Debby Carter

Remember When for December | Old sugar pine comes down, YHS cheerleaders hit Hollywood

The largest – and possibly the oldest – sugar pine tree left in Sugar Pine is stripped after it was felled in 1968. The tree had grown for over 400 years and to 205 feet.
The largest – and possibly the oldest – sugar pine tree left in Sugar Pine is stripped after it was felled in 1968. The tree had grown for over 400 years and to 205 feet. Sierra Star archive

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

50 Years Ago

Goodbye, old friend – Nov. 30, 1968 was a sad day for many residents of Sugar Pine and surrounding mountain areas, as the largest – and possibly the oldest – sugar pine tree left in Sugar Pine had to be removed. Growing for over 400 years on property now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Gileo, the giant towered 205 feet above the Gileo cabin, “Old Smokey,” at the end of the highest residential street in the historic community.

The old stalwart fell prey to disease or insects and began dying from the top down a year before. After logger Wes Boyer felled the tree perfectly on his mark, the branches were bucked and the logs hauled in two truckloads to the Nelson Lumber Company in Visalia, where 17,000 board feet of lumber were recovered.

Latest technology – Advertisement: “Christmas is a family affair … give your family the joy of RCA Color TV. 23” diag., 295 sq. in. picture. 25,000-volt chassis with Solid State components in key circuits. Super-powerful New Vista® VHF tuner and Solid State UHF tuner. Automatic color purifier to ‘Cancel’ picture impurities. One-set VHF fine tuning and automatic chroma control for easy tuning. $449.90. Certified TV Service, Oakhurst Shopping Center.”

40 Years Ago

Gas taxes – California motorists will be paying about 8 percent more for gasoline over the holidays than last year, and nearly 13 percent more than during the Christmas season of 1976. According to the California State Automobile Association’s December survey of regionally and nationally advertised brands of gasoline sold in the state, regular grades were averaging 73.6 cents at full service stations and 67.6 cents at “mini” and self-service outlets.

Education and growth – An Oakhurst Elementary Board resolution asked the Madera County Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance which would provide financial support for new classrooms through assessment on new subdivisions. As with other schools in Madera County, rapidly growing enrollment put classrooms at maximum capacity.

30 Years Ago

Live on stage – The Golden Chain Theatre presented its Christmas extravaganza, “Alice in Wonderland,” adapted by LaRetta Roope. Children from all areas of the mountain community came together to fill the many roles. The Patti Law Dancers also performed in a special tribute to Christmas past and present.

Hello, Santa – Sierra Telephone set up a direct line to the North Pole to be in operation Christmas Eve. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available to talk to children during that time. Thanks to rapid transportation, Santa will be in Oakhurst earlier that same day to meet those children at the Sierra Telephone office from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children who live in the Oakhurst area may call the North Pole between 5:30 and 8 p.m. at M-E-R-R-Y-X-M-A-S. There is no charge for these calls.

Changing lines – The Madera County Board of Supervisors adopted the redistricting resolution. The new supervisorial boundaries will put Yosemite Lakes Park, Raymond and O’Neals in District 1. The rest of eastern Madera County will remain in District 5.

20 Years Ago

Step up – Irish step-dance lessons are being given at Riley’s Grub and Chug in North Fork taught by Christina DeGarcia of Madera.

New bus – Finally, and just in time for the winter driving season, the new senior bus arrived. The new van cost $57,000, 20 percent of which had to be raised by the seniors. The senior bus is available for all seniors to ride. However, riders must call the day before to schedule pickup. Cost is $1.25 each way.

Goin’ Hollywood – When 1 million spectators lined the streets of Hollywood to watch the movie capital’s annual Christmas Parade, the talent they saw included a group of Yosemite High School cheerleaders. The students – Heather Cox, Jennifer Fox, Ashley Jensen, Shannon Sconce and Alison Sciarrino – performed a cheer-dance routine to “Joy to the World” for the Universal Cheerleaders Association entry in the 67th annual parade.