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Image of an old sign in the woods.
Do you know anything about local chinchilla ranches or this old sign? Let us know!

History Mystery #97

History Mystery #97, Chinchilla Ranches and Mystery Signs in the Madera County Mountain Communities

Prepared by Andy Brooks, Raymond Museum volunteer

The Chinchilla ranch industry, though short lived by most history standards, had a favorable economic impact on the Madera County mountain area communities.

How many ranches were there?

What other businesses were created from the Chinchilla ranch industry?

Who were the principal ranchers?

What claim to fame was attached to the mountain communities as a result of the industry?

Where is the Chinchilla sign in the photograph located?

LAST MONTHS HISTORY MYSTERY: The Case of the Forgotten Fire Station

Prepared by Don Grove, North Fork History Group

Image of the North Fork Fire Station being moved by truck.

Fire Station on Truck

The firehouse for this History Mystery was known as the “Firehouse built in one day”. Vince Goodwin, Gene Ayers and George Putney spent days pre-cutting and stacking the lumber for the firehouse, so it was like a kit ready to use. George Putney also helped with the design. Mrs. Putney was a guest at the dedication. Date is unknown. It was built on the east side of Main Street. After 1959 it was moved across Main Street to the current location of the library. See photo.

Comments from the Facebook Page
Tina Williams – Interesting
Emily Kratzer – Can any members of the Lot family fill in info about the firehouse? I believe it morphed into the art studio.



One comment

  1. Thank You to the following people who made comments on the Facebook page:

    Karen Tex Morris
    It was located on Road 425B .

    Clay Bergman
    More than once i’ve seen a stray Chinchilla at our house ???? wondering about

    Margie Willis
    John said there was one on 425B, one on the Bisset road by Ahwahnee, and the Moonies had one along Willow creek off of Grey’s mountain road.

    Emily Kratzer
    My, you sparked memories with this! My dad and mom raised chinchillas in North Fork from 1964 to the mid-1970s. Find the Feb. 23, 1967 edition of the Sierra Star – it featured coverage of the second annual Chinchilla Show of Oakhurst. Cal Ragland’s column had some great info about the chinchilla industry, with names of early ranchers in the area. Debby Carter had a good item in her Remember When column of the Feb. 26, 2020, Sierra Star.

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