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:
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!