Clovis’ Dramatic Day

Picture a quiet Tuesday afternoon Feb. 5, 1924, all is well as locals go about their daily business, when a stranger walks into the First State Bank on Pollasky Ave. in Clovis.
The bank manager had stepped out briefly for lunch leaving assistant cashier Thomas Howison alone in the bank. Howison was fairly new to the job recently graduating from college; this was sleepy Clovis after all! Howison greets the stranger with a “How do you do?” while the man puts down a $20 bill asking for change.

Bank heists were a rare occurrence in the Central Valley so Howison had no reason to expect what was about to unfold. It would be another decade before the daring bank robberies by the likes of bandits such as Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd. Meanwhile, as the stranger nicknamed The Owl waited for his change, his co-conspirator Felix The Lone Wolf Sloper, slipped in through a rear door creeping up behind the cashier. Howison found himself looking down the barrel of a revolver and was ordered to “stick ‘em up.” Tying his hands behind his back they shoved him into the vault, and quickly looted $31,000; a mix of currency, gold and stocks.

Fleeing the scene, The Owl and The Lone Wolf were surprised by the return of bank Vice President Emory Reyburn! Ordering him into a corner they jumped into their waiting getaway car, stolen earlier in the day. Reyburn gave the alarm as the fleeing bandits made their get-away heading south on Clovis Avenue. Nearby, the Sheriff was at a local elementary school and quickly gathered some boy scouts who happened to be there, giving chase. Pursuit of the robbers was cut short by a trail of roofing nails the bandits had dropped on the road as they fled.

Meeting up with another accomplice, the young and charming Catherine Ryan, girlfriend of the not so lone, Lone Wolf Sloper, the robbers tried to stay low hiding out. Investigators traced the trio to a house in Fresno rented before the Clovis heist. As the pursuit and investigation progressed, led by Sheriff Bill Jones and Deputy Sheriff O.J. King, they uncovered a key piece of evidence left behind… an article of clothing with a laundry tag on it. This lead to where Ryan lived and detectives put her under surveillance. Patience and careful observation eventually led them to the trio who were soon arrested at gunpoint.

Want to hear the rest of the story? Be sure to stop by the Clovis-Big Dry Creek Museum the last SAT of February as the robbery is reenacted with a short mellow drama in the very same bank building, at the southeast corner of Pollasky and Fourth Street.
Meanwhile, why not join our walking adventure Nibbles & Bits of Old Town and hear more stories? We tread through the charming streets of Old Town February 16th walking our way through interesting history, some cool art and even include food tastes along the way… Just $49pp. reserve online at

A Game of Checkers

If the old Clovis Hotel is looking homier to you, you’re not off your rocker. With Victoria Rose Tea House closed in that location and Hearts Delight relocating into the historic hotel space, Old Town’s got a large-scale game of checkers going on. And that’s just how Cora Shipley wants it.

Cora and her husband Bill are big fans of Cracker Barrel restaurants. So much so that they regularly drive down to Kingman AZ to visit the closest one! Those drives can be a tad long. Cora & Bill got to talking and came up with an idea for Old Town. cracker-barrel-general
“We thought something similar to the Cracker Barrel theme would work well in Old Town” shares Cora. When the tea house closed they jumped at the chance to make their dream come true. cracker-barrel-2

Hearts Delight, with its cute, colorful and country-style items, has already settled within the old hotel space. Bill & Cora are also moving their delectable meals from the Scoops & Soups location into the other half of the hotel. The new eatery will be known as The Old Hotel Bistro. They will begin serving up home-style meals that they are known for, at the new bistro this weekend! Whew, our head is spinning… or their off their rockers with such a fast turnaround. And those rockers? rockers You may see some on the front porch soon!
Meanwhile we’ll be traipsing our way through Old Town this Saturday on the next Nibbles & Bits of Old Town adventure. We’ve already sold half the spots on the tour but there are a few left… just for you! Click here to get the last tickets and we’ll see YOU Saturday morning.

Kuppa Joy!

The new brew-house in Old Town, Kuppa Joy, is setting out to elevate coffee in Clovis. With its classy yet hip woodsy interior, the Kuppa story is as warming as its coffee.

Local Zack Follet played professional football with the Lions and then looked for something more fulfilling, After time serving in the Dominican Republic he returned inspired. “On my way home I was enjoying a coffee in the UK while reading the word” shared Zack. 

“The coffee was so good I did a double take and thought ‘this is really good!’ like a cup of joy” thus an idea was born.   Image

” I looked for a location in the community that would support me (Kuppa Joy)” Zack said. And in Old Town he found just that.

“This is a neighborhood place” where you can get a great cup of coffee or just kick-back for a chat maybe.

Zack and his staff enthusiastically help you choose what you did not know you wanted…and even share a wealth of coffee knowledge from tasting tips to creating their own brewing system.  Image

We’re looking forward to our tour experiencing the world in a cup on the next Nibbles & Bits adventure….Come along on the journey as we experience the sights, unique stories & tastes of Old Town, Saturday 12/15. Get your discount ticket at Brown Paper Tickets now, or meet us Saturday morning before 11am (Outside the Tarpey Visitor Center); $49per person.

What is ART? succinctly defines: art is the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

I prefer think of art as whatever makes me feel <insert your own emotion>.

When I saw this image my first impression was, oh, I love the color and texture!

It made me cheerful.

Then my mind went to work; ‘its just an old rusty pipe with color on it’. ‘No, its colorful art’ thus the war of mind over what is.

What is art to you?

Where does one find art?

I find art everyday; in the very ground I tread upon, the simplicity of a rusty pipe with some paint on it. Art is every where if we just care to look.

Michelangelo said it best “The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”

what will YOU discover?

Want to experience some cool art while we eat our way through a neighborhood? We even add some tasty treats at local eateries too…..Check out our web site and join us for a unique walking adventure on Saturday morning!

Yeee Haw!

There is a legend that says rodeo got its start when one ranch said they had a horse that couldn’t be rode, and another ranch said they had a cowboy that couldn’t be thrown.

The Clovis Rodeo story begins in 1914 as a community picnic called “Festival Day” sponsored by the Clovis Women’s Club then overseen by the local doctor’s wife Mrs. McMurtry and her friend, Bessie Merriman.

Later in 1935, the Clovis Rodeo Association was incorporated and the area of the old lumberyard, then being used as a golf course, was purchased adding bleachers and a corral. To this day the Clovis Rodeo is still held on the site, each year at the end of April.

In 1969, another festival called “Big Hat Days” was started as the opener for the rodeo season. During the 70s and 80s, these festivals started to become an excuse for heavy drinking and bar-room brawls and the city had to reign in the celebrations combining the Big Hat Days and the Rodeo. Proceeds from the Clovis Rodeo and related events benefit more than twenty-one local charities annually.

Rodeo is a unique part of American history and holds a rich place in our western heritage. For a dedicated group of volunteers preserving the cattle ranching history of the region, the spirit of rodeo and the Clovis Way of Life is why you can find them hard at work on many a day, night and weekend planning a great event. Next weekend is the big event… meanwhile we’ll step out and explore Old Town and its Western spirit Saturday morning, 4/21.

Discount tickets at Brown Paper Tickets; cash on on the day of tour, $49 per person. This week we meet at the Visitors Center (Tarpey Depot) and set off promptly at 10am.