HISTORY Welcome To Our PARK
A Look At The Making Of The Kingsburg Historical Park
The Kingsburg Historical Society is an organization that operates the Kingsburg Historical Park and the Historic Kingsburg Jail.
1964 - 2000
March 16, 1964, the City of Kingsburg authorized the use of the city jail to store antiques as they are being collected in the hopes that in the future, Kingsburg will have a Museum to display them.
On March 4, 1967, the Chamber of Commerce sent the first letter to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company for permission to lease the unused portion of the Depot, as a Chamber Office also as a Museum.” (The lease was signed on October 28, 1969)
During 1968-69 the depot is being renovated to become a museum.
An interested group met for the purpose of organizing a Historical Society and elect temporary officers. Those elected were Ray Olson, President, Benton Bowen, Secretary, Board of Directors elected were, Carl Harkleroad, Roy Anderson, Jess Smith, Chester Nord, Vernan Kehn, James Johnson, Herbert King, Helge Lindholm, Graydon Croft, Joe Ball and Eric Jewell. Mr. James Quasnick of Fresno agreed to act as legal counsel for the organization. The By-Laws were drafted and presented by James Quasnick, Legal Counsel.” The By-Laws were signed by Ray Olson and Fran Marks. The official Society name is, “Kingsburg Historical Society a Non-profit Corporation.”
The Articles of Incorporation of the Kingsburg Historical Society were signed on January 29, 1970 by Jess Smith, James Johnson, Joe R. Ball, Helge Lindholm, Ray Olson, Leland Bergstrom and Roy C. Anderson. The Museum first opened in the Southern Pacific Depot on California Street, Kingsburg. This Depot Museum was in operation from 1970 – 1984; succeeded by the Clay School building which had arrived at the Historical Park in the summer of 1975 and ready for use in January of 1985.
The Historical Society bought 8.9 acres of land on Sierra St. from Fridolf Anderson at a purchase price of $28,000. The official name of the site at 2321 Sierra Street is Kingsburg Historical Park.
The Clay School Building and restrooms were purchased for $1.00. The building since construction in 1913 was located on the northwest corner of Saginaw and Smith Avenues in the Kingsburg High School District. The Clay building arrived at the Historical Park in the summer of 1975, being ready for use in 1985. The Depot Museum was in use through 1984.
The City of Kingsburg purchased 3.61 acres for a ponding basin from the Society in the amount of $20,500.00. The Historical Park size computes in size to 5.29 acres.
The Tank House was moved to the Historical Park from the Jack Tapp farm on the south side of Conejo Avenue just west of the Kingsburg Industrial Park.
The William Moore Barn had been located on the Moore farm on Road 40 south of Avenue 400; was dismantled and arrived at the Historical Park; its concrete floor had been poured on April 4, 1981.
The Peter Olson/Joe Ball House entered the Park in January of 1981; the house had “lived” on the southeast corner of Marion and Earl Streets in Kingsburg, it was donated to the Society by the by the Kingsburg Holy Family Catholic Church.
The chain link fence was installed in September to enclose the Historical Park.
The Olson Brothers Implements & Farm Machinery Display Building measuring 15’ X 100’ was built under the direction of brothers Ray and Archie Olson.
The Combined Grain Harvester arrived at the Historical Park in December of 1983 having been donated by Donald Jackson. The harvester had seen many years of service in the Tulare Lake bottom, notably with the South Lake Farms.
On July 26th a concrete curb was poured to form the outer edges of the forty (40) foot wide circular driveway in front of the Clay School Building.
The yard Sprinkler System was installed and formal landscaping of the property began.
Rieffel’s Grocery Store with artifacts coming from Kenny and Evalena (Wiese) Rieffel longtime grocery merchants in Kingsburg.
The Hall of Fame was built with a gift from Harry Aslan a longtime grower, packer and shipper of agriculture products.
Mrs. Al Marshall donated the Covered Wagons that had been put together by her husband Alfred. The wagons were attractions for visitors to the Al Marshall Dairy on Avenue 384 south of Kingsburg. The Marshall’s daughter, Maxine (Marshall) Olson made financial contributions over the years to the refurbishing of her parents gift to the Historical Society. Two (2) windmills also came with the wagons donation.
