Clovis-Big Dry Creek
Historical Society Officers and Board
elected for the 2015 year:
Officers and Board of Directors, voting members:
President: Peg Bos
Vice President: Paul Spraetz
Recording Sec: David Law
Corr. Sec: Frank DeLuca
Treasurer: Judith Preuss
Board of Directors Members:
Below: Our Society President and Museum Curator, Peg Bos, with the Clovis High School Varsity Football team, year 2009.
Our Curator and/or docents are available for historical presentations at schools and organizations, by appointment. Give us a call.
Hours of Operation: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and by special appointment. Closed on most holidays.
The Clovis Museum is located in the historical 1912 First State Bank Building, 401 Pollasky, in Old Town Clovis.
The Historical Society recreates the infamous 1924 bank robbery by "The Lone Wolf" and "The Owl" on the last Saturday of February each year.
The Streets of Clovis & nearby areas
The Original boundries of Clovis included a one square mile of land, bounded by Sierra, to the north; Villa, to the west; Barstow, to the south; and Hughes, to the east. East to west streets were designated as 1st Street to 10th street, except that 6th street later was designated as Bullard, named for a well-known developer from Fresno.
Baron Street: Named for a member of the San Jouquin Valley Railroad Board of Directors; also see Pollasky, below.
Blackstone Ave: Named by useage, in honor of English jurist Sir William Blackstone. In 1888, attorney A. M. Drew and others had built homes along an unnamed county road in the Altamont Addition north of Divisadero Street that stretched northward. When time came to turn in a plat, a name for the road was needed, so A. M. Drew slapped the name Blackstone upon it and turned it in to the county for recording.
Bullard Avenue: Formerly 6th Street; it was a major route into Clovis and was renamed to honor a Fresno developer.
Clovis Avenue: Named after Clovis Cole, the "King of Wheat", who owned land from the Redbanks area West of the Sierra foothills all the way to Madera; the street is the main north to south street for the City of Clovis; it ran parallel to the San Joaquin Valley Railroad (SJVR) tracks (the tracks have now been removed and a walking/bicycle path put in its' place). Formerly Front Street, then Fulton Street. Clovis Cole sold one square mile of his property to Marcus Pollasky to establish the township of Clovis.
Cole Street: Named for the Clovis Cole family, the "King of Wheat" of the nation in the late 1800s and early 1900s, from which the city of Clovis and Clovis Avenue derived their names.
DeWitt Street: Named for a member of the San Jouquin Valley Railroad Board of Directors; also see Pollasky, below.
Front Street: Later renamed Fulton in honor of a San Jouquin Valley Railroad board member and major financier for the SJVR; later, renamed to Clovis Avenue.
Fulton Street: Originally called Front Street, then renamed Fulton, until, finally, Clovis Avenue.
Gibson Street: Lewis Wells Gibson was the first President of the Board of Directors for the newly incorporated city of Clovis in 1912.
Hedges Avenue: Named for H. P. Hedges, whose daughter, Threna Hedges, was married to William T. Shaw (see below). H. P. was a member of the Fresno Fire Commission
Herndon Avenue: Named for the rural railroad station just south of the San Joaquin River, which took its name from an obscure railway employee. The "town" of Herndon also shares the name.
Hoblett: Named for the Hoblett family or the famed early day Hoblett Hotel.
Hughes Street: Named after Thomas E. Hughes, a well known developer in Fresno. Also, see Veterans Parkway.
Liberty Park: A small Sycamore Tree studded park located on the South-West corner of Clovis Avenue and Sierra Avenue.
Midway: Now Sunnyside Avenue.
Owens Mountain Parkway: East of Clovis, is named for pioneer ranchers Charles and Carrie Cole Owen, according to late historian and auther Catherine M. Rehart. It was named by the Clovis City Council on June 4, 2012, and runs parallel to Highway 168 between Temperance and DeWolf Avenues.
Pollasky Avenue: Named for Marcus Pollasky, an entrepreneur from Michigan who responded to a call from Thomas E. Hughes (considered as the Father of Fresno)(see Hughes St.). Hughes' purpose was to create a Trans-Sierra Railroad to transport goods between the San Jouquin Valley and the east coast. Pollasky, representing capital from New York & Chicago, was elected President of the San Jouquin Valley Railroad, and was instrumental in building a 27 mile railroad between Fresno and Hamptonville (now Friant, CA). This railroad (later bought and operated by the Southern Pacific) helped in the further development of Clovis by offering a cheap, economical way for local wineries, lumbermen, farmers, and packing houses to ship their products.
Shaw Avenue: Now called "The Avenue" by Clovis-ites. Named for a Fresno Pioneer, William T. Shaw, who came here in 1878 with his cousin, M. R. Madary. Madary was a developer, constructing buildings and operating a lumber mill; Shaw was also a building contractor; he married Threna Hedges, whose father, H. P. Hedges, was on the fire commission (see Hedges, above). Shaw was later elected constable of Fresno in 1892 and 1894, and then in 1906 he was the Fresno Police Chief, serving untill 1911. He also served on the Fresno police and fire commissions.
Veterans Parkway: Also, see Hughes Avenue. By City Council proclamation on June 1, 2015, street name Hughes Avenue, between 3rd Street and 5th Street, will be revised on all affected maps to read "Veterans Parkway". The name change came about after 10 years of off-and-on deliberation to honor its position adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Building. While not truly a "parkway" (it only has two lanes), the street derives its name from Veterans Park, which is located on the east side of the Memorial Building.
