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The History Mystery #44

This sign was found in some brush in the 1960s by Malcom Fulmer while he was gathering cattle. It was in the area of the Philp family cattle permit off the dirt road running from Fish Camp to Mount Raymond.

HM #44 PhotoMalcom’s wife, Anita Fulmer donated it to the Raymond Museum and of course the mystery is, what does it say? The top is Mariposa Grove but the bottom part is our mystery.

And where could the sign have been posted 22 miles from where? We have been trying to look at old maps to see what lodges might have been near Wawona and the Mariposa Grove, but so far not a clear answer.

Lynn Northrop, Raymond Museum

What we learned about History Mystery #43 —

Photo of the Chapel at Stockton Field from the Stockton Field Aviation Museum courtesy of http://www.twinbeech.com/

Photo of the Chapel at Stockton Field from the Stockton Field Aviation Museum courtesy of http://www.twinbeech.com/

From a post on Facebook by Lemoore Rangel: “I would believe that the building came from what we know as the Stockton Airport. In about 1940 the Stockton airport was taken over by the military (Army as the primary) and used for flight training. At the time it was considered a major military installation. I do not believe that Lodi was used by the Amry during that time period. This link provides some information about California’s military installations during that time frame and may be a good starting point for some research.


Thank you, Lemoore Rangel, for this information. Further research by the North Fork History Group determined that the name of the Army Air Corp Base was “Stockton Field” and there was an auxiliary Army base in Lodi called Kinsbury Auxiliary Base #1 in Lodi.

Stockton Field (California) was a World War II Army Air Forces training base. It was located on the site of the current Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK) in central California. It is currently home to the Stockton Field Aviation Museum and the Stockton World War II Warbirds historical group.

There are several discrepancies between this photo and the Church building. The most glaring difference is the four large windows on the side of the church compared with five on the Army Chapel photo. We held a discussion about these things with long time members of the church. Some possible explanations were given for the discrepancies, but they didn’t satisfy our curiosity.

Our research led us to James Davis, a member of the Bethany Presbyterian Church in Sacramento. They have a plaque inside their church stating it was formerly the Chapel at Stockton Field. OOPS that building can’t be in two different places. We went back to the church documents and found a second mention of the Chapel originating from Lodi. This seemed to make sense. The Chapel from Stockton was longer than our church and the chapel from the auxiliary base in Lodi could be a shorter version of a standard Army chapel. Taigh Ramey, the president of the Stockton Field Aviation Museum shot us down. He believes the auxiliary bases were too small to have a chapel, they were used only for the students to practice landings and take offs.

We are still of the opinion that Grace Community Church originated as an Army chapel, and that it was located in Lodi as this base is also listed as a portion of Sharpe Army Depot. We are continuing our research to see if we can find conclusive evidence.

Don Grove

One comment

  1. I did a little research and think I have partially solved History Mystery #44. I believe the bottom of the sign says “BIG TREES LODGE”. Apparently there was a lodge in the Mariposa Grove many years ago. Interestingly, the Wawona Hotel is now called the Big Trees Lodge (until the trademark fiasco is worked out). However, I have no idea where the BIG TREES LODGE is 22 miles from!

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