Railroads and Boondoggles

A young 25 year old stranger named Clovis M. Cole arrived here and quickly bought up many acres of dry barren land. He planted it, mostly in wheat, and waited. At about the same time another stranger arrived on the scene. By fate or design the two newcomers would soon be in league with each other.
It was in the summer of 1891 and horse drawn scrapers smoothed the way as men unloaded railroad timber near the corner of what is now Clovis & 4th Streets. Men and horses hurried to lay a railway track between the Southern Pacific Co. tracks in S Fresno and a rail-switch located near the San Joaquin River a few miles north of the Clovis. Marcus Pollasky claimed to own a company that was starting up a venture called, The San Joaquin Valley Railroad. He was looking for investors to purchase stock in his RR that he said would cross the Sierra Nevada mountains east of Clovis and supposedly connect with the High Sierra community of Truckee. Local residents were excited about the prospect for trade and many eagerly invested their life savings. Clovis Cole quickly donated more than a thousand acres of right-of-way to Pollasky in exchange for the construction of a depot which opened on Nov. 25, 1891 to much fanfare. Over 3000 investors attended that day and were treated to a free ride to the site of the celebration on a railroad flatcar.
Appearances are sometimes deceiving. Investors became curious as to why Pollasky’s railroad was using equipment clearly marked with the name and logo of the hated Southern Pacific Co. He claimed he had rented the questionable equipment but the following year the suspicions were becoming all too true. Before Spring, Pollasky and the San Joaquin Valley Railroad Co. were in bankruptcy; the company was awarded to none other than the Southern Pacific RR. By the close of 1892 the celebration ride on a railroad flatcar had fallen flat. Yet, it is that Railroad, and the 42 mile flume from Shaver Lake that provided the impetus for the founding of the City of Clovis. The Clovis Ave you see today is far different from its humble beginning. ….. Incorporated in 1912, Clovis downtown became a thriving center of activity, its streets named in honor of the founders of the railroad; its theme ‘ Clovis a way of Life’ is affectionately known as the Gateway to the Sierras.

About Town Taste treads through Old Town exploring the history, art & antiques of the charming town this coming weekend, 1/22/11 at 10a. only $20pp.
Please call or email for a reservation to join us. Meet up location will be given with reservation. info@AboutTownTaste.com or 559.392.4471 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              559.392.4471      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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