YESTER YEARS A
S p e c i a l t h e
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 TURLOCKJOURNAL.COM
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C O N T E N T S Turlock Mayors through the years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Emanuel celebrates 100 years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Becoming a city . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
YEARS Publisher Editor Cover & Ad Design Writing & Photography
Turlock’s historian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Assyrian American Civic Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Hank Vander Veen Kristina Hacker Harold L. George, Sharon Hoffman Angelina Martin Candy Padilla Beth Flanagan, Evelyn Hernandez, Tara Levy, Taylor Phillips
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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2017
A look at Turlock's leaders through the years STAFF REPORTS Turlock Journal
Walt Whitman once said that, "A great city is that which has the greatest men and women." Fortunately, Turlock has had the support of great men, women and most importantly leaders that have guided and shaped the city from a railroad stop into a great city of almost 70,000 citizens. In order for this city to grow into what it has become, it took 69 residents of what we now call Turlock who were fed up with a lack of water, sewage systems or electricity. A petition was filed, and with a vote of 61 to 43, Turlock was incorporated as a city. Hannibal C. Blewitt was elected as the first mayor of Turlock on March 17, 1908 in a simple meeting in the office of the Turlock Land Company. The newly formed council took action immediately under Blewitt's leadership. Initiatives were quickly passed dealing with issues such as sanitation and fire control. Saloons were regulated, and the first tax was established on the residents, a mere .75 percent property tax. By the next year, Turlock had outlawed slot machines and passed a bond measure for the construction of a water and sewer system. The council had outgrown its residence at the Turlock Land Company, and moved to 105 East Main Street, at a cost of $18 per month. In 1910 Blewitt stepped down, and H. S. Crane became Mayor of Turlock. His four-year reign saw the adoption of a volunteer fire department, a new
street sweeper and the authorization of local druggists Keller & Bennett to sell intoxicating liquors. A string of mayors such as J. R. Quigley, E. B. Osborn, and C. C. Carlson saw two-year terms and countless struggles with the rise of irrigation, melon farming and economic prosperity, all while America's sons — Turlockers among them — were fighting World War I abroad. When R. C. Geckler and W. E. Bridegroom presided over the booming postwar period agricultural revenues were high and life seemed good. All until Black Tuesday, the day the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began, leaving a mess of things for F. A. Pierson and J. W. Guy to attempt to address. Mayor R. M. Day had the third longest tenure in office of any of Turlock's leaders, serving from 1935 to 1946. While in office, Mayor Day saw the end of the Great Depression and the entirety of World War II as young men going off to war again emaciated Turlock. The baby boom and pushes for education marked the terms of Harold Markley, R. L. Jackson, and Marvin Critser. Turlock struggled to keep up with the rapid growth of population and the financial issues surrounding it. Enoch Christoffersen served the first of his two terms from 1952-1958, during which the War Memorial Auditorium was constructed. A two-year term from R.M. Carter closed out the '50s and saw the construction of the Turlock Irrigation District offices. By 1960, when Quaile Norton was elected mayor, Turlock had over 9,000 residents. To better govern the rapidly growing number of citizens, Norton oversaw the construction of a new City Hall at 900 North Palm Avenue in 1961. Christoffersen became the only mayor to serve two separate terms, when he was re-elected in 1962, a seat he would hold through
1978. In total, Mayor Christoffersen served Turlock for 20 years, a time during which Turlock grew by leaps and bounds. D. Dale Pinkney had the challenging task of following Christoffersen and led for just a single term before Brad Bates took the helm. Bates and his daughter, Augusta, played a founding role in the children's play park at Donnelly Park. Together they promoted and raised funds for the construction of the play area. In 1990 Turlock's second-most prolific mayor, Curt Andre, was elected. Andre was mayor for 16 years, tying the length of Christoffersen's second stint in office. The Andre councils are perhaps most responsible for the Turlock that we see today. It was during his tenure that Turlock made efforts to revitalize the downtown and fought against a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Countryside Drive. John Lazar served on the City Council for 22 years before being elected as Mayor in 2006 and heading the council for eight years. While Lazar had the unenviable task of leading the City during the recession — and the many drastic financial decisions the Council had to make to keep Turlock viable — there were also a number of memorable improvements made during his tenure that will benefit Turlockers for years to come. Under Lazar's leadership the City saw the reopening of the Carnegie Arts Center, the landing of the Blue Diamond Facility in the Turlock Regional Industrial Park and the opening of the state-of-the-art Public Safety Center in Downtown Turlock. Gary Soiseth succeeded Lazar in 2014, and didn't waste any time getting to work. Turlock's youngest Mayor — he was 30 when elected — spent his first 100 days in office
