Madera County Historical Society
This is how Yosemite Avenue looked in 1890. In less than 20 years, it had all changed. The automobiles had taken over, but they weren’t allowed to roam unfettered. The local ordinances, by 1918, demanded that each vehicle have two white headlights in the front and one red light in the rear. Drivers also had to carry registration for the first time and had to have license plates displayed front and back.
50 Years Ago
Week of July 22, 1968
NUDE SWIM-IN CAUSES HIPPIES TO LOSE HAIR — Three hippies were shorn of their long locks and one jailed after a nude swim-in at the Summerdale Forest Service Campground in Fish Camp above Bass Lake. The three were spotted swimming nude by a Madera couple who complained to Forest Service officials. Mariposa County sheriff’s officers were called to the scene. When the deputies arrived, they took the three hippies into custody and took them to the Mariposa County Jail. At the jail, the hippies were each given haircuts. Only one of the three, William Miller, 21, of New York, was held. He was charged with indecent exposure and possession of marijuana.
INVESTMENT FOR NEW TACO BELL TOTALS $120,090 — Negotiations for the site for a Taco Bell restaurant were announced today. Dave Berry of Berry Construction Co. said that a Madera group composed of his company, Denslow Green and William Cerioni plan to acquire the site, build and lease the restaurant facilities at a total investment of approximately $120,000. The site is a 75-by-100-foot lot on the northeast corner of Gateway Drive and 4th Street. It is adjacent to Ann’s Gateway to Beauty and near The Village and Lucca’s restaurants. Work is expected to begin immediately for the Taco Bell restaurant, which features an adobe hacienda style with outdoor firepits and tables.
TWO MEN PULLED FROM 107-FOOT DEEP SHAFT — Two men were dramatically pulled from a 107-foot deep shaft near Millerton Lake yesterday. The men, Larry Williams, 36, of Sanger, and Gary Jenkins, 25, of Fresno, were clearing the deep well site when they became light headed. The men and two others had just blasted the well deeper. When the men went down, they were apparently overcome by fumes escaping from a gas pocket. Marvin Williams, the father of one of the victims, radioed rangers from the Millerton Station. An air compressor hose from the local telephone office was rushed to the scene to provide the victims with air. The younger Williams pulled Jenkins out of the hole and was pulled out himself with the use of a winch. Both were taken to Fresno General Hospital.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OPPOSES GRAPE BOYCOTT — The Madera County Farm Bureau has commended the Presbytery of San Joaquin for its opposition to the boycott of California grapes. The Farm Bureau also urges other church members and groups to investigate the charges brought by the Northern California Council of Churches and to speak up. The Presbytery has stated that it “cannot sanction” the boycott and that the Council of Churches is speaking as a separate entity, not for its 500,000 members, when it supports the ban on grape purchases. The council has called upon its members not to buy grapes until it can be proven that strikebreakers are not harvesting them.
CASTLE AFB JET TANKER CRASHES — Air Force rescue teams searched the rugged Sierra foothills today for four airmen missing from a jet tanker which crashed Tuesday on a routine training flight from Castle Air Force Base near Merced. Five bodies were found in the wreckage. The KCI35, carrying three instructors, three students and three maintenance men, ignited a forest fire when it plunged into the side of a mountain 36 miles northeast of here Tuesday. Five bodies, too badly burned to be identified immediately, were found in the wreckage, strewn 200 yards along the mountainside. The other four men were listed as missing. A spokesman at Castle said: “We’re definitely looking for possible survivors.”
