Clovis-Big Dry Creek Historical Society Officers and Board of Directors elected for the 2017 year:
President: Peg Bos
Vice President: Paul Spraetz
Recording Sec: David Law
Corr. Sec: Frank DeLuca
Treasurer: Judith Preuss
Board of Directors Members:
Below: Our Society President and Museum Curator, Peg Bos, with the Clovis High School Varsity Football team, year 2009.
Hours of Operation: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and by special appointment. Closed on most holidays.
The Clovis Museum is located in the historical 1912 First State Bank Building, 401 Pollasky, in Old Town Clovis.
The Historical Society recreates the infamous 1924 bank robbery by "The Lone Wolf" and "The Owl" on the last Saturday of February each year.
The Streets of Clovis & nearby areas & features
The original Clovis limits included a one square mile of land, bounded by Sierra (north); Villa (west); Barstow (south); and Hughes (east) -now known as Veterans Parkway. East to west streets were designated as 1st Street to 10th street, except that 6th street later was designated as Bullard, named for a well-known developer from Fresno. Clovis Cole sold this land to Marcus Pollasky for the development of our town.
Academy, and Academy Road: Located approx 12 miles east of Clovis, the road, traveling north to south, was named for the township of Academy, just east of the junction of Academy Road and Highway 168. The township was noted for the school that was established there in the late 1800s. Currently, the only evidence of the towns' existance is a California State Historical marker which stands to the south of the pavement.
Baron Street: Named for a member of the San Jouquin Valley Railroad Board of Directors; also see Pollasky, below.
Barstow Ave: Southernmost boundry of the original Clovis City tract. The street was not connected beyond Minniwawa (it was a mandatory left turn to Shaw Avenue for westbound traffic) until the late '50s.
Big Dry Creek Dam and Reservoir: Locted north of Shepard Ave and east of N. Carson Ave. The dam was built to prevent downstream flooding along the Dry Creek streambed during spring, most notably following the flood of 1938. Upstream of the dam is the Big Dry Creek Power station.
Blackstone Ave: Named by useage, in honor of English jurist Sir William Blackstone. In 1888, attorney A. M. Drew and others had built homes along an unnamed county road in the Altamont Addition north of Divisadero Street that stretched to Pinedale. When time came to turn in a plat, a name for the road was needed, so A. M. Drew slapped the name Blackstone upon it and turned it in to the county for recording. The avenue, 8.1 miles from Fresno's Divisadero St, to the burb of Pinedale to the north, where it swerves east to become Friant Ave, it was a connection for Clovis residents to drive west on Shaw to Blackstone Ave to get to Fresno. It was the street where DiCicco's placed their first restaurant, as well as Shakey's Pizza.
Bullard Avenue: Formerly 6th Street; it was a major route into Clovis and was renamed to honor a Fresno developer. In downtown Clovis, the street ends at Pollasky Avenue, but east of Sunnyside it resumes its' path easward under the Bullard name.
Clovis Avenue: Named after Clovis Cole, the "King of Wheat", who owned land from the Redbanks area West of the Sierra foothills all the way to Madera; the street is the main north to south street for the City of Clovis; it ran parallel to the San Joaquin Valley Railroad (SJVR) tracks (the tracks have now been removed and a walking/bicycle path put in its' place). Formerly Front Street, then Fulton Street. Clovis Cole sold one square mile of his property to Marcus Pollasky to establish the township of Clovis. Clovis Avenue at one time ended it northern trajectory at Herndon Avenue, across the driveway of the Wheeler ranch.
Clovis, California: Our fair city was named for the Wheat King, Clovis M. Cole. Clovis and his wife, Elizabeth, sold one square mile of land to Michigan lawyer Marcus Pollasky (see below), who came to town to develope a railroad that would serve the farm and lumber industries in the area. The price was $4,000 in gold coin. Pollasky put the name "Clovis" on the rail station, so the township was named as such. The new city incorporated in 1912.
Clovis Hotel: Located on the NW Corner of 4th Street and Pollasky Avenue. Once operated by Mrs. (Elizabeth) C.M. Cole, the wife of Clovis M. Cole (for which the City of Clovis is named).
Cole Street: Named for the Clovis Cole family, the "King of Wheat" of the nation in the late 1800s and early 1900s, from which the city of Clovis and Clovis Avenue derived their names. Cole is also the Easternmost boundry of the original Clovis City tract.