John Lazar doing a public line-by-line audit of the City's budget. Soiseth has spent his first two years in office focusing on improving Turlock's infrastructure, securing sustainable water sources and economic development. He also focused on the community climate, initiating a city-wide goal
for every citizen to reach a "million acts of kindness." In the decades to come, many more great men and women will rise to the occasion and do as these men have done in the past. They will lead the city forward, onward and upward.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2017
Emanuel: 100 years of caring patient was admitted about three hours after the doors were opened Emanuel Hospital opened its doors and the case load was seven after to the public on June 10, 1917, and four days. The nursing staff soon 100 years later Emanuel Medical grew from two to four, and in 1918 Center is still providing the best care Emanuel Hospital established their possible to the residents of Turlock first school of nursing. and surrounding communities. Thorsen Clark said the nurses all The hospital has changed a lot of lived in a cottage on the street in the years, in location, staffing and back of the hospital. services offered, but the dedication "As I recall," she said in the newsto caring has remained the same. letter, "there were six or eight (nursThe hospital was first established es) and such loyal women. Our first by the California Conference of student died during the flu epidemic Evangelical Covenant Church of which swept over the community America. When it opened on Canal like a wild fire and caused many Street in 1917, the hospital had 34 complications which called upon beds, three doctors on staff â€” AlEmanuel for double duty." bert Julien, Eric Julien and James Thorsen Clark also said that she had Collins, Sr. (with a physician from never "seen a more devoted group Atwater available to administer anesthesia when needed) â€” and two than the Julien doctors. Patients always came first. Beautiful! Rememnurses, Justina Johnson and Sigrid ber, friends, this was before the days Thorsen Clark. of antibiotics and other new aids." Thorsen Clark recalled her memoThe original hospital closed in 1966, ries of Emanuel's opening for an EMC Heartbeat newsletter in 1982. with 57 beds, and reopened the She said that the hospital's first same year on Delbon Avenue BY KRISTINA HACKER Turlock Journal
One Community. One Mission. One Hundred Years.
Emanuel Hospital student nurses and their instructors pose for a picture circa 1925.
Photo courtesy of California State University, Stanislaus
with 78 beds. Today, Emanuel Medical Center has 209 beds and offers 24-hour, Level IV emergency and trauma care, along with an advanced center for mothers and newborns, rehabilitation and therapy and is the only
heart attack receiving center between Modesto and Fresno. To learn more about Emanuel's past and future, check out the hospital's special 100th anniversary section, which will be inserted in the June 14 issue of the Turlock Journal.
The biggest day in the history of Turlock Vote for incorporation: 61 for, 48 against TURLOCK JOURNAL Jan. 24, 1908
Third rate cities like San Francisco will now please take off their hats to the City of Turlock. No longer will these little towns take a shy at us and our dignity, for we have passed the state of the country hamlet, where the corner grocery used to be, and the inhabitants ate cheese and crackers out of the grocery man’s store of these old standbys. No sir! We are IT. If you don’t believe it just tell any resident of Turlock (whether he voted for incorporation or not). Results are assured, and the man who makes the remark had better hit the high places for the coun-
try, where the coyote holds his way unskeered and unafraid. The voters did themselves proud. They realized what it meant for them and they worked. The Journal will say that those who were opposed to incorporation have a few bouquets coming to them for the way they got in and hustled. It was the belief of these gentle¬men that incorporation would not be a good thing. We give them credit and believe they did what they thought was right. We believe they were wrong in the matter, but when it was all over and incorporation was assured they were game losers. Not an unpleasant word was spoken, and
there were various smiles on tap. Bets were paid and Wednesday everybody had settled down with the genuine Turlock spirit to make this a better city than ever. It was as a town. The entire ticket is a credit to the voters of Turlock. It was the intention to nominate good men, those citizens who have the best interest of the city at heart, and who will show no favors to any one portion of this place. Men were elected to the various offices who will be fair, conservative, and keep the pub-lic expenditures within reason¬able limits. It is our firm belief that they will do this. It is up to every resident
to give these officers their support in every way, and this will be done. Other towns ask: “What is the reason for Turlock’s unexam¬pled growth?” The answer is: “It is the Turlock spirit.” If this is it, so mote it be. This has been a progressive town. It will be fully as pro¬gressive as a city, and the go-ahead spirit that has put the town on the map will make of it a splendid city, with wealth and unlimited resources at our beck and call. With the best section of country in back of it, with the water system unexcelled and a beneficent climate and a kindly sun to assist in produc¬ing boundless crops. Turlock will be one of the best inland cities in California. Hats off to the City of Turlock.