100 Years Ago
Week of July 22, 1918
SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR VICTIM OF SPEED COP HERE — Mayor James Rolph, candidate for governor, was given such a good reception in Madera yesterday afternoon that he spent more time here than he had anticipated and in order to get to Merced where he was scheduled to speak, he was compelled to “Step on It” a little. He took a chance and got caught but in this, like all other things that Mayor Rolph has taken up, if he found himself up against it, he was always a good loser. Traffic Officer Jack Aiken happened to be on the Job in the northern end of the county and when he observed a red Stutz go past him like a chain of greased lightning, he said to himself, “there’s my bird,” but before he could get his motorcycle under steam, “rip, boom, whizzz” and another car went by him like a shot. For a time the speed officer hardly knew what was happening, but he struck out and stopped the big car a mile or so this side of Chowchilla. As the officer rode up alongside, the Mayor greeted him with his characteristic smile and before the speed officer could say anything remarked: “I’m Mayor Rolph of San Francisco and candidate for governor of California. What can I do for you?” “This is a rather embarrassing position,” replied the speed officer but you were exceeding the speed limit and it would be the same with me if it were the President of the United States. I guess I will have to ask you to go and see the Judge.” “Nothing at all embarrassing about that,” replied the Mayor. Let’s go and see the Judge, where is he?” “Right here In Chowchilla,” replied the officer. “That’s fine, I wanted to stop there anyhow,” said Mr. Rolph with another smile. And so he handed his driver a roll of bills and the party drove up in front of the office of Judge Cornell. Fifty-two miles an hour was the speed credited to the Rolph car and as the Judge was drawing up the complaint, a bystander happened to note the roll of bills protruding from the vest pocket of the driver. “Beg pardon, sir, but you are about to lose that bunch of bills,” he remarked in a very serious way. “Oh, never mind that stranger,” was the reply. “I know very well that I am about to lose It. That’s Just what I came in here for.” After the fine had been paid, which amounted to thirty dollars, the driver turned to Officer Aiken and asked: “Just how much territory do you cover up here?” “Oh, about thirty miles,” was the reply. “Thirty miles?” gasped the driver, “do you mean to tell me that I will be in your territory for 30 miles more?” “Hardly that.” said the traffic officer with a smile. “You will be out of it when you cross the river about two miles north of here,” “Show me the river” remarked the driver.
WATCH ALL AUTO LIGHTS TONIGHT — Look out for your auto lights tonight or the bogie man will get you. This is the beginning of the end of light violations in this city. The campaign of arrests is on, and the auto driver who appears on the street tonight, or any other night in the future without his lights in proper burning condition, will have the opportunity of telling his troubles to the Judge. Two white lights in front and a red one in the rear is the order. Look out also for that certificate of registration. According to law this must be properly signed and fastened to the car in a conspicuous place. This is the last warning given by the city traffic officer O.C. Owens.
SUGAR PINE SHOOTER IS TURNED LOOSE — Eugene Whitner, the man who shot and killed an Austrian in a general free-for-all fight at the Sugar Pine Camp, was turned loose today following his preliminary hearing which took place at Mariposa this morning. Whitner was represented by Attorney Jos. Barcroft of this city, and the court was convinced by the evidence that the shooting was purely a matter of self-preservation. From the evidence it was learned that a little trouble between some Mexican workmen had taken place at this camp about a week before and that on the night of the shooting a band of Mexicans and others went to the place for the purpose of settling the trouble. They came armed with rocks, bottles, flat irons and knives and began their bombardment. Whitney merely happened to be at the place and endeavored to make his escape. He was attacked and it was while he was endeavoring to get away that one of the men drew a knife and Whitney clinched him and at the same time drew his gun and fired. The ball took effect and the assailant was killed.
TRIED TO HOLDUP THE JUDGE — M. L. McCapes, Justice of the Peace of Raymond, had a very narrow escape, or he feels that he had a very narrow escape, while he was returning from Fresno last evening about 9 o’clock on the state highway, just this side of the river. Judge McCapes states that while he was driving along, he noticed a machine in front of him stop and two men get out. He could see that one of the men had what appeared to be a piece of gas pipe about two feet long in his hand. They came out onto the road and motioned for McCapes to stop. Thinking that there was something wrong, Judge McCapes instead of slowing down, speeded up to thirty miles an hour and went past the two men at a good clip. As he drove past he said they threw something at him, the missile passing through back of him and under the top. He was not hit. Something else was thrown under the car. Mr. McCapes was considerably frightened over the incident and says in the future he will carry a gun to protect himself while traveling around