Home » Coarsegold » History Mystery #92: The Case of Gabby’s Place
Image of the wooden sign that used to be in front of Gabby's Place.
Do you remember Gabby or Gabby's Place/Corner? Let us know if you do!

History Mystery #92: The Case of Gabby’s Place

Prepared by Dan Carrion, Historian, E. Clampus Vitas Grub Gulch 41-49 Chapter

Image of a small stone grotto at Gabby's Corner.

Do you or any of your friends know anything about this? Let us know if you do!

While driving on Highway 41 about three miles above Coarsegold Village, there is a curve in the highway with turnouts on either side of the road. On the north side of the road, there is a flat spot about a half-acre in size, nestled in front of a hill. In the middle of the flat spot, backed up against the hillside, is a small stone grotto. The grotto is the last remaining clue that there was once something special happening at this location.

That grotto was the water source for Gabby’s Place, a collection of old vehicles, antiques, historical artifacts used by local pioneers, and random items that were the treasures of a man named Gabby, who lived there off the grid for much of his life. Gabby’s Place was as colorful a character as the man was himself. He was loved by everyone who knew him, and he waved at everyone who passed by his empire.

Gabby’s Place (or Gabby’s Corner depending on who you talk to) was well known to people who traveled Highway 41 from around 1946 up to the mid 70’s. As children, we waited anxiously to pass by, hoping to catch a glimpse of the heavily bearded man himself, working amongst his treasures. Sometimes we would see him walking downhill toward Coarsegold. Travelers would often stop at Gabby’s, and he would sometimes sell them some antique trinket that he had collected.

He was always ready to visit with people, take photographs, and answer questions. He also worked the 10 acres he owned there, and rumors persist that he had a small gold mine somewhere on the property. In 1967, Madera County sued him for operating an illegal junkyard, and forced him to clean it up. But it seems that not much really happened in that regard.

Image of the hillside leading up to Gabby's Corner. The brothers of E Clampus Vitus Grub Gulch 41-49 Chapter are considering putting a historical monument at Gabby’s Place. There is currently a small wood and stone monument, but it is starting to deteriorate. We want to install something larger and more permanent. But we need more information. We know his real name was Edward Bradburn. He was called “Gabby” because he resembled Gabby Hayes, the famous western actor. Gabby (Ed Bradburn) had also acted in vaudeville, silent films, and westerns. He had also been a major league baseball player, a mining engineer, and a horseman.

Gabby had a wife and family who lived in Fowler when they weren’t at Gabby’s Place. During the summer, his daughters sold snow cones to passing tourists heading to Yosemite. Living with gabby on the property were four trained hens, a dog, and a burro. But we don’t know much else. Did he have a job in the area, or did he just live off the land? He died in 1975 at the age of 85, and his family cleaned up the property, so there is little left to see. We would love to know more information, photographs, and some of the stories about this man. Any help in this regard would be appreciated.

Follow-up to History Mystery #91

The Raymond Museum was so happy to receive the Madera Mercury newspaper articles provided by Mr. Gary Gragnani!! The Oct. 1902 articles helped tell more of the story of the Raymond shooting and provided much interesting, detailed reading, proving once again how valuable our newspaper archives are for keeping history alive.

Researching the old local newspapers is often more entertaining and illuminating than anything on television. From Mr. Gragnani’s research we learned that several of our well-known citizens of Raymond were on the jury for this inquiry. W. Downey owned the Raymond General Store at the time and T.F. Potter was involved with the Raymond Hotel that President Roosevelt would visit the next year. Mr. Taylor was a local blacksmith, and Mr. A. H. Foster was a stagecoach driver, owned a local hotel, and also had the contract to build the Raymond jail.

The Daulton and Westfall families are well known in and around Raymond for ranching and mining and being involved in many local endeavors. We will have to continue our research as the articles end without a clear resolution of the soldier ever being prosecuted. The cavalry was in Raymond often on their way to patrol Yosemite and there are many more stories about their escapades in our area.

Thanks for all who read and participate in the History Mystery.

Lynn Northrop

One comment

  1. The following posts were made on the SNO Facebook:

    Top Fan
    Kip G Lambel
    Peter Lambel

    Ron Belcher
    Around 1960 we visited Gabby and placed an order for cobblestone to use on our patio at Bass Lake ! We came back in a few weeks to pick up our order with a pick up ! We paid Gabby for a nice load of stone that he mined somewhere on his property ! We came back a few more times to complete the patio ! Gabby lived in a small concrete and stone structure he built on the property ! The structure was only 4 feet tall but he said he was comfy !

    Pam Mussa
    Ron Belcher nice.

    Cara Leigh
    Dawny Reb Nelson Do I remember right you somehow talking about this?

    Cari Lewis Hager
    Wow how weird, I just heard about Gabby earlier today.

    Scott Runtzel
    Anyone know the physical address or APN for the site? I can do some research in public records that way. What was his actual name?

    Scott Runtzel
    Google Maps

    Maureen Anderson
    Thank you for this information. Way back in the 70’s we would drive up to Yosemite from Fresno and would see Gabby. I didn’t know anything about him, until my dad came out from NY to visit. The first place he wanted to go was to see Gabby’s place. He had watched an episode of “Believe It Or Not” that featured Gabby.

    Patrick Poplarchick
    Right in front of our old place serpa canyon

    Leonard A Brown
    my dad said Gabby lived in an empty lot near his house in Fresno after the war. had two burros, Wimpy and Dynamite that he sold rides to the kids on. also the trained chickens. seemed to think he was a merchant Marine but no proof.

    Karen Jackson
    Loved to sit and talk with him and fed the burros the chickens were so funny

    Blaine Neely
    He used to have a self-guided tour to the Rusty Springs in the 50s. You would walk back the trail a little ways and you would find a box filled with Rusty Springs

    Kelly Philp McClaran

    Blaine Bapa used to stop and talk to him when we were kids.

    Kelly Philp McClaran
    Blaine for some reason and I might be totally wrong I think he was born in grub gulch and was like the last person alive at that time but I’m not sure. I remember stories from Bapa about great grandma and him being born there.

    Dan Burnett
    My dad told me Gabby came into the restaurant my grandmother owned at the time(Holiday Village) sat down at a table and started working on his leg ,bit by a rattle snake. Was a different time up here then
    . I remember waving at him when we would drive by his old place near Coarsegold.

    Norman Card
    In the mid 60-s there was three road side fires close to Gabby . Gabby was afraid that someone was trying to burn him out. But the fire was caused by hot exhaust carbon. I recall a old bus parked there and assumed he was living in that. Gave him a ride into Oakhurst once don’t remember what we talked about seems he did most of the talking.

    John Kegg

    Dawny Reb Nelson
    Yes honored to say Gabby was my Grandpa
    The stories I got and memories are priceless

    Russ Marks
    We always knew it as Gabby’s corner, the best part of a trip down the hill was a wave from Gabby

    Kathi Kendall Howard
    Great history story.????

    Doreen Goshgarian
    As a kid, I used to watch for the man with all the junk on the side of the road when traveling on the 41.

    Porfirio Chavez
    Ariel Hernandez

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