Copper Avenue: Formerly known as Copper Inn Road; an east to west avenue, with the easternmost section located at an old copper mine of historical significance. Prospector James R. McCombs, an early gold miner from Millerton laid the first claim to the location in the late 1860s after digging a claim hole and registering it. Clovis pioneer John Mitchell Heiskell began working the mine in 1871 and established a ranch, later called the "Old Copper Mine Ranch". The International Land Company of England bought the mine and 2,000 acres in 1891; the smelter (built to support the mine) closed in 1902. A railroad track was built to support the mine; one of the railroads' engineers was Luther E. Weldon, and his son, John Weldon, was born was born in one of the houses that supported the mine and railroad. While Copper Avenue is better known because of the mine, the Inn was a converted farmhouse used as a small store for passers-by to purchase milk and other sundries. Copper mining in California was seldom a significant contributor to the economy. In its' later history, an epidemic of hoof and mouth disease struck a cattle herd of Frank Whiton; the cattle were slaughtered and the bodies were thrown into the mine shaft, followed by lime to hurry the decomposition.
C. Todd Clark Intermediate School: Located at 902 Fifth Street, on what was once the Southern portion of the original Clovis Union High school campus next to the Mercedes Edwards Center for Performing Arts. This school was named for C. Todd Clark (1877 - 1933), a Methodist minister. He served on the Clovis High School Board of Trustees (1922 - 1928) and served in the California State Assembly (1931 - 1933), and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors (1933 - 1949) and was chair for eight years. He was married to Kate Potter in 1898.
DeWitt Street: A north to south street, named for H. G. DeWitt, a director of the San Jouquin Valley Railroad Board of Directors; He was also a manager for the Helm-Maupin Lands Company; also see Pollasky, below.
Dry Creek Elementary School: The original school that would eventually become the Clovis Unified School District was established in 1866. In 1899, the district encompassed 7 more schools.
Fowler Avenue: named for rancher Thomas Fowler, of Fowler, CA, an early 1870s California state senator. If the street were extended south, it would arrive directly to the township of Fowler, formerly known as Fowler Switch.
Fresno: A large city (population 500,000) located largely to the south, west, and northwest of our city of Clovis. Fresno also serves as the seat for Fresno County (population approx. 1,000,000).
Front Street: Later renamed Fulton in honor of a San Jouquin Valley Railroad board member and major financier for the SJVR; later, renamed to Clovis Avenue.
Fulton Street: Originally called Front Street, then renamed Fulton, until, finally, Clovis Avenue.
Gibson Street: Lewis Wells Gibson was the first President of the Board of Directors (later to be called the City Council) for the newly incorporated city of Clovis in 1912.
Glorietta: A former railroad stop (see San Jouquin Valley Railroad -SJVR, below) located just north of Herndon Avenue and east of Minniwawa; the RR stop accomodated the Glorietta fruit packing company located there.
Hedges Avenue: Named for H. P. Hedges, whose daughter, Threna Hedges, was married to William T. Shaw (see below). H. P. was a member of the Fresno Fire Commission
Herndon Avenue: Named for the rural railroad station just south of the San Joaquin River, which took its name from an obscure railway employee. The "town" of Herndon, near the junction of Calif. State Highway 99, also shares the name.
Hoblett Ave: An east to west street named for the Hoblett family (Joshua C. Hoblitt) and the famed early day Hoblett Hotel once located on the NE corner of 4th Street and Pollasky Avenue. The Bistro restaurat is now located there in the former lobby.
Hughes Street: Named after Thomas E. Hughes, a well known developer in Fresno (also, see Veterans Parkway). Hughes was the original eastern boundry for the newly incorporated city of Clovis.
Landmark Commons: Just east of Clovis Ave, at 3rd Street and Veteran Park Blvd (formerly Hughes Ave); the area will encumpas the new (2017) Clovis Regional Library (with 30,000 square feet of space, including meeting/conference rooms and children's center), the Senior Activity Center, and the nexus for the Clovis transportation system.
Liberty Park: A small Sycamore Tree-studded park located on the South-West corner of Clovis Avenue and Sierra Avenue. Post-World War II, Clovis housing was scarce, so, the city used the once vacant land to install barracks (obtained from the closed Hammer Field Army Airbase) that had been converted into three or fourplexes; these were used for housing by former military personnel and their families. When that usage was exhausted, the buildings were razed and the bare land was converted to the park that we see today.
Midway: Now Sunnyside Avenue; Midway Avenue still exists west of Sunnyside. The street was named to commemorate the sacrifices that our troops suffered at Midway Island in the Pacific. Midway is the northern-most Hawaiin Island that was once a stop for Transworld Airways seaplanes that traveled from San Francisco to the Orient.
