A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
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by Jim Bulls


The last time we slid back in time it was to 1950 and I was pedaling around town on my J.C. Higgins ‘Hiawatha’ bike, checking out the auto dealerships around Reedley. Today we are going to slide back to 1958, while “cruizin” in my 1940 Ford Coupe.

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Rideabout Reedley: Then & Now

IN THE February 22 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andHometown History,
andJim Bulls
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by Jim Bulls


Flipping back to 1949–I just got a butch haircut at Vic’s Barbershop and as a budding “gear head” I hopped on my bike to check out the car dealers. I was hoping that they had done a sloppy job of covering the showroom windows with butcher paper, because I wanted to get a peek at the new cars for 1950.

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by Jim Bulls



The start of the 1920s finds Drake Manufacturing moving to their new location at East and South Avenues (now Dinuba Ave.). Having perfected the Jadson Motor Valve, Drake closed the garage and Buick agency to devote all their efforts toward the valve business. The Drake Family still finds time for racing and a new hobby: barnstorming. In fact, on the roof of the new building “Jadson Motor Valve Company” is painted for anyone passing or flying by to see. 1920 was bittersweet for the Drake Family however, as family patriarch John Alexander passes away.

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by Jim Bulls



America may have been a late comer to the industrial revolution, but the country had the advantage of possessing the raw materials needed to excel in manufacturing. The only thing imported was cheap labor. The industrialization of transportation began with the “horseless carriage.” These vehicles were propelled by three types power.

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by Jim Bulls



It’s a challenge not to be repetitious while writing for Kings River Life–in many of the stories I have written before, it is inevitable that Reedley’s history will come up. It is also astonishing to realize that the lifetime I have spent in Reedley spans over half of the City’s existence! That’s right, not just the centennial, not even the incorporation, but since the very inception of a town named Reedley (by one year) in 1888.

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by Jim Bulls



In the early 1900s, a great Pentecostal movement started in the Azuza Street Church in Los Angeles, and those called to God set forth on a mission of revivals throughout the United States.

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Crossing the Kings

IN THE December 8 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
andHometown History,
andJim Bulls
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by Jim Bulls



In 1850 California became the 31st state, and Reedley was in Mariposa County. Back then, if you wanted to cross the river, you either found a shallow place and “forded” across or found a ferry, paid the fee and crossed while staying nice and dry. At one time there were half a dozen ferry crossings over the Kings River, from the foothills to Tulare Lake. In just two years, the Reedley area was in Tulare County and could claim two operating ferries.

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Remembering Halloween In Reedley

IN THE October 20 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
andHometown History,
andJim Bulls
SECTIONS

by Jim Bulls



Ghouls, goblins and zombies too, witches and ghosts and maybe a hobo or two–groups of kids invade the streets searching for candy and all saying “treat of treat.” It must be October 31, all Hallow’s Eve in Reedley.

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by Jim Bulls



I can’t keep writing how great those Fiesta’s of a half century ago were when every year there are fewer around to remember them. Thinking of friends gone by, a conversation came to mind between myself and the late Dennis Olson about the pride we both had when we watched our Reedley High “Pirate” Band march down Colorado Boulevard during the Pasadena Rose Parade in 2000. So, I thought to myself, “Self, what a better tribute to the Fiesta than to drop by and see Mr. Burl Walter Jr. and chronicle the story that led him to Reedley.”

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Reedley Tastes Of The Town Past and Present

IN THE September 15 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
andFood,
andHometown History,
andJim Bulls
SECTIONS

by Jim Bulls



The Reedley Downtown Association’s gala event is fast approaching, touting fine cuisine from 30 food providers that call Reedley home. As the hysterical historian, I have been thinking back over my 65 years as a Reedleyite and of the 50-odd restaurants, cafes, diners, hotdog and frosty stands, drive-ins, bars and dives that came before.

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Reedley Watering Holes

IN THE August 4 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
andHometown History,
andJim Bulls
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by Jim Bulls



It was every boy’s dream to own a bike, expand your horizons of exploration or visit friends across town. The Cadillac of bicycles was the Schwinn Phantom with a springer front end. Mr. Parkinson was our Schwinn dealer in Reedley. His store was one of the last buildings on G Street with a board walk. It sat between Allied Equipment (the International Harvester dealer) and Enns’ Pontiac used car lot–almost directly across from Harmony Home.

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by Jim Bulls



What better way to celebrate the second anniversary of Kings River Life, than to celebrate the lives of those who lived along the Kings River. Some may be familiar and some you may not have heard of, but all of them were a part of the bountiful life along the Kings River.

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by Jim Bulls



Editor Lorie Ham says, “interview,” and my stomach ties up in knots, I grind together what few teeth I have left, and my usual gift of gab gets up and goes to be replaced by an unusual fit of shyness. Then she says “Ron Surabian,” and I say to myself, “Self, I can do this,” and I start downtown to visit the known haunts of the “Reedley Troubadour.”

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The Four Good Samaritans

IN THE October 29 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
and:Contributors,
andHometown History,
andJim Bulls
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by Jim Bulls




In 1953 my Dad was in the money and itching to buy a newer car, or at least one more suitable for a successful educator than the 1947 Plymouth he was currently driving. Buick was his make of choice, and one Saturday he drove around the block where Jackson’s Buick lot was at least three times. On the used car lot sat a gun metal grey Super Four-Door with a cream top. It was just two years old and it looked brand new.

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by Jim Bulls



I became a Reedleyite in 1947 and I was in for a culture shock the first time I went out in Aunt Geneva’s backyard to play with the neighborhood kids. The countries represented included Mexico, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Armenia, Lebanon, Japan, and Korea, to name a few! John Steinbeck introduced California to the new immigrants called “Okies” of which I was one, wearing high top shoes and overalls. But the games we played were all the same: kick the can, statue, or mother may I. My first friend was a Portuguese kid named Danny Enos, who lived down the street. We would usually meet at Ayubes Market for a coke or ice cream.

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Thoughts on the Reedley Fiesta

IN THE October 1 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
andCommunity,
andHometown History,
andJim Bulls
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by Jim Bulls



I would like to think that Art Tabler would have thrown Reedley’s first Fiesta in my honor since I moved to Reedley and he came up with the Fiesta idea the same year: 1947. He did feel our tight-knit little community had reason to celebrate, but because our diverse ethnic population had given their lives and support to protecting our country during World War II and local young men who had fought in Europe, North Africa, and Asia were just beginning to return home, also the local farmers who grew crops for the war effort had completed harvest – what better time for a community celebration?

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