Compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of Fresno Flats Research Library and the Sierra Star.
50 years ago
* Bass Lake will add five full time deputies, in addition to full time S. A. “Tiny” Baxter. A new inboard-outboard 17’ boat has been added to the sheriff’s equipment to patrol the lake daily and make it a “safe and pleasant place.”
* VFW Post No. 8743 has scheduled Memorial Day services at five Mountain Area cemeteries: Ahwahnee, Oakhill, North Fork, Picayune, and Raymond. This unique mountain veterans group is probably the only organization of its kind to give five services in one day.
* Ponderosa Pines Theater will show “The Last Sunset” starring Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, and Dorothy Malone.
40 years ago
* Mountain Area is on the move. Growth in the community is apparent. Twenty-seven building permits were issued for the area during March, and 40 during April. Sierra Telephone Company will move to their new complex on Road 426 in August. The $8 million project is designed to update and improve services to the area. Underground lines are being laid and $50,000 is planned for landscaping and finishing.
* Dedication ceremonies for the long-awaited and hard-fought-for dream becomes reality. Yosemite High School will be officially dedicated. In March of 1974, 88.3% of the voting public authorized $2.9 million in bonds to build the new facility, and on June 8, 1975, ground was broken on the 87-acre site; 470 students will start at the new school next year, and it will feature a full range of academic and extra-curricular activities.
* Breaking with tradition, the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club will not visit Bass Lake during Memorial Day weekend, the Forest Service said. Instead, the club plans a bicentennial visit over the July 4th weekend.
* What will Oakhurst look like in 1996? Eight first-year graduate students from CSUF began to study Oakhurst as a school project, under the direction of Professor Hal Tomakian. They talked with residents and public officials, as well as doing research. A Town Center Concept was the first plan of growth. They recommend Hwy. 41 to be four lanes and have a stop light at Hwy. 41 and Road 426. They said that water is key to growth in the area.
30 years ago
* Mountain Quotes question: “Do you think there should be any traffic signals in Oakhurst?” The replies: Elaine Cox, “I am very much against signals usually, but I think they are needed here.” Billie Hering, “No.” Consuelo Mercier, “No, I don’t think so. It just takes patience.” Ada Goldman, “Yes, definitely.” Beverly Cooper, “Yes, there should be.”
* Television star Mark Harmon and Sunlight Productions were on location to produce five local commercials for Coors beer in Cedar Valley, Bass Lake, and Yosemite. The 35-member crew worked on Tolladay Road most of the day for one evening’s shoot of a red vintage pickup truck on a small, woodsy farm at sunset. Jeff and Debi Beebe were hired as extras, and will be seen in some of the commercials.
* Frances LeRoy and Ida Mae Brown of Coarsegold celebrated their 50th anniversary with 200 friends and family. Fifty years ago, after driving their Model A coupe over Donner Summit all night, they arrived in Reno just in time to change into their wedding clothes. Ida still has her wedding dress that she paid $2.98 for from a mail order catalog. They attribute their long and happy life together to being supportive of each other. “We ranch together, we each have our own hobbies, and we never run each other down.”
20 years ago
* Best Western celebrated its 50th anniversary recently, and the local affiliate, Yosemite Gateway Inn, celebrated its 12th anniversary, with Viewpoint Restaurant observing its 11th year. The two local businesses invited the community to a party, which was attended by 1,200 to 1,400 people. There was a buffet, live entertainment, and drawings for over $1,100 worth of prizes. Dr. Gary Pence, Oakhurst’s honorary mayor, cut the anniversary cake and drew the winning numbers for prizes.
* Yosemite National Park opened its three western entrances this past Saturday after being closed since Thursday, May 16, due to flooding of the Merced River. Highways 4, 140, and 20 re-opened; Tioga Pass Road will remain closed until further notice. Campgrounds were damaged when roads and asphalt pads were washed out, campsites were filled with mud and debris, and tree roots were exposed, creating potential hazards. Mitigation measures were immediately undertaken. Historically, moderate flooding occurs within Yosemite Valley when the Merced River at Sentinel Bridge reaches 10.5 feet. Early last Thursday morning, the river level was 10.8 feet, and later peaked at 12 feet.
* The YHS Softball Team and YHS Baseball Team have won back-to-back titles in the Central Sequoia Division. The Badgers softball team finished the season 27-3 overall, the best in school history. The baseball team ended at 17-7 overall, which is not bad for a team that lost eight seniors. “We were picked to finish fifth in the CSL, but we knew going into February that we had a better team than fifth,” said pitcher Chad Jacobs.