Mountain Rest: A location south-west of Shaver Lake and Pine Crest, along the current Highway 168. The location was named by Phoebe Jane (Waite) Nelson (known locally as "the Widow Waites").
Nees Ave: normally associated with the Nees Colony, north east of Clovis. A school was established by the colony at about the time the Garfield School was also established. Named for I.G. Nees, a developer partner of the Moore and Nees Real Estate company. Sometimes pronounced to rhyme with "niece" and sometimes with "knees", which is the more modern version.
Newman: A railroad stop (see San Jouquin Valley Railroad, below) located north of Shaw Avenue and east of Clovis Avenue; the stop accomodated the fruit packing companies located there.
Owens Mountain: A small hillock located to the north-east of Clovis, and directly north of the Acadamy area; sometimes refered to as Wyatt Mountain.
Owens Mountain Parkway: East of Clovis, is named for pioneer ranchers Charles and Carrie Cole Owen, according to late historian and auther Catherine M. Rehart. It was named by the Clovis City Council on June 4, 2012, and runs parallel to Highway 168 between Temperance and DeWolf Avenues.
Pollasky Avenue: Named for Marcus Pollasky, an entrepreneur from Michigan who responded to a call from Thomas E. Hughes (considered as the Father of Fresno) (see Hughes St.). Hughes' purpose was to create a Trans-Sierra Railroad to transport goods between the San Jouquin Valley and the east coast. Pollasky, representing capital from New York & Chicago, was elected President of the San Jouquin Valley Railroad, and was instrumental in building a 27 mile railroad between Fresno and Hamptonville (now Friant, CA). This railroad (later bought and operated by the Southern Pacific) helped in the further development of Clovis by offering a cheap, economical way for local wineries, lumbermen, farmers, and packing houses to ship their products.
Prues Ave: An east-west street named for peach orchadist Charles Prues, Sr., whose farm was located nearby, fronting Minnewawa Ave. His cutting shed was well known in the area because the west facing wall was covered in deer and elk antlers.
Sanger, CA: A town (current population of approx. 30,000 people), formerly known as Sanger Junction, located nearly 14 miles southeast of Clovis; named for the then Sectretary-Treasurer of the Southern Pacific Railroad Yardmaster Association, Joseph Sanger, Jr. Ironically, Joseph never visited his namesake town. The town was world famous as having the longest lumber flume in existence (Clovis, CA, had the second longest, with Madera, CA having the third longest). Similar to Clovis and Madera, lumber was king at the beginning of the 1900s, but in all cases, effort switched to agriculture with emphasis on wheat, then to fruit and fruit products. Sanger is now proclaimed as "The Christmas Tree City" by the US Postal Service, a reference to the city's adoption of the General Sherman Redwood Tree in nearby Kings Canyon National Park. It is home to the Sanger Museum, located in a former Southern Pacific Railroad station building near downtown.
San Jouquin Valley Railroad (SJVR): The San Jouquin Valley Railroad, established by Marcus Pollasky (see above) and his consortium of investors. It was suspected to be a front for the Southern Pacific Railroad, but not confirmed (yes, we print rumors here). The original railroad tracks were pulled up and the right-of-way has been made into the Clovis-Fresno Walking Trail. The SJVR, in its' time, served the logging, gravel (from Pacific Gravel near Friant), passenger, general shipping, and fruit packing industries. Plans were for the SJVR to traverse from Fresno to Truckee, CA, but the track was ultimately curtailed at Friant, 14 miles south of Clovis.
Shaver Lake: Named for C. B. Shaver, President of the Fresno Flume and Irrigation Company, incorporated October 31, 1891, A. B. Long, Vice President. The company built a dam -since rebuilt and re-furbished, that created the lake that bears the Shaver name. C. W. Musick was Treasurer of the company, for which Musick Mountain is named. The company shipped Sugar Pine, White Pine, and Fir lumber, plus boxes, trays, shakes, and all types of building materials. The mill, located in Clovis, is now occupied by the Clovis Rodeo grounds and the Clark Inermediate School, south of 5th street, alongside the Mercedes Edwards Auditorium.
Shaw Avenue: Now called "The Avenue" by Clovis-ites. Named for a Fresno Pioneer, William T. Shaw, who came here in 1878 with his cousin, M. R. Madary. Madary was a developer, constructing buildings and operating a lumber mill; Shaw was also a building contractor; he married Threna Hedges, whose father, H. P. Hedges, was on the fire commission (see Hedges, above). Shaw was later elected constable of Fresno in 1892 and 1894, and then in 1906 he was the Fresno Police Chief, serving untill 1911. He also served on the Fresno police and fire commissions.
