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The History Mystery #29

Submitted by Roger Mitchell

China Wells & Burford?

What are the sites “China Wells” and “Burford”? Why are they significant to the community? While browsing through some topographic maps of the Oakhurst area, I noticed two “sites” which I had never heard about previously.

China Wells is shown on the map about 0.6 miles west of the intersection of State Route 41 and Road 632 (Sky Ranch Road). This site was marked “China Wells’ as you can see on the topo map. Such markings usually denote a place of historical relevance.

“Burford” is shown on the same map. It is situated a little more than a mile southwest of China Wells, We at the Fresno Flats Research library have been out looking for both sites, but they appear to be on private property, because locked gates block access via the dirt roads into this area.

If anyone has any information about either site or how to contact the owners of these properties, please call me at (559) 676-5228 or make comments at the bottom of this page.

Submitted by: Roger Mitchell, Historian, Fresno Flats Historical Park, Museum, & Research Library.

Follow up on History Mystery #28

We thank the two people who contributed answers to last month’s History Mystery about the Lisenby CCC camp. The two web links have given us new information about the camp that we will keep in our archives. But we are still looking for the exact location and the origin of the camp’s name. If anyone has that information, please contact us at NorthForkHistoryGroup@gmail.com

History Mystery 28 - Lisenby CCC Camp 630x300


  1. China Wells is not on private land, but is located on the Sierra National Forest. Forest records indicate that this location was used by Chinese workers from the Madera Sugar Pine railroad, although there is some doubt to this story. It may have been a watering stop on the early Fresno Flats to Yosemite Road. Little remains of the well structure.

    The Burford site is on private land, and was the homestead of an early Forest Service ranger, William Burford. The Burford Ranger Station operated out of this location, and probably served as both a residence as well as a Ranger Station as was often the case in the early 1900s. There are two photos of the Burford Ranger Station in the Sierra National Forest Historic Photograph Collection.

  2. If interested in more information, I know the land owner of site where Burford Ranger Station was. The service road runs through the 150 acres that he owns. I’m not sure if access would be granted, but more than glad to inquire. Please email me at crackercu812@outlook.com and would be happy to contact.

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