Madera County Historical Society
On Sept. 21, 1931, the Alta Hotel, shown here, was destroyed by fire. It was replaced by the Aragon Hotel. Fifty years ago, the Aragon was torn down to make way for a bank on the northwest corner of Yosemite Avenue and C Street.
50 Years Ago
Week of March 18, 1968
CHOWCHILLA’S JOHN CRANE NEW MADERA FOOTBALL COACH — Chowchilla High School’s highly successful football coach and athletic director John Crane has been appointed the new head football coach for Madera High School. He replaces George Farrell, who quit after the Coyote 2-8 mark last season. Perry Harper, MHS athletic director stated, “We were highly impressed with his ball club last season. He has the game and his bench under control at all times. We’ve had only five coaches in the past 20 years. We feel he’ll do a good job.” Crane led Chowchilla to the Valley championship and the Sequoia League title last season. Crane’s squad posted an 11-1 mark.
ARAGON HOTEL NEARS END OF COLORFUL HISTORY — The Aragon Hotel will be closed as of April 1, and though the town is sorry to see the old building go, it welcomes the confidence in Madera County by the United Bank and the planned structure, which will replace it. The Aragon was built in 1932 by Mrs. Sarah Gross for about $40,000. It was built by the Davis Pearce Company of Stockton. The architect was Joseph W. Rowell. Much of the work on the hotel was done by local residents including Andy Poletta, Thomas Warburton, and Sam Malick Sr., and his brother Leo. The property was sold to Seabury and Copeland at which time the management was taken over by John Grattone.
DAULTONS GIVE $25,000 TO MARIPOSA PROJECT — Mr. and Mrs. H. Clay Daulton of Madera are the donors of a $25,000 contribution to a $75,000 fund for establishment of a Mariposa County Historical Center and Library. Daulton is the grandson of Henry Clay Daulton, a pioneer cattleman who settled at Daulton Station, which had once been part of Mariposa County and is one of four Californians honored in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Daulton’s grandfather played a big role in establishing Madera County. He became the first chairman of Madera County’s Board of Supervisors and a leader in Madera’s development up to his death.
TEACHER HURT IN INCIDENT AT SCHOOL — Mrs. Judith Foley, Thomas Jefferson Junior High School physical education teacher was hospitalized Thursday with head injuries incurred in a disturbance at school. Mrs. Foley was struck with a baseball bat thrown by a student. She had only recently recovered from head and neck injuries caused by a hallway incident at the school. School Principal Ben Barsotti today described the student fracas as “nothing serious” and noted that more than 800 students are on the grounds during noon hour when the incident occurred.
15 SUSPENDED AT JEFFERSON AFTER SCHOOL INCIDENT — Fifteen seventh and eighth graders at Thomas Jefferson Junior High School were suspended as a result of the incident in which teacher Judith Foley was injured Thursday. Only two or three students were directly involved in an attempted fight, according to the principal. The others were suspended for “egging on” the participants and for refusing to obey orders to move away. Barsotti said the incident resulted from an explosive situation the previous day by a fight between a Mexican-American and a Negro youth. The boy responsible for throwing the bat has not previously caused any trouble, the principal also noted.
100 Years Ago
Week of March 18, 1918
FRAUD CHARGE AGAINST DOCTOR MAY BE DROPPED — Dr. Knox of Pasadena, who persuaded Messrs. Schmitz and Cardwell to buy a worthless cure for easing the pain of rheumatism, has been arrested and is now in Madera. It will be remembered that the doctor recently disposed of some medicine and a belt that was supposed to cure the malady from which both of these gentlemen suffered. The medicine and the belt were pronounced by a local druggist to have the appearance of water, salt, and sand, while the belt also failed to do its work. Dr. Knox was finally located and arrested in Pasadena. He gave bonds but did not appear here until Saturday. He visited his patients in this county and agreed to refund their money upon which they expressed a willingness to drop the matter and not prosecute.
TRIES TO CHEAT CHINAMAN AND IS ARRESTED — H. Navo, a Mexican who has been working for the Santa Fe Railway attempted to get nineteen dollars out of the Chinaman who is the proprietor of the City Restaurant this afternoon. The check actually called for only 55 cents. Navo ate a meal at the restaurant, and in payment tendered the check for $19.55. It did not look good even to the Chinaman at the counter, and he immediately called City Marshal John Barnett. The Marshal was able to detect the artful work of the holder of the check, which had been raised by printing in the figures 19 in front of the 55 cents. Navo was taken over to the jail and locked up.
‘BILLY’ CLUB HAS 3 NOTCHES — Henry Brown was sentenced this morning to 10 days in the county jail on the charge of vagrancy. The interesting part of the story is the fact that in his blanket roll was found a hand-made “billy” consisting of a stick of hard wood about eighteen inches long, nicely rounded off at one end for a handle and in the other end was a hole which was filled with a dangerous looking spike. The spike was heavy and served to weight the end of the club and might also be used for other criminal purposes. There were three notches cut in the handle, and Marshal Barnett took this to mean that the club had been used in knocking out three unfortunate victims. The club has been added to the local officer’s bunch of criminal curios.
CHOWCHILLA JUDGE HAS NO MERCY ON OLD ‘STEWS’ — “I want these old bums and whiskey ‘stews’ to realize that they can expect no mercy when they are brought before me,” said Judge R.G. Cornell, the justice of the peace of Chowchilla, as he handed out a 10-day jail sentence to three offenders this morning. “I only wish,” continued Judge Cornell, “that every Justice of the Peace would take the same stand in this matter.” He went on to criticize the idea of permitting these old bums to lie around, read the newspapers, and refuse to work, while our boys are giving up their lives for their country and are calling upon us for food and ammunition. The judge has little patience with those suffering from “boozitis,” particularly at this time.
DON SAYRE SHOT IN HAND — While enjoying a little outing at the Ives ranch above Raymond, Don Sayre, son of Mrs. A.L. Sayre, accidentally shot himself in the right hand today with a 38-Colt automatic. The ball entered the palm of the hand and came out on the backside of the arm near the wrist. No important bones were shattered by the ball, and young Sayre will not lose his hand, according to Dr. Dow Ransom. Immediately following the accident, word was telephoned to the Sayre ranch, and Dr. Ransom started for Raymond. The report he had was to the effect that young Sayre had shot his hand off. The injured boy was brought to this city and his hand was dressed.