The Medical Building built with a gift from Carolyn (Larson) Moen. Dr. Gillespie, Dr. Ewald Larson, Dr. Stucky & Dr. Flora Smith share a medical office. Dr. Conrad Kolander, DDS has an office. Also in this Medical Building is a Pharmacy. The Pharmacy is shared with Pharmacists David W. Ostrom, his sons Everett S. Ostrom and David G. Ostrom and Everett Ostrom’s son Robert Ostrom and David G. Ostrom’s son William “Bill” Ostrom. Also recognized in this Pharmacy are Gordon Satterberg and Donald Workman.
The Bottle & Antique Items Room located on the south end of the Olson Brothers building. Archie Olson was the “driver” for this building making the display cases, etc. Some of Ray Olson’s collectables are housed in this room.
A replica of an early day City of Kingsburg Firehall-hose Company No. 1 was built. Two (2) old fire engines and an old ambulance “live” in this building.
2001 - 2017
The Historical Society and the City of Kingsburg began working together to improve the park and make it more accessible. The City now owned and maintained the Historical Park and the buildings, paying any and all related costs. The Society now was responsible for the insides of the buildings and the artifacts and any related costs with the two items. A concrete floor for the Tractor Shed was installed.
The Historical Park & Exhibits Open to the public on July 1, 2004. Open for self-guided tours six (6) afternoons per week from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. being staffed with one (1) docent. The schedule was later changed to being open Friday’s from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and staffed with three (3) docents; special tours could be arranged by contacting the Tourism Director. The Heritage Building was constructed with a Larry Hillblom Foundation Grant.
Two (2) Fire Hydrants were installed in the Historical Park and Fire Suppression Sprinklers installed in the Olson/Ball House along with some refurbishing inside the house. This was done with a Larry Hillblom Foundation Grant. Structural Defects in the Clay School Building lead to a closing of the building to the public on March 5, 2008 and a complete renovation of the entire building was planned.
The Clay School Building Major Renovation began on April 18, 2009 and the building was opened to the public on April 24, 2010. This too was done with a Larry Hillblom Foundation Grant. The 1925 Kingsburg Jail was restored by the Kingsburg Historical Society. The jail is located in the downtown “Coffee Pot Park” behind the firehouse and is open daily for self-guided tours. This was completed with a Larry Hillblom Foundation Grant. Tractor Shed Siding was installed to enclose the shed and was painted.
A Historical Park Lighting Project. In May 2010 The Kingsburg Rotary Club gifted the park with an installation of seven (7) ornate street light poles spread throughout the park. The central part of the park is now lit up nightly.
The Park Meeting Hall - On January 14th the Pole Shed was dismantled and on January 19th Phase One (1) of the construction began. The overall dimensions of the building including the decking measure 54’ X 100.’ The Park Meeting Hall was made possible by a Larry Hillblom Foundation Grant. Phase Two (2) – the completion in May of 2013 of a “state-of-the-art” kitchen within the building was made possible by a generous gift from the Jack and LaVonne Martin Estate. The Bandstand/Gazebo was completed in the fall of 2012; the concrete “dance floor” was added in February 2014. Both were gifts from the Franklin and Elizabeth Nelson Estate. The Kingsburg Recorder Newspapers The publisher of The Kingsburg Recorder closed the Kingsburg Recorder Office. Recorder issues from November 30, 1904 (when the paper began publication) through the year of 2006 along with many supplies, equipment and photos were donated on September 24, 2012 to the Kingsburg Historical Society. The Society Archives now a good place to research Kingsburg history.
The Swedish Dala Horse and Flag Pole came from the former Kingsburg Welcome Center, the plaque recognizes longtime (18 years) Kingsburg Mayor, Gordon Satterberg.
The former shop and storage building became the “Del Monte Building” in which there are exhibits of pictures and other artifacts related to the Del Monte Cannery that ceased operation in 2012. The City of Kingsburg and the Historical Park became “Former Partners” The Historical Society’s Historical Park was now on its own having become a private park rather than a City Park.
Seven (7) Kiosks recognizing thirteen (13) Kingsburg related who have made special contributions felt in Kingsburg, America and around the world. The project artist was Maxine Olson. The project was funded with a Larry Hillblom Foundation Grant.
The Riverbend Church arrived (from 5681 Bangor Avenue, Kingsburg, CA) in the Historical Park on wheels on February 4, 2016. The building was donated to the Historical Society by the Riverbend Church Congregation. The project was financed by the Larry Hillblom Foundation and the Riverbend Church Congregation.
The Concrete Driveway was completed on March 6, 2017 featuring sixty-three (63) diagonal parking spaces. The project was made possible with a Larry Hillblom Foundation Financial Grant.