Shephard Avenue: See Teague Ave.
Stanford Addition: A large tract of homes which began development at the turn of the 1900's; the tract is bordered by Fouth Street (north), Fifth Street (south) -now Bullard Avenue, Sunnyside Avenue (west), and Fowler Avenue (east), and is about one mile to the east of Clovis. The tract was nicknamed "Bingville" because of the sounds made by the pumps used by the homes to obtain water.
Teague Avenue: Likely named for Charles Teague, a banker and rancher who had ranch properties, including the Shephard-Teague Land Company (est. 1892), preceding 1911. Teague was born in England in 1869 (per historian Paul Vandar). The family came to the Fresno area in 1881. Teague helped organize the First National Bank of Clovis in 1912, at the current location of the Clovis Museum, and also set up the Producers Oil Co., and also helped set up the Sunnyside Country Club. Teague passed away in 1942 at 73 years of age.
Tollhouse Road: Named for the mountain town of Tollhouse, which began as a collection point for tolls being levied for the use of travelers going up the "tollhouse grade", a steep, winding, road that passed throug Mountain Rest, Pine Ridge, Shaver Lake, and onward to Huntington Lake. The road begins at an area east of Clovis, known as "five corners" which continues eastward from its juncture with Clovis' Third Street. Tollhouse Grade is now bypassed by State Highway 168.
Veterans Parkway: Also, see Hughes Avenue. By City Council proclamation on June 1, 2015, the street named Hughes Avenue, between 3rd Street and 5th Street, will be revised on all affected maps to read "Veterans Parkway". The name change came about after 10 years of off-and-on deliberation to honor its position adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Building. While not truly a "parkway" (it only has two lanes), the street derives its name from Veterans Park, which is located on the east side of the Memorial Building.
Veterans Park: A small park between the Veterans Memorial Building and the Clovis School of Law (formerly the Clovis High School campus). It is the location of the Clovis High School Alumni Stones, which are imbedded into the sidewalks and a small plaza. Each stone is etched with the names of every Clovis High School graduating student since 1902, when the school was built, until the school relocated to Fowler and Barstow Avenue. The appeal for the name change was made to the City Council by Tom Wright on behalf of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
Villa Avenue: Northernmost boundry of the original Clovis City tract.
Winery Avenue: Named for the Roessler Winery that was in operation at 1944 N. Winery at that time. The main barn, or winery building, made of double adobe brick, still exists at that address as part of the Fresno Discovery Center, Fresno, Ca., with original farm and orchards across the street from the Discovery Center.
Woodworth Avenue: A street, joining DeWitt Avenue to the north and Barstow Avenue to the south, was named for a former board member of the San Jouquin Valley Railroad and a major financier for the SJVR. The street was made extra wide (as is Pollasky Avenue) to ease the turning of horse-drawn wagons laded with lumber from the nearby Fresno Flume and Irrigation Company's saw mill (now the Clovis Rodeo Assn rodeo arena at the east end of Rodeo Drive).
We display and maintain pictures and artifacts of Clovis M. Cole, the Wheat King of the United States during the 1880-1890's; photos and articles of Marcus Pollasky, a key developer of the Clovis Township; original portion of the 1893 Fresno Flume and Irrigation, which brought lumber and water from Shaver Lake; Indian artifacts; early day pictures and information of over 300 Clovis area families; 1903-1965 graduation pictures of Clovis High School students and school annuals for those years; history of the 1912 First State Bank and their 1924 bank robbery; Clovis Veterans display of WW I, WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, and the Desert Wars; memorabilia of Ken "Festus" Curtis of "Gunsmoke", and much, much, more.
Public service information is provided free to the community through our "Let's Talk Clovis" and "Clovis Living Legend" programs (see the Home Page for listing and schedules) at the Clovis District Memorial Building, 453 Hughes, on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM. The series are filmed and made available to the public for review.
Admission to the museum is free; donations are accepted.
Annual memberships to the Historical Society are: $20 for families; $15 for adult individuals ($10 Senior). For Patrons: $250 or more; Businesses: $100; Sponsors: $80; Sustaining: $40.
Just submit your name, address, e-mail address (if any), and check via mail, or, in person at the Clovis Museum, at the address noted in the banner at the bottom of this page.
