By Dan Carrion, E Clampus Vitus Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49
In the Spring of 2021, a car accident destroyed the E Clampus Vitus Chowchilla Railroads Monument built in 2003, which stood in front of the VFW Hall in Chowchilla. Our chapter rebuilt the monument this summer, and we will re-dedicate it on December 11th.
What we know about the railroad is that it was a captive operation of O.A. Robertson’s United States Farm Land Co. The railroad took supplies and materials to farms all the way out to Dairyland, and brought back farm products, cattle, and other agricultural goods to the Southern Pacific connection in Chowchilla. The railroad also brought school children into Chowchilla from the farms.
We have no photos of locomotives or any rolling stock, and there isn’t much in the way of documentation available. We know they had a Hall Scott combination baggage/coach car (called the Chowchilla Terrific by the school kids) which was used to haul passengers and light freight. The railroad was purchased by the Visalia Electric Railroad in 1924, and to SP 1936.
Who were the students who rode the Chowchilla Terrific? Did they ride it every day or only on special occasions? Does anyone have stories about the railroad or the people who rode it or worked on it? Does anyone have any photos of the locomotives, rolling stock, buildings, or the “Terrific” being used on the railroad?
E Clampus Vitus Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49 would love to present this new information and/or photos when we re-dedicate the monument.
Follow-up to History Mystery #103
Thank you to all who responded to our questions about this photograph as it is such fun to have thoughts and information from a variety backgrounds. Everyone agreed the one truck was from 1938 and the other vehicles were older, from the late 1920s. The woman on the porch is hard to distinguish and we had guesses from relatives but not conclusive. A few guesses did think it was perhaps Anita Fulmer, as she and her mother would have been around the phone company and old post office during this time period.
Sparkie Philp offered wonderful insight about working in that store and the past owners. The building has many memories and great historic value to Raymondites and is still a treasure to go into and think about all who came before. The pole was determined to probably be a lightning rod to protect all the phone circuits in the phone company building.
We are so lucky to have folks interested in Raymond’s history and we appreciate everyone who takes time to look at the History Mystery and ponder our past!!
Lynn Northrup, Raymond Museum