Nestled against the foothills of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains and flowing west to the quilt-patterned farmland, lies Porterville, a quaint community of over 60,000. The town is an enchanting, restful alternative to the hustle and bustle of big cities. Country charm mixed with a casual outdoor lifestyle makes Porterville an ideal place to visit.
The community’s inviting downtown area offers a number of attractions such as unique boutique-style retailers, antique stores, restaurants, a multi-cultural art center, murals and historic sites. Main Street is home to numerous special events such as Friday Night Music on Main Street, car shows, and annual parades. Many other events are offered throughout Porterville year-round, including a community-supported country fair and various occasions.
Porterville is the gateway into the Sequoia National Forest and the Sequoia National Monument with its magnificent giant sequoias, rivers, and lake. Nearby, visitors will enjoy a host of recreational activities at Lake Success; hiking, camping, and fishing in Sequoia National Forest and other areas; gaming at Eagle Mountain Casino; and, riding at the OHV park.
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park
In 1908, a group of African-Americans, led by Col. Allen Allensworth, founded a town that would combine pride of ownership, equality of opportunity and high ideals. Today, the California Department of Parks and Recreation is committed to the town’s renaissance as a living example of the American spirit. A modest but growing assemblage of restored and reconstructed buildings marks the location of the state park near Earlimart. A schoolhouse, Baptist church, businesses, homes, hotel, library and other structures symbolize one man’s dream of an independent, democratic town where African-Americans could live in control of their destinies. Special events include an annual rededication and Old Time Jubilee.
About 7 miles east of Visalia is a large valley oak tree that, according to legend, was used as shade for the first voters in Tulare County. The election was held on July 10, 1852, and, rather than meet in John Wood’s cabin, officials moved the polling place under this tree to escape the heat.
Kaweah Post Office
In 1910, a small post office was built in the Kaweah settlement near what is now Three Rivers. Only 10 feet by 12 feet in size, this rustic building is one of the smallest operating post offices in the United States. It continues to serve the community, and its beginnings can be traced to the colonists who lived in a utopian community nearby.
Two cemeteries and a monument are about all that remain of this old gold-mining camp just 10 miles east of Delano. Later renamed White River, Tailholt got its start around 1865. Two cemeteries were established so respect- able folk wouldn’t be buried alongside camp ruffians. Click here for information about this state historical landmark, visit.
A nostalgic glimpse into the past, the Zalud House, built in 1891, is one of the few houses of that era that has not been remodeled. From the time it was built in Porterville, only the Zalud family lived there, and it’s now one of the few museums in the nation furnished entirely with the owner’s possessions. Visitors can sign up for “paranormal” tours of the house, which is listed in the National Historical Registry of Old Houses and the National Register of Historic Places.
Visalia Walking Tour
Take the self-guided, 45-minute tour through old downtown Visalia for a history lesson and good exercise. Along the way, discover old churches, the little white schoolhouse, early hotels and Fort Visalia.
The White House is a 1912 family home (later used to house teachers after World War II and the Depot Museum) and the Southern Pacific Railroad office (built in 1888 when the railroad was extended from Fresno to Visalia, and used until 1978) are two of the Heritage Square structures in Dinuba, housing cultural and historic artifacts of the Alta District (northeast Tulare County). The Rutan Brothers Aviation Exhibit and the parade car used by Rose Ann Vuich, California’s first woman senator, are among the collections.
The native Yokuts living throughout Tulare County and the south Central Valley were skilled weavers.
Colonel Allen Allensworth
Kaweah Post Office
Fun Fact: In 1908, Colonel Allen Allensworth established the first town in California to be founded, financed and governed by African-Americans.