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Seven Storefronts to See on Your Way to Sequoia National Park

Storefronts with Signs Abound

I travel a lot.

I photograph buildings all over the country, but so do you. You even live in some of the places I’ve traveled, and probably have much better pictures of the buildings than I have.

But I bet most of you do not photograph Woodlake, CA. Gotcha, didn’t I?

A Little History of Woodlake

Woodlake began in 1912 as a tourist town nestled away from the beaten path surrounded by the Sierra Nevada foothills. If you head east from Woodlake, you will reach Sequoia National Park. Going through Woodlake is one of the beautiful back ways to get there.

A few of the original 1900s buildings still stand downtown.

This year Woodlake celebrates 75 years of incorporation. Not many of the small towns in Tulare County are incorporated, so it’s a big deal for us. We are having a huge We-R-Woodlake celebration September 23-25th, so things R changin’ round-about Woodlake.

Main Street Woodlake

Woodlake has one north-south main street called Valencia Boulevard, named after a type of orange, which is one of Woodlake’s main crop. The east-west main street which intersects Valencia in the 2016 round-about, is named Naranjo Boulevard (pronounced na rawn’ ho). Some Woodlakers pronounce it (na raw’ no). Naranjos are a different species of oranges.

Three years ago I snapped these pictures before Woodlake underwent a major remodel. One day when the sky is not muddy I’ll go back and do a more thorough job of documenting our buildings and streets as they look now.

Woodlake Hardware Built in 1917 taken in 2013.

This new Woodlake Hardware building was built in 1917. This picture and the article about Morris Bennet, the 92-year-old owner, attracted Arcadia Publishing to me. A random article resulted in a book, Images of America: Woodlake. In this case, a picture was worth 18,000 words, and 210 more pictures.

In 2015 Morris and his children wanted to retire but hung in there until the building and business sold. Oral E. Micham, Inc. thrilled city and surrounding residents when he bought the business. Morris still comes to work. He started in 1940 the year he graduated from Woodlake High School. 🙂

No offence, Baldo. I just think it's funny to have a barbershop named Baldo's.

No offense, Baldo. I think it’s funny to have a barbershop named Baldo’s. Even baldos need a hair cut from time to time. 🙂

This is one of the older buildings in Woodlake. Most of the buildings were brick because of fire danger.

This is one of the older buildings in Woodlake. Most of the buildings built in the early 1900s  were constructed of brick because of fire danger.

Bank of America built a new building when the "brick block" on the corner was torn down in 1961. Newer buildings are stucco.

Bank of America had to move when the  1912 “brick block” on the corner was torn down in 1961. Some of the newer buildings are at least covered in stucco. Bank of America closed in 1985 and Valley Business Bank took over the banking needs in Woodlake some time later.

Notice the original brick. I think they did a creative job of including the past when they update it.

Notice the original brick. I think they did a creative job of including the past when they updated it.

Cinderblock buildings do not burn easily. Dick Edmiston erected this government building in the late 1960s.

Cinderblock buildings do not burn easily either. Dick Edmiston erected this government building in the late 1960s.

The Gongs bought Haury's Market, the Liquor Store and the Theatre in the 1960s and created the General Food Store.

The Gongs bought Haury’s Market, the Liquor Store, and the Theatre in the 1960s and opened the General Food Store. The well-equipped fire station just down the road protects the wood structure. General Food reflects the western motif of the town.

Those are not all the buildings along our main street, Valencia Boulevard, but they are the some of the bigger ones. Several new businesses have come to Woodlake since I took these pictures. Time changes even the small sleepy town of Woodlake, the Western Mayberry.

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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