Reviewing the Early and 90 Years, 1912-2002, of Clovis Part 2

1915 Clovis Sanitarium. (Courtesy of Clovis Museum)

I will continue to share the program I wrote in 2002 for the 90th celebration of the incorporation of Clovis.

The Fresno Flume and Irrigation 42-mile flume from Shaver Lake would arrive here in 1893. It terminated on sixty acres that is now occupied by Clark Intermediate School and Clovis Rodeo Association. More than 400 men were employed at its peak production. A major portion of the flume was destroyed by a severe snowstorm in 1914 and was not repaired. Our mill would close in 1925.

There were no butcher shops in Clovis in the early days. Meat was brought in a butcher wagon from Madera. Vegetables were sold to housewives by Chinese peddlers. Horse, bicycle, railroad and boats were the mode of transportation.

Azalea Ball Biglione was born in Clovis in 1909. Her father Harry Ball had built their home on the present Clovis Memorial Building location in 1908.  He operated a grain storage and sales just west of his home. The family moved to the Friant area during WWI. Azalea remembered riding her horse to Clovis, two hours each way, for music lessons.

In 1899, the Clovis High School district was formed. The first graduates in 1902 were Emory Reyburn and Robert Lee Brown. Four seniors would graduate in 1903. In 1955, the Clovis Unified School District was formed and Dr. Floyd Buchanan was appointed our first district Superintendent. He served for 31 years and is credited with bringing our school district to a level of excellence.

Three generations of the Osterburg family have played on championship Clovis High football teams: Fred, 1947, Gary, 1971 and Sean, 1997.

Little is known of a Mr. Wren who published our first paper. The Clovis Tribune was founded by H. W. McCormick in 1905.  H. E. Armstrong would purchase the paper in 1911. S.S. and May Case founded the Clovis Independent in 1919. May would be nationally honored in 1964 as the oldest/active (75 years of reporting) newspaper woman in the world.

Dr. Richard Tracy Clark would practice from here from 1898-1920’s and Dr. Milton McMurtry from 1904-1962.

Three Pendergrass Doctors, father William C. and sons James E. and Clayton would provide, 1912 to 1980, 68 years of medical service. Dr. Wilbur Lose would deliver 800 Clovis babies from 1941-1969.

Our first Clovis Sanitarium was established by Registered Nurse Julia E. Rowley in 1915 at the 1906 two story DeWitt building on Pollasky.  In 1920, Dr. McMurtry would convert an 1896 home on Pollasky into a Sanitarium that would close in 1959. A new hospital would be built in 1965 on the NW corner of Sierra and DeWitt. We now benefit from the Clovis Community Medical Center, NE corner of Temperance and Herndon. They continue to expand and invest millions to improve our medical service.

Methodists were the first to build a church in 1893 on the SW corner of Fifth and Woodworth. Shortly after, the Presbyterian congregation would be built on Woodworth just south of the Methodists. The First Baptist Church arrived in 1903 on the NE corner of Fourth and DeWitt. A Catholic mission parish was established in 1909. They built their church in 1912 at Eighth and DeWitt.

Aniello Sassano opened his business in Clovis in 1907. His great grandson Greg manages our oldest commercial business. Greg’s mother Lela was born in Clovis and remains active at age 100.

Good farmland attracted Frank McFarlane who began farming almonds, citrus and wheat in 1916. Gordon and Leola Harlan purchased their first orange grove in 1941. Muriel and Earl Smittcamp began farming peaches in 1945. Pat Ricchiuti Sr. would purchase 70 acres in 1946. He farmed peaches, cotton and grapes.

In addition to providing civic leadership, the siblings of these families continue to excel in farming and related enterprises.

Early immigrants: Danes, Yugoslavians, Japanese, Italian, Armenian and Mexican brought their talent and leadership. They were major contributors to our “Clovis Way of Life”.

Good people founded Clovis. We have a rich heritage.

Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.