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Tulare History, California

Even though Tulare, CA is now a flourishing agricultural community, it definitely had its problems in the past.  Before the Southern Pacific Railroad passed through in 1872, the area that is now Tulare had nothing but a few pioneer homesteads.  After the railroad was built, though, the town sprang up very quickly.  This was because the railroad company chose the area to be the home of several railway repair facilities.  It was also decided at this time, that the town would be made the Tulare County seat. 

So, the town was planned by the railroad company and investors chipped in to build it up.  The many railroad yards and factories brought hundreds of employees who settled in.  There were some small disappointments along the way, but the biggest problems did not begin until July 1833. 

In this year, a fire destroyed about half of the business section of the town.  It was quickly rebuilt in better condition than when it began but three years and one month later the entire business section of town was completely destroyed by another fire.  The losses caused by the second fire nearly crushed the town financially. 

The town was again rebuilt and again it was built better than before.  It flourished for a time; but then, sixty years later, the railroad company abandoned the town and moved all of the railway shops and train yards to Bakersfield.  The employees followed the work and this left the merchants and other businessmen without customers and clientele.  This lack of business almost succeeded in turning Tulare into a ghost town. 

The town was almost empty when a loyal resident realized that Tulare could be rebuilt as a farming community.  Because farming had failed in the area in the past, an in-depth irrigation system costing $500,000 was built.  The town began to be settled, again, but was immediately faced with legal wars over water rights.  This led to there again being insufficient water for farming.  Default on the interest of the bonds as well as the financial depression of 1893 led to extremely hard times for Tulare residents. 

Luckily, a few Tulare residents, including Joe Goldman, were on their feet.  They worked out an emergency deal with the bondholders and accomplished some major financial maneuvering.  A celebration in honor of the saving of the town was held on October 17, 1903.  From that time forward, the town has grown and prospered. 

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