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Scott Atherton: Turlock’s own historian BY ANGELINA MARTIN Turlock Journal
For nearly two decades, community members have been able to learn about Turlock’s past through the Journal’s history page, which features newspaper articles from past decades. The blast from the past gives readers a chance to see what life in Turlock was like back in the day, and it’s put together by the one-man team of Scott Atherton. Atherton, general manager of Turlock Memorial Park and Funeral Home, took over the history page in 1999 in hopes to receive access to microfilms of early Journal articles. Since he began, Atherton has covered almost 100 years of Turlock’s history. “It always seems like when I’m looking for something, something new is discovered,” said Atherton. “It’s kind of like learning a new word, and then all of a sudden you hear that word all the time.” To create the history page, Atherton goes through microfilms of past newspaper articles for the week he is working on. He tries to choose articles that readers will find interesting, he said, such as articles about specific locations or events around town that people can relate to. There are other criteria he looks for as well. “If they know names in the article, that’s what people find interesting,” said Atherton. “They can relate to it. It could be their parents or grandparents, or maybe they don’t even know them but they recognize the name.” From stories about the city’s parks to features on public figures in the community, Atherton is responsible for letting readers know what
happened during “this week in history.” He sifts through microfilms from each decade – a tedious process, but an important one, he said. “I do this on behalf of the historical society so that we’re preserving history, and then hopefully getting other people interested,” said Atherton. “The fun of doing the history page is the search, the hunt.” Through his work, Atherton is able to make known the challenges, accomplishments and controversies that the Turlock community dealt with at numerous points in its past. Although the decade of the articles may change, he has learned that the people do not. “We all have the same challenges and problems no matter what period of time you live in,” said Atherton. In addition to educating Turlock
on its past, Atherton said that it is always rewarding when community members thank him for finding a certain piece of information. He has also made discoveries through his research, sometimes finding photos with no description and tracking down their true origins through a bit of digging. “By going through the microfilm, sometimes that photo or the event it was from may have been in the Journal and you can match them up, so that’s always fun,” said Atherton. The history page has changed over time, evolving from just a couple of paragraphs in the paper to an entire section dedicated to the city’s olden days. As a part of that evolution, Atherton does not anticipate the
page’s growth to stop any time soon. He’s transformed the feature by including state and world events, as well as how certain times in the nation, like the Dustbowl era, affected different cultures locally. “We have come a long way as a society, and I also find that we are a product of the times we live in,” said Atherton. Atherton has seen first-hand through his research just how much the city has changed over the years. Though the population has grown, he said, the city still has a small town feel. He hopes to continue telling its story as the years go on. “Whenever you go drive out of town people, will comment good things about Turlock. I think we need to work on preserving that.”
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Assyrian American Civic Club celebrates 70 years of serving community
building located at 2618 N. Golden State Blvd. in 1979 and moved into The Assyrian American Civic Club the building in 1980, and members of Turlock was founded in 1947 have called the location home ever as a way to preserve the Assyrian since. From ceremonial events like heritage within Turlock society. In the recent swearing-in ceremony the 70 years since its establishment, for Turlock’s new Chief of Police the club has served as an integral Nino Amirfar to charitable causes part of the Turlock community such as the Salvation Army’s Kettle through educational, cultural and Kickoff Luncheon and the Festival charitable means. of Trees, the club has provided a “Initially, it was just a place for gathering spot for the community’s the Assyrian community to have most important occasions. social gatherings, but now we’ve Amirfar, Turlock’s first Assyrianbecome part of the community and American Chief of Police, remiit’s more of a community center nisced on the club’s earlier days than it was in the past,” said AACwhen it was located on 20th CentuCOT President Sam David. “We’re ry Boulevard from 1944 until 1980. just happy and proud that we share “It was Paul’s Motel and you had to this facility with the whole comdrive down a dirt road,” said Amirfar. “Coming to all of the parties munity.” was just awesome.” The Civic Club purchased the BY ANGELINA MARTIN Turlock Journal
The Civic Club celebrated its 70th anniversary on Jan. 28 with a gala that celebrated the rich Assyrian culture in Turlock. The AACCOT youth group performed Assyrian dances for the crowd and Congressman Jeff Denham presented Assyrian-American trailblazer Paul Warda with a certificate of recognition. Warda was born in Chicago, Illinois, and moved to Ceres in 1945. Since arriving in the Central Valley, Warda has played a huge role in the development of the AACCOT. In addition to being a past president of the club, Warda also served on countless community committees, including the Stanislaus County
Farm Bureau, the Stanislaus County Fair Board of Directors and the Community Hospice Board of Directors. Warda also played a key role in the AACCOT’s purchase of its current Golden State Boulevard home. “Paul has been instrumental,” said David. “He’s such an ambitious and bright mind; we’re just very grateful to have him.” As David took in the club’s celebration of 70 years serving the Turlock community, he reflected on what’s to come. “It will be nice to see 100 years,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re all here celebrating that together.”
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Congressman Jeff Denham presents Paul Warda with a certificate of recognition for his contributions to the valley’s Assyrian-American population.
ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal
The Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock youth group performs an Assyrian dance at the clubâ€™s 70th anniversary celebration.
ANGELINA MARTIN /The Journal
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