Remember When, spanning four decades, is compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of the Sierra Star and the Fresno Flats Research Library.
50 Years Ago
* Sheriff Marlin Young, who serves as Madera County’s Civil Defense Director, is seeking volunteers to learn how to operate radiation detection kits which are being distributed throughout the region. Classes will start in the mountains if enough people sign up.
* Rosalie Bethel was elected chairman of the newly organized Mono Indians of North Fork. Mrs. Bethel had spoken to the need for an organization and museum to preserve the arts, crafts, and culture of the Mono Indians of the area.
* Young Maribeth Griffin’s portrayal of Mary Poppins was the grand prize winner in the Kids Day Parade sponsored by the Sierra Kiwanis Club. Imaginative and intriguing costumes were seen all along the line of march. Harley Allaway was the judge.
* The Oakhurst Community Center Youth Group staged its first dance at the center, with a large turnout. Officers of the association felt it was very successful, both socially and financially.
40 Years Ago
* “Gabby” is dead at age 85. This colorful character was known throughout Central California because of his bearded resemblance to the actor Gabby Hayes. Gabby, actually Edward Bradburn, was a tourist attraction who lived between Oakhurst and Coarsegold on Highway 41 (now known as Gabby’s Corner). In his earlier years he was a Hollywood silent screen actor, a cowboy, a dog trainer, a photographer, and a baseball player.
* Actual construction of Yosemite High School is underway, and will be ready to open in 1976. Tri-Central Construction Co. of Fresno began work on the $2.7 million school plant. A major portion of the program must be completed within 270 calendar days.
* Coarsegold’s historic community well is being moved once again. Built in 1852, the well stood in the middle of the road through town. In 1935, it was moved to near the Coarsegold Market. Expansion of the market now is requiring a new location on the south end of the A. M. Park holdings. It will be reconstructed similar its original style. Plans call for landscaping around it to make it a pleasant place for people to sit.
* Midway Market produce department advertised fresh peaches four pounds for $1, potatoes 10 pounds for 65 cents, fresh pears five pounds for $1, and ruby pink grapefruit six for $1.
30 Years Ago
* An experiment in rescuing historic artifacts using metal detectors is starting at Nelder Grove’s mill site. This will be carried on cooperatively by the USFS and the Mother Lode Treasure Hunters’ Club, and headed by Mariposa County schoolteacher Dan Rose. Kathy Hardy, USFS archaeologist for the Bass Lake Ranger District, will supervise the exploration. The site will be divided into grids, and each article found will be recorded and plotted.
* Bob Box, of Ahwahnee, once again won the world gold-panning championship. Box holds the current Guinness Book of Records title at 9.47 seconds. Box’s wife, Carolyn, came in third in the event, held in Sparks, Nevada.
* The Ahwahnee Hills School has vacated all of the buildings of the old sanitarium, according to executive director Paul Haavik. Boys age 10-18 who had learning problems were sent to the facility from California, Nevada, and Utah. With its closing, a total of 100 jobs will be affected, including the 55 staff members who have been laid off.
* Volunteers from the Coarsegold Historical Society are continuing the development of a history of Eastern Madera County. The project, originated by Marjorie Jackson, has been underway for some time. Many hours of labor have gone into the book as members of the society interviewed people, transcribed the tapes, typed manuscripts, and took care of other details. A hardcover book “As We Were Told” is the goal of the society.
20 Years Ago
* A special program reminiscing the fire fall and music inspired by Yosemite will be held at the Camp Curry amphitheater. Huell Houser, from PBS’s California’s Gold program, will tape the show to be aired on Channel 18 at a later date.
* The Oakhurst Christian Women’s Club will hold a fashion show luncheon at the Viewpoint Restaurant. Fashions from Gottschalks will be featured. Music will be by Stephanie Loyst, and Maggie Williamson, a former teacher, will be the special speaker.
* Bass Lake School District and Yosemite National Park officials gathered last week to “celebrate their partnership” in building a new facility at Wawona Elementary School. The school will now have two classrooms, a multi-purpose room, a small kitchen, a computer lab, and a small library, and be able to accommodate 50 or more students.
* There will be a farewell gathering to honor Dr. Robert Jacques, who is leaving the area. His friends and patients are invited to the Oakhurst Community Park for a potluck.