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Madera’s terrific trio

For The Madera Tribune

G.W. Mordecai, one of Madera’s most influential pioneers.


Madera celebrated its fourth birthday in 1880, firmly ensconced along the Southern Pacific Railroad between Berenda to the north and Borden to the south. Within five years, its population of 231 grew to 500 (130 of them voters), and its downtown area began to take on the trappings of a typical pioneer village. By 1887, after a decade of growth, that village was on the verge of becoming a town, and much of that was due to the enterprise of three men: Henry Clay Daulton, Russel Mace, and George Washington Mordecai.

By October 1881, Madera had three hotels, including Captain Mace’s Yosemite Hotel, three general stores, a drug store, several saloons, a butcher shop, a blacksmith shop, and a livery stable. All of these establishments were located on the mill reservation road, which was by then called Yosemite Avenue, Madera’s main street.

Within four years, the number of entrepreneurs along Yosemite Avenue had more than doubled. There were also 47 residences, the most impressive being J.J. Dickenson’s house (built at a cost of $2500), the J.W. Watkins home, and the domicile of John Tozer, foreman of the sash and door factory.


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