Members receive a monthly newsletter containing the scheduled lectures and other information relating to the museum.
To join, send your tax-deductible payment (check preferred) to Clovis-Big Dry Creek Historical Society at the address noted below, with your names(s), mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address, as applicable.
Below: Harold Brandon, Peg Bos, & Norma Meek at the front door of the Clovis Museum
An astounding newspaper reporter, May Case: 1st woman Deputy Marshall; Oklahoma Land Rush; interviewed notorious Indian Chiefs Geronimo & Parker; wrote for 8 Calif. newspapers plus wire services; founded the Clovis Independant with her husband, Spurgeon in 1919; a reporter for over 75 years.
The Owen Family
Pioneer ranchers Charles and Carrie Cole Owen: Charles Owen's father George W. Owen was born in Cincinnati in the first half of the 1800s and farmed in Ohio, Illinios and Nebraska before coming to California with his wife, Eleanor, and their seven children, in 1862. He farmed Northern California until 1876, when he bought land near the Fresno County foothills and raised cattle. He died in 1880. Charles Owen married Carrie Cole, sister of Clovis Cole, for whom the city of Clovis is named. The couple grew wheat and raised racehorses. Brother Richard Owen was an expert in racehorses and the two became partners, raising livestock and thoroughbreds. Charles Owen's ranch at Minnewawa and Nees Avenues included a racetrack. According to historian Catherine M. Rehart, one of Owen's racehorses, Flush of Gold set the wold's record in the mile two years in a row.
Charles and Carrie Owen retired in 1902 and bought an ornate Queen-Anne-style house at 2631 E. Washington Ave in Fresno. he ws killed in a train crash on Dec. 20, 1902, less thana year after they moved in. "Tragically, he was returning from a business trip to San Francisco to attend the Christmas wedding of his daughter," Rehart wrote. Owen Mountain, east of Clovis is named for this family. -From an article by Paula Lloyd, in The Fresno Bee, March 08, 2015.
Elvey Perkins, 36 Years of City Service
Elvey Perkins reired after 36 years of service to the City of CLovis on October 29, 1993. The city recognized his leadership and declared Elvey Perkins week in 1977 and 1987. He was inducted into the Clovis Hall of Fame in 1993. On May 28, 1957, he was the first African-American to be hired by Clovis. He was trained for 2 weeks by Louis Milanesi, the supervisor of the sewage treatment plant south of the Fresno Air Terminal (FAT), now the Yosemite Air Terminal (YAT). Louis shared vital information with Elvey, who is now one of the most informed historians of Clovis. Louis Milanesi retired in 1967 and Elvey was appointed Field Services Superintendent.
Elvey was born an only child of Elvey Sr. and Lonnie Perkins in Trinity, TX. His father worked in a saw mill making 11 cents per hour prior to joining the U.S. Army during WWII. His parents divorced when Elvey was 4 years old and he was raised by his paternal grandmother. Elvey arrived in Clovis in 1947 after his mother married Jack Eaton (the couple came to Clovis in 1945). The couple leased an auto repair shop at 5th & Tollhouse from Augie Roberts and started Jack's Garage; they were the first African-Americans to own and operate a commercial business in Clovis. Soon after, the couple built a home at 1655 4th St.
Elvey graduated from Clovis High School in 1950. Elvey attended Reedley College as a music major, and lettered in football. Shortly thereafter he was drafted into the U.S. Army for service in the Korean War. Elvey married Geraldine (Gerrie) Bryant in 1951 and had sons Lonnell, Kim, and Andre; all excelling in in sports and their chosen professions. Lonnell and Andre remain in the Clovis area.
Gerrie and Elvie were tireless, talented civic and church leaders at Mt.Moriah Baptist Church. Elvey remembers when Gerrie volunteered their garage for Salvation Army storage space; he stated: "it didn't matter that I had to park my car outside. Nobody was stealing at that time anyway. The door to our house was never locked, even when we were out of town."
Gerrie passed away in 1982, at age 48. The Clovis Police Dept, in full dress uniforms and vehicles, escorted her funeral procession.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Elvey as Public Works Ambassador to Vietnam to facilitate improvement of their infrastructure. Elvey also received a commendation from the Calif. State Dept. of Water Resources for supervising one of the most effective waste water treatment plants in the state.
Elvey had always been a loyal and active leader in Clovis. He was a board member of the Clovis Museum. He and his family have enriched our heritage.
From a "Let's Talk Clovis" article by Peg Bos that appeared in a Clovis Roundup article July 03,2014
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