Debby Carter

Remember when ...

One of the first Peddler’s Fairs in the Mountain Area.
One of the first Peddler’s Fairs in the Mountain Area. Sierra Star archives and Fresno Flats Research Library

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

50 years ago

Meet the Merchants Who Serve You column features one of the youngest “old timers” in the Mountain Area. Guil Whitehead, owner of the Midway Market, has been a resident of Oakhurst since 1912. He and his wife, Edith, are natives of California. Guil opened the Midway in 1947 after years of raising cattle on Taylor Mountain. He also raises prize-winning Arabian horses.

Yosemite Valley has “serious overcrowding” of camping areas. It has been necessary to limit the number of days one will be permitted to camp, the Department of Interior has announced. Under the new rule, camping is limited to a total of seven days from June to September.

John C. Mandella, project director for the proposed Yosemite Lakes development on a 6,600-acre site in the Long Hollow area southwest of Coarsegold, will be the featured speaker at the next Chamber of Commerce meeting at Coarsegold Inn.

40 years ago

The grand marshals for Mountaineer Days are Harry Baker, Sr. and his wife, Marie Baker. Harry, Sr. is, and always will be, a cowboy, living in a trailer on their 950-acre spread in Ahwahnee. The Bakers have been here as long as some of the oaks, and longer than most of the roads. Harry started school in Nipinnawasee in 1913, just after the new Cunningham School opened. He finished 8th grade there, and from then on it was work and horses. He worked at Sugar Pine for $1.50 a day, sunup to sundown. He bought his first ranch, 80 acres, for $800, at the ripe old age of 16. He joined the Navy in 1920. He has also worked for the U.S. Forest Service, the Ahwahnee Sanatorium, PG&E, Yosemite National Park, and many other local institutions. Marie came to Oakhurst in 1913 in a wagon from Oakland. Her family built their home here and she and Harry married in 1925.

Close to 200 people attended the Citizens Band Radio picnic at Bass Lake.

An advertisement features the Big Foot Burger Pit, owned by Vivian and George Radanovich.

30 years ago

Forty-six chickens are set to fly in the Chicken Flying Contest during Mountaineer Days. Chicken names include: Clementine, Snow White, Cox A Doodle Do, Fowl Play, Sugar Daddy, Chicken Gumbo, Fryer Flyer, Bar-B-Que, Charles “Cluck” Lindbird, and Lady Supreme of the San Joaquin.

The U.S. Geological Survey is making a new map of this area. A team of 10 cartographers has been working on the project, which is 1,900 square miles, says Ben Rush, project supervisor. The map will show everything man made, such as houses and trails; also, hydrographic features such as lakes, ditches, and drainages, and if water flow is intermittent or perennial. They will also be looking at section corners. Before 1912 surveyors marked the corners with notched rocks. After that the General Land Office planted iron pipes with brass caps and stacked rocks around them. Rush said that the USGS is the mapmaker of the country, and it takes three years to complete each map.

The Coarsegold Historical Society announced that a typed copy of the original census book for the area, which was loaned to them by an anonymous donor, will be entrusted to the Madera County Library. June English, researcher, said that the original book is housed in the Fresno County Library. Tribes and sub-tribes are listed in the original, but not in the copies. The Society also made available many books on early Native Americans of the area to Sue Rhu, head librarian of the Branch Library in Oakhurst.

20 years ago

After playing the first two weeks of the 1996 volleyball season on the road, the Yosemite High volleyball team finally made it back into the friendly confines of the YHS gym. The Badgers, behind nearly flawless play, crushed Clovis High 15-1, 15-4, 15-2, Sept. 17 in a game that was never close. “The team played great. I don’t think they could have played any better,” said third year YHS coach Michelle Chenowith.

An editorial from Copley News Service encourages presidential candidates to stay on the high road. It was encouraging that at both the Republican and Democratic conventions the candidates made commitments to political civility. Public opinion polls and the results of focus group surveys show unmistakably that Americans dislike negative campaigning. The great debates in American presidential politics were distinguished by their erudition and intelligence, not their vitriol.

A monument commemorating “the crookedest railroad in the world” was unveiled at Bass Lake by the Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49, E Clampus Vitus. The Minarets and Western Railroad, a common carrier owned solely by the Sugar Pine Lumber Company, ran 53 miles from the western end of the dam which created Bass Lake to the company’s mill at Pinedale. It connected with an 11-mile lumber company railroad which extended from Bass Lake to Central Camp. The granite monument marks the site of the switchyard at the south end of Bass Lake Dam.