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