Veterans Park: A small park between the Veterans Memorial Building and the Clovis School of Law (formerly the Clovis High School campus). It is the location of the Clovis High School Alumni Stones, which are imbedded into the sidewalks and a small plaza. Each stone is etched with the names of every Clovis High School graduating student since 1920, when the school was built, until the school relocated to Fowler and Barstow Avenue. The appeal for the name change was made to the City Council by Tom Wright on behalf of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
We display and maintain pictures and artifacts of Clovis M. Cole, the Wheat King of the United States during the 1880-1890's; photos and articles of Marcus Pollasky, a key developer of the Clovis Township; original portion of the 1893 Fresno Flume and Irrigation, which brought lumber and water from Shaver Lake; Indian artifacts; early day pictures and information of over 300 Clovis area families; 1903-1965 graduation pictures of Clovis High School students and school annuals for those years; history of the 1912 First State Bank and their 1924 bank robbery; Clovis Veterans display of WW I, WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, and the Desert Wars; memorabilia of Ken "Festus" Curtis of "Gunsmoke", and much, much, more.
Public service information is provided free to the community through our "Let's Talk Clovis" and "Clovis Living Legend" programs (see the Home Page for listing and schedules) at the Clovis District Memorial Building, 453 Hughes, on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM. The series are filmed and made available to the public for review.
Admission to the museum is free; donations are accepted.
Annual memberships to the Historical Society are: $20 for families; $15 for adult individuals ($10 Senior). For Patrons: $250 or more; Businesses: $100; Sponsors: $80; Sustaining: $40.
Just submit your name, address, e-mail address (if any), and check via mail, or, in person at the Clovis Museum, at the address noted in the banner at the bottom of this page.
Members receive a monthly newsletter containing the scheduled lectures and other information relating to the museum.
To join, send your tax-deductible payment (check preferred) to Clovis-Big Dry Creek Historical Society at the address noted below, with your names(s), mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address, as applicable.
Below: Harold Brandon, Peg Bos, & Norma Meek at the front door of the Clovis Museum
The Owen Family
Pioneer ranchers Charles and Carrie Cole Owen: Charles Owen's father George W. Owen was born in Cincinnati in the first half of the 1800s and farmed in Ohio, Illinios and Nebraska before coming to California with his wife, Eleanor, and their seven children, in 1862. He farmed Northern California until 1876, when he bought land near the Fresno County foothills and raised cattle. He died in 1880. Charles Owen married Carrie Cole, sister of Clovis Cole, for whom the city of Clovis is named. The couple grew wheat and raised racehorses. Brother Richard Owen was an expert in racehorses and the two became partners, raising livestock and thoroughbreds. Charles Owen's ranch at Minnewawa and Nees Avenues included a racetrack. According to historian Catherine M. Rehart, one of Owen's racehorses, Flush of Gold set the wold's record in the mile two years in a row.
Charles and Carrie Owen retired in 1902 and bought an ornate Queen-Anne-style house at 2631 E. Washington Ave in Fresno. he ws killed in a train crash on Dec. 20, 1902, less thana year after they moved in. "Tragically, he was returning from a business trip to San Francisco to attend the Christmas wedding of his daughter," Rehart wrote. Owen Mountain, east of Clovis is named for this family. -From an article by Paula Lloyd, in The Fresno Bee, March 08, 2015.
Elvey Perkins, 36 Years of City Service
Elvey Perkins reired after 36 years of service to the City of CLovis on October 29, 1993. The city recognized his leadership and declared Elvey Perkins week in 1977 and 1987. He was inducted into the Clovis Hall of Fame in 1993. On May 28, 1957, he was the first African-American to be hired by Clovis. He was trained for 2 weeks by Louis Milanesi, the supervisor of the sewage treatment plant south of the Fresno Air Terminal (FAT), now the Yosemite Air Terminal (YAT). Louis shared vital information with Elvey, who is now one of the most informed historians of Clovis. Louis Milanesi retired in 1967 and Elvey was appointed Field Services Superintendent.
Elvey was born an only child of Elvey Sr. and Lonnie Perkins in Trinity, TX. His father worked in a saw mill making 11 cents per hour prior to joining the U.S. Army during WWII. His parents divorced when Elvey was 4 years old and he was raised by his paternal grandmother. Elvey arrived in Clovis in 1947 after his mother married Jack Eaton (the couple came to Clovis in 1945). The couple leased an auto repair shop at 5th & Tollhouse from Augie Roberts and started Jack's Garage; they were the first African-Americans to own and operate a commercial business in Clovis. Soon after, the couple built a home at 1655 4th St.
Elvey graduated from Clovis High School in 1950. Elvey attended Reedley College as a music major, and lettered in football. Shortly thereafter he was drafted into the U.S. Army for service in the Korean War. Elvey married Geraldine (Gerrie) Bryant in 1951 and had sons Lonnell, Kim, and Andre; all excelling in in sports and their chosen professions. Lonnell and Andre remain in the Clovis area.
Gerrie and Elvie were tireless, talented civic and church leaders at Mt.Moriah Baptist Church. Elvey remembers when Gerrie volunteered their garage for Salvation Army storage space; he stated: "it didn't matter that I had to park my car outside. Nobody was stealing at that time anyway. The door to our house was never locked, even when we were out of town."
Gerrie passed away in 1982, at age 48. The Clovis Police Dept, in full dress uniforms and vehicles, escorted her funeral procession.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Elvey as Public Works Ambassador to Vietnam to facilitate improvement of their infrastructure. Elvey also received a commendation from the Calif. State Dept. of Water Resources for supervising one of the most effective wast water treatment plants in the state.
Elvey remains a loyal and active leader in Clovis. He is a board member of the Clovis Museum. He and his family continue to enrich our heritage.
From a "Let's Talk Clovis" article by Peg Bos that appeared in a Clovis Roundup article July 03,2014
Clovis-Big Dry Creek Historical Society and The Clovis Museum, located in Clovis, CA. All rights reserved.
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