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People :: froggygg :: Wiki :: Hometown


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Hometown Pictures and History

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History of Visalia


Visalia is the oldest town between San Francisco and Los Angeles and indeed is the Crown Jewel of the San Joaquin Valley, well worth your time to take the 198-exit east to Visalia from Highway 99.

When California achieved statehood in 1850, Tulare County did not exist. The land that is now our county was part of the huge County of Mariposa. In 1852, some adventuresome pioneers settled in this area, then called Four Creeks. The area got its name from many watershed creeks and rivers flowing from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. All the water resulted in a widespread swampy area with a magnificent oak forest. The industrious group of settlers petitioned the state legislature for county status and on July 10 of that same year, Tulare County became a reality.

One of the first inhabitants of a fort built by the settlers, unnecessarily as it turns out; to protect themselves from Native Americans was Nathaniel Vise. Nathaniel was responsible for surveying the new settlement. In November of 1852, he wrote, "The town contains from 60-80 inhabitants, 30 of whom are children of school age. The town is located upon one of the subdivisions of the Kaweah (River) and is destined to be the county seat of Tulare.” In 1853, that prediction became a reality and Visalia has remained the county seat since that time.

Visalia is named for Nathaniel Vises' ancestral home, Visalia, Kentucky. Early growth in Visalia can be attributed in part to the gold rush along the Kern River. The gold fever brought many transient miners through Visalia along the way and when the lure of gold failed to materialize, many returned to Visalia to live their lives and raise families.

In 1858 Visalia was added to John Butterfield's Overland Stage route from St. Louis to San Francisco. A plaque commemorating the location can be found at 116 East Main Street. Included in the early crop of citizens were some notorious and nasty individuals who preyed upon the travelers along the Butterfield Stage route. Many saloons and hotels sprouted up around the stage stop downtown and commerce was brisk if a bit risky.

The next memorable event was the arrival of the telegraph in 1860. Visalians then could get timely information of the events taking place on the East Coast which would ultimately develop into the Civil War.

During the Civil War, many of citizens of Visalia couldn't decide whether Visalia should stand on the side of the North or the South, so they simply had a Mini Civil War of their own on Main Street. No one really knows the outcome of the war, but apparently it was concluded to the satisfaction of the participants and life returned to normal.

The federal government however, was not so easily convinced and reacting to concern about sedition banned Visalia’s pro-south Equal Rights Expositor newspaper and established a military garrison. CampBabbitt was built in 1862 to stop overt southern support as well as maintain law and order in the community. During these Civil War years, Visalia was incorporated which gave the town new rights. The second incorporation in 1874 moved Visalia into city status with a common council and an ex-officio Mayor and President.

Once a creek side settlement, Visalia is now a thriving city with over 118,000 inhabitants and has become a community that takes great pride in the small town feel and high quality of life that accompanies big city amenities.





Visalia's Sister Cities

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Putignano, Bari, Italy

Visalia's realtionship with Putignano started November 24, 1980.


It is located in Provincia di Bari (Providence of Bari), the Southern part of Italy.The Carnival of Putignano is recognized as one of the most important carnivals in Italy and attracts many vistors each year. It began in 1394 and is today the oldest italian carnival. Much like Visalia, one of their main focuses has been agriculture, but it is becoming progressively more industrialized.





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Miki City, Japan

Visalia's relationship with Miki City, Japan was formed July 1, 1993.

In 1954, Miki declared itself a city after the four main towns amalgamated under a single local government. And Miki enlarged its size by merging with Yokawa in 2005.Today Miki boasts many attractive facilities that promote cultural, social, and recreational activities such as Horse Land Park, Mikiyama Forest Park, Greenpia Miki, and the Yamada-Nishiki-no-Sato.

Miki Hardware Festival
The Miki Hardware Festival held on the first weekend in November attracts over 160,000 people from throughout the country. Local manufacturers exhibit and sell their wares, a fusion of traditional and modern technology.

Miki Hardware was born from traditional and modern technology. Miki is well known to all of Japan as one of the oldest towns of blacksmiths. Its hardware makes us remind of the pride of the craftsmen to their tradition.



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