were all independent realtors, not chains.

We had one dry cleaner on Highway 41 and one doctor in Oakhurst and one in Bass Lake. Just like today, we are still short on doctors.

The Telephone Company operated out of a small building up the hill from where the library is now and the library was located in the back of the schoolhouse that is now in Fresno Flats. The front of the schoolhouse was our Justice Court.

Our high school students were bussed to Auberry and it was up to two hours on the bus. We had one elementary school, Oakhurst Elementary, and it was located right where it is today — only much smaller.

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