History in the Week of April 1

Madera County Historical Society The Yosemite Hotel, shown here during an Old-timers Parade, served Madera for 83 years. After fire destroyed the original building in 1885, it was rebuilt and provided rooms for visitors and residents until it was closed in 1968.


50 Years Ago

Week of April 1, 1968

FLAGS LOWERED HERE IN KING’S MEMORY — Flags on Madera’s city and county buildings and at Madera’s schools are flying at half staff today in memory of the slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Madera Mayor D.R. Stephenson, who directed that all flags on city property be lowered, said, “This is terrible. It is the greatest loss to this nation since President Kennedy was assassinated. Dr. King was a leading exponent of non-violence, and it is ironic that he should die in such a violent manner.” Duane Furman, district superintendent of schools who ordered the school flags lowered, said, “It is a tragedy and terrible mistake.” James Petrella, County Librarian, summed up the events by saying, “Dr. King’s death is a tragic loss to both Negro and white races.

NOBLE’S MEAT COMPANY TO OPEN AGAIN — Noble’s Meat Co. will open Monday with 36 employees, the management announced today. Four cattle feeding businesses, whose names are being withheld at the present time, have taken over the operation. The new operators hope to avoid the cost squeeze which forced Noble’s out of business Dec. 23 by keeping employees on straight eight-hour daytime shifts, cutting down the range of products, and expanding markets. Key personnel in the former operation, including management, foremen, and truck drivers have been rehired. Local Realtor Jack Chezick and attorney Denslow Green have been credited with re-opening the plant and bringing a $250,000 annual payroll to the community.

GARIBAY TO BE ON BALLOT FOR SUPERVISOR’S POSITION — Benny Garibay won a place on the June ballot with a decision in Superior Court late this morning. Superior Court Judge Kenneth Andreen instructed County Clerk Hanora Dwyer to accept Garibay’s nomination position despite technical irregularities. The judge’s ruling requires the clerk to overlook the lack of “Madera” with street names and numbers on nearly half of the signatures. Armando Rodriguez, Garibay’s attorney, stressed that he feels Mrs. Dwyer made no intentional discrimination against Garibay but believes that he and his sponsors were denied their rights.

END OF AN ERA: YOSEMITE HOTEL CLOSES — The Yosemite Hotel, which traces its history back to President Ulysses S. Grant has been closed. William Brammer, owner of the hotel building now better known for its downstairs businesses, announced the closure today. The largest downstairs tenant is McMahan’s. Other downstairs tenants include Lad & Lassie, the Clothes Tree, Paul Jones Gift House, the Powder Puff, and Roberts Jewelers. The hotel was once the finest in the town of Madera and was located on the choicest corner for such an establishment — directly across the street from the railroad depot. Several of the hotel’s early registers show such notable guests as President’s Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes.

RAYMOND BLAZE FATAL TO WOMAN — Mrs. Bonnie Walcott, 70, of Raymond, burned to death Monday afternoon in a trailer house fire here. Forestry officials report the $4,000 blaze, which gutted the house trailer, was caused by an explosion from the kitchen stove. A year ago, Mrs. Walcott had a harrowing escape from death in a fire, which completely destroyed her Raymond house. After that fire, she moved into the house trailer. The explosion was heard by her neighbors, who called the volunteer firemen. The firemen had to break down the locked door to get inside the trailer. Mrs. Walcott was the former owner of the B and B Cafe in Raymond, which had closed five years ago. 100 Years Ago

Week of April 1, 1918

WATCH FOR PRO-GERMANS — In response to the call for a meeting of public-spirited citizens at the firehouse last night, 65 businessmen were in attendance. The object of the meeting was to investigate pro-German remarks that have been made and to take future steps against parties whose sympathies apparently lean toward the Kaiser. The man or the woman who is not a true-blooded American in these crucial times has no place in this country, and if there happen to be such individuals in this locality, they will have to keep pretty close mouthed or answer immediately. Ambrose Phillips was made permanent chairman of the organization, and George Vogeler was elected secretary.

PRECIADO CASE MUST GO TO JURY — The latest round in the embezzlement case of the People vs. Chas. F. Preciado, former tax collector of Madera County, which involves the issue of double jeopardy, will be heard by a jury. The offense upon which Preciado will be tried is one committed in the year 1914. The alleged crimes on which he was previously tried were committed in previous years. The contention is made by the defense that any part of the shortage is one and the same offense, no matter when any single act was committed. The people contend that in-as-much as the tax collector makes a settlement with the treasurer every month, acts committed in different months constitute separate offenses.

INDIANS WANT THE SQUIRRELS — Gould P. Junior, full-blooded Indian, protests against the extermination of ground squirrels, which campaign opened last week. Junior says he expressed the opinion of his father, Chief Hang ‘Em Up Jim, and the majority of the tribe. “Ground squirrels are an important item of our food,” says Junior, “and now the white man proposes to take that staple away from us, just as the white man exterminated the buffaloes on the plains. We have squirrel days, and to us Indians they are feast days, with ground squirrels as the main dish. Junior also lamented a new law that forbids Indians killing bears in certain months of the year. John Lego, another full-blooded Indian was released from jail Saturday where he served 30 days for killing a bear out of season.

BOY SMASHED FINGER TRYING TO EARN WAY INTO CIRCUS — Charlie Smith, the little 10-year-old son of C.E. Smith, the local blacksmith, will probably lose the forefinger of his right hand as the result of his endeavor to win a free ticket to the Barnes circus today. The little Smith boy, with several others, were assisting in putting up the tents by carrying stakes for the workmen on the promise of a free ticket. When passing a stake that was being driven, he accidentally put his hand on top of the stake, and the sledge came down and caught his finger before it could be removed. The finger was smashed almost to a pulp, the bone being splintered. The lad was hurried off to the office of Dr. Dow H. Ransom.

CHICKEN THIEVES NABBED — A local Mexican and an Italian are spending 30 days in the local jail as the result of a big chicken and turkey feed enjoyed at the home of the Mexican last Friday. The parties are G. Garavelle and D. Sordi, who resides near the Sugar Pine Mill. The fowls slaughtered for the feast referred to came from the Pat Roberts’ “Buzzard Roost.” Last Thursday, Mrs. Roberts missed some 12 or 14 chickens and an old turkey. She reported the thefts to City Marshal Barnett, and he, along with Constable A.J. Russell, searched the places of all those who had been employed at “Buzzards’ Roost.” At the Garavelle place a box was found filled with a lot of chicken and turkey feathers. When questioned, drops of perspiration began to form on Garavell’s face until he finally broke down and implicated Sordi.