Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lady Jan answers the Question, "Where the Heck Is Madera?"

I was born and raised in Madera California, and most of the time when I tell someoen where I'm from I get this reaction:

"Where the heck is Madera?"

So here I hope to answer the question:

The county seat of Madera is at the junction of Hwy 99 and Hwy 145 on the Fresno River. Officials of the California Lumber Company had the town laid out in 1876 at the end of a flume that brought lumber 63 miles from the mountains to the railroad.

Madera means "wood" or "timber" in Spanish. Madera Post Office has been open since 1877. The town was incorporated in 1907.

Madera was originally a part of Fresno, and if you look on the map it really does look like it's been carved right from Fresno county's side. This is also the reason we have the Fresno river that flows right through Madera city and county.

The first contact by Spanish expeditions occurred in 1776. The establishment of missions in the region in 1804 introduced Old World diseases to the Indians and an epidemic of malaria in 1833 largely displaced and obliterated the Yokut population.

The land on both sides of the river became part of a Spanish land grant in the 1800's but the owner never occupied the land and it was eventually abandoned.

In 1958 Hollywood celebrities Jack Haley and Jackie Gleason filed the first subdivision plans. This first subdivision became Madera Ranchos. While Haley and Gleason are long gone they left a Hollywood legacy in the names of most of the streets. Caron Way, Sparta, Gleason and Gabor are a few examples.

Madera's Climate: The climate is hot and dry. Arid really. Average maximum temperature in July through August is 97-105 degrees and the low night time temps. are 68-73.8 degrees. Average maximum in January is 56.8 degrees with a low of 32.2. Rainfall average is 11.15 inches.

Colleges: State Center Community College's Madera Center Campus is located on Avenue 12, 4 miles west of the Ranchos. Fresno State University and Fresno Pacific College are located in Fresno 15 miles to the south.

Airports: Passenger and freight service, Yosemite Gateway International. Private planes, Municipal Airport Madera.

Medical Services: Madera Community Hospital, 10 miles. Madera Ranchos Health Clinic. Valley Children's Hospital, 3 miles.

Transportation Routes: Freeway 99 is 5 miles to the west of Madera Ranchos and gives access to the north part of the state. Hwy 41 which bisects the area is currently being extended as a freeway from Fresno into Madera County. Highway 41 gives access to the southern part of the state and to Yosemite National Park and the Mountain Communities of Eastern Madera County.

Location: 10 miles to Madera, 10 miles to Fresno, 75 miles to Yosemite, 145 miles to Sacramento. Southeastern Madera County is exactly in the middle of the state. Technically half of the area is located in Southern California and half is located in Northern California.

As the southern gateway to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest, tourism is big business in Madera County. And since 1994, tourism has grown 50% to a $200 million industry and has added 677 new jobs.

Yet, like most parts of the Valley, agriculture and food processing are the real backbone for this region of 110,000 people. In 1996, cash receipts totaled $712,113,000, making it the 13th leading agricultural county in the state. The leading revenue commodities were almonds, grapes, milk, cotton, pistachios, hay, cattle, oranges, apples, and turkeys. (Turkey?)

There are over 50 manufacturing plants in the county. In addition to food processing and wine making and bottling and food packaging materials, products include food machinery, farm equipment, air conditioning, and steel.

Madera is the original
gateway to Yosemite (by stagecoach), and that is why today we have streets named Gateway Ave., and our main street is Yosemite Ave, there is also a Stagecoach road too.

Here are some Madera links, that I hope you enjoy:
Madera's History

We Maderan's like to be in the middle of things because--well--we just are:
Madera is in the exact middle of the central valley, and the unofficial dividing line between Northern and Southern California.
Madera is in the exact center of California
Madera is almost half way between Merced and Fresno.

And here is something else about Madera too:
Madera at Wikipedia
Some photos of
Yosemite--that what is in my back yard!


Merle said...

Hi Janice ~~ Thank you for your
comments. I hope you got your car fixed OK and that there ARE NO no more of THOSE days. Take care, my friend, Merle.

Granny said...

I should do one of those about Merced one of these days. Of course, I'm not a native.

Very nice. When I think of the word Madera I think of wine. Maybe the wine is named after the casks it's aged in? I should look it up.

I drive through Madera Ranchos often on the way to Valley Children's but never knew about the celebrity connection. There's a fun restaurant there with old jukeboxes and pics from the rock and roll era.

Turtle Guy said...

Thanks for the history... and the geography lesson!

Janice said...

Hi Merel,

Those days continue I'm afraid. That ssss, then pop! I heard was the radiator exploiding, and the cost of fixing the hood and the radiator replacement, is going to be $850.+ yikes! But it's supose to be fixed by Monday.

I hope that new blog of your's is working out well.

Take care.

Hi Ann,

I think you should do one on Merced, becasue after all it is your adopted home town, and also Merced has a very long and distingished history.

The Madera Ranchos is on the oposite side of Madera from me( several miles out in fact), and it is very interesting about that Hollywood connect that I didn't know about either--so it was a new one on me and I grew up here.

I do know that one of the cast members from The Wizard of Oz, I think it was the Scare Crow, (but I don't remember) lived his last few remaining years in the Ranchos.

The name of Madera means wood, and is named from the lumber company that used the flume to trainsport lumber to our city. At one time there were three big lumber company's here, and it was a big buiness. I still remember trucks transporting big huge logs of giant red woods dripping with water, and with moss still on them through Madera, when I was a child.

We do have serveral wineries here in Madera, the one my husband works at is the old Mission Bell winery and I'm not sure how old it is but it does really date back. We have so many wineries here that there is a wine tasting street sign set up to direct tourist to them.

I'm sure the resturant is very nice, but I'm sorry I have never been there.

Hi Turtle Guy,

And your welcome!

Janice said...

Oops, sorry.

I forgot to add, your Lady Jan~