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M.I.D. marks its centennial

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

E Clampus Vitus Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49 members gather with Madera Irrigation District staff and board members for the presentation of a monument celebrating MID’s 100 year anniversary.


One hundred years ago, Madera County looked quite different than it does today.

Water, liquid gold, was desperately needed to farm the fertile acres of the Central Valley. The Madera Irrigation District was formed on Jan. 13, 1920 with plans to build a large dam on the San Joaquin River, near Friant.

According to E Clampus Vitus Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49 historian Dan “Professor Firetruck”

Carrion, in 1921 voters approved $28 million in bonds to build this dam and its assorted infrastructure.

After a protracted court battle with powerful cattle ranchers Miller and Lux these bonds were canceled and the federal government was brought in to help with the areas’ ongoing water solution.

Today, the district provides water to 144,000 acres of farmland using 300 miles of open canals and 150 miles of large diameter pipe, said Robert “Woody,” Valadon, the Humbug (president) of the chapter.

Members of the M.I.D. Board of Directors joined the members of the E Clampus Vitus and district staff Thursday to dedicate a monument marking M.I.D.’s centennial.

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Clamper member Kevin Gallegos talks about his father, Sal Gallegos, who used to work at MID and passed away. A small plaque was placed on the monument to honor Sal’s more than 30 years of service.


Clamper member Kevin Gallegos addressed the gathering to explain why this particular monument is so special to him.

“I have fond memories of my older brothers and me visiting our grandparents J.C. and Pat Young and my father Sal Gallegos when they worked at M.I.D.,” Gallegos said.

During the construction of this monument, the senior Gallegos died. To honor his 30-plus years of service at M.I.D., a plaque with his name has been added to the monument.

“This means so much to my family,” Gallegos said. “I know my dad would be so proud to be a part of this beautiful moment.”

“I would like to thank M.I.D. and my Grub Gulch brothers for all their support during my dad’s passing and allowing my family to take part in this special day. This will be something we will cherish forever,” he said.

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Humbug Robert Valadon christens the monument during a dedication ceremony on Thursday.


The river rock and granite monument was constructed with the materials coming from Gateway Monuments and Cornerstone Granite in Raymond. The cost of the components used came at a cost of $617.41. The volunteer labor came from the Clamper membership.

And then, as though carefully planned, just as the ceremonies drew to a close a very welcome torrential rainstorm arrived right on cue.

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