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Fire cleared the way for Courthouse Park

For The Madera Tribune

It didn’t take long for Courthouse Park to take shape after a fire in 1909 cleared the property of every building except the courthouse and jail. A water wagon can be seen fighting the dust on Yosemite Avenue a year later.


In 1909, the Madera County Board of Supervisors saw the need for a courthouse park, and they became involved in some heavy negotiations. They were attempting to purchase the east side of block 25, which was that area that lay between the newly erected courthouse and F Street. 

The talks were not going well. The parties could not get together on a price. At issue was a row of businesses along F Street, beginning with the Japanese Boarding House whose proprietor was known only as “George.” It stood on the corner of Sixth and F Streets. Known as the “Shady Corner,” the structure was one of the earliest commercial buildings to be built in Madera and at one time housed the Lucca Hotel, operated by a branch of the Simi family.

At the other end of the block, on the corner of F Street and Yosemite Avenue, stood McCluskey’s saloon and barber shop. In between were the Chinese store of Lee Sam, his two story lodging house, and the Yosemite Livery, Feed, & Sale Stable operated by W.B. Coffman.


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