Remember when ...

Compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of Fresno Flats Research Library and the Sierra Star.

50 Years Ago

*  A sewer system for Oakhurst will be the subject for discussion at two meetings this week called by the Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the meetings is to get input from the community regarding the formation of a maintenance district for the construction of a sewer system. The need for this is generally recognized to be urgent.

*  The Madera County Historical Society recently acquired an acre upon which stands the Savage Monument and its companion, the China Store (now under Hensley Lake). This has awakened public interest in this isolated area.

This site along the Fresno River was used in the winter of 1851 during the Mariposa Indian War, when it was chosen as the headquarters and medical commissary departments of the Mariposa Battalion, under the command of Major James D. Savage. Dr. Louis Leach, surgeon of the Battalion, established a primitive type of hospital. There were other buildings nearby for the use of the partnership of Savage and Vinsonhaler, who were appointed traders by the Indian Commissioners for the Fresno River Indian Reservation.

*  Classified ads: furnished two bedroom, furn. all-year cabin across road from Ducey’s Lodge. Only 90 yards from lakefront. A real buy at only $11,950.

*  Mountain Monday at the Broken Bit restaurant features all-you-can-eat chicken and noodles at $1.50.

40 Years Ago

*  Last week marked the end of a century-old tradition of herding horses from Yosemite Park to winter grazing pastures. It is considered “detrimental” to the meadows at Wawona, Park Superintendent Leslie P. Arnberger explained. Yosemite Park & Curry Co. has about 300 rental horses and pack mules.

Each fall, the animals are driven along the old Mariposa stagecoach road over Chowchilla Mountain to winter near the town of Mariposa. From now on the animals will be trucked in to the stables at Wawona.

*  The $6 million Highway 49 expressway from Oakhurst to the Mariposa County line is about to be scrapped due to lack of highway construction funds. A Cal Trans spokesman said that the plan is not of statewide significance and that the existing two-lane road will be adequate for the next 20 years or more.

*  A county road name sign has been prepared for the intersection of Bisset Station Rd. – Road 620 – and Round House Rd. – Road 628. County roads in EMC will eventually revert to identification by names rather than numbers.

*  Oakhurst Midway Super Market advertises: yams at 19 cents a pound - pumpkins at 5 cents a pound - and bananas at 6 pounds for $1.

30 Years Ago

*  Wassama Roundhouse in Ahwahnee was officially dedicated as the Wassama Roundhouse State Historical Park, with 600 attending the ceremony. Jay Johnson, a Miwok Piute Indian of Yosemite Park, served as master of ceremonies. Prayers were sung by Hector Franco and Charles Sargosa of Ahwahnee, and by a group of Chukchansi, Miwok, and Mono Indians.

A resolution by Senator Ken Maddy, and Assemblyman Bill Jones honoring everyone who helped restore the roundhouse was presented by Clara Sargosa. Julia Parker, basket maker, of Yosemite National Park, demonstrated her skills at the event, and others showed acorn preparation, beadwork, and hand games.

*  Erna Kubin celebrated the first anniversary of Erna’s Elderberry House with a nine-course dinner. Reservations had been made from as far away as Paris, France. A special guest for the party was her friend Wolfgang Puck, one of the most outstanding chefs in the U.S. The restaurant was designed to capture the flavor of a European country estate, with the menus planned to accent this. Kubin still presides over the kitchen.

*  A 1912 San Francisco Examiner newspaper recently purchased by a local resident had an article about the possible opening of Yosemite National Park to automobiles. Walter L. Fisher, Secretary of the Interior, is quoted in the article as saying: “I hope that by the opening of the Panama Exposition at San Francisco in 1915, automobiles will be traveling through Yosemite on well-built roads, entering at one end of the park and leaving by the other. I believe that admitting automobiles to the park will do a world of good in advertising our national parks, and will attract thousands who otherwise might not go.”

20 Years Ago

*  Community Hospitals of Central California announces 24-hour Urgent Care located at Oakhurst Community Medical Center.

*  The Yosemite High girls’ tennis team opened up Central Sequoia League play last week by sweeping a pair of matches. The Lady Badgers beat Sierra 3-2, and Washington Union 4-1. “All matches were tough all the way through. None of them were walk-over,” said YHS coach Betty Hasty.

*  The Mountain Quotes question of the day was: What do you think the verdict will be in the O. J. Simpson trial? The overwhelming response was that he was guilty, but would not be convicted.

*  In a presentation sponsored by the North Fork History Group at the North Fork Fall Festival, Vince Goodwin, an old time shake maker, as well as former saw mill and lumber yard owner, demonstrated how shakes were made with a shake cradle and froe. The froe is pounded down through a piece of sugar pine until the shake falls.

*  Other displays by the group included antique carpentry tools, radios, and hardware tools, numerous photos, Indian tools and baskets, antique engines, and a video about the center of California.