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La Vina farmers rescued Brown’s dream

For The Madera Tribune

John Brown is shown here in 1890. His farming colony near Madera evolved into what is now known as the La Vina District.


First came the miners and then the ranchers. They were followed by the lumbermen, and by the late 1800s, the farmers showed up. Within a few years, their family farms replaced the lumber flume as the economic base of Madera County. 

The history of agriculture in this area is, in the main, a story of tremendous achievement, as immigrants and native-born alike moved to Madera to till the soil. Their efforts were crowned with success — with one notable exception — the John Brown Colony.

Brown was born in Warren County, Illinois, in 1860, and moved to Madera in 1889 to realize his vision of building a successful farming colony here. 


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