The newest monuments recognizing Madera County history are a pair at Mission Bell Winery dedicated by the Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49 of E Clampus Vitus (Clampers). The monuments are set in the masonry on each side of the original entrance to Mission Bell, on Avenue 13 between Roads 24 and 25.
Nearly 40 Clampers arrived Saturday morning for the ceremony, which opened at 10 a.m. with a flag salute led by Noble Grand Humbug Brian Dickens of the group. Clamper Historian Cy “Stoagie” Hichens then read the engravings on each monument.
The monument on the east side of the entrance is dedicated to today’s Mission Bell Winery, which is part of the Constellation brand of wines. The modern winery is one of Madera’s largest employees sitting on nearly 500 acres. They crush more than 200,000 tons of grapes annually and can store 50 million gallons of product.
The second historical monument honors the original pioneer grape vineyard in Madera County, planted by S.A. Holmes in 1870, and the winery that followed. In 1891, the winery and distillery were constructed and in 1896 were purchased by the Italian Swiss Agricultural Colony.” In 1919, Krikor Arakelian purchased the property and christened his winery Mission Bell. Arakelian sold the winery shortly before his death in 1951...