I have embarked on my newest project, writing a pictorial history of the town in which I taught, and now live. Since I don’t have many pictures, and none of historic Woodlake, I’ve spent a couple of days in the Annie Mitchell Room of the Tulare County Library in Visalia. The volunteers and staff there are so helpful. I thought this was interesting. The city jail arrived from Tulare in Woodlake on August 23, 1940. I’m pretty sure it’s closed now. At that time, some of the more mischievous town’s members planned a criminal act to test the new jail.
I heard that the theatre flooded, and kids swam in the basement. It’s gone now, too. Downtown buildings burned, got flooded, or demolished, and businesses changed hands – except Woodlake Hardware. Very little of Woodlake resembles the town it was 60 years ago.
Laura Spalding, a sweet woman in her 80s from a little community named Ivanhoe, shared an entire photo album of pictures she took in the 1940s. Dress codes were quite different then. I photoshopped this one slightly so as not to shock anyone. I’m not sure what the occasion was. I remember in the early 50s I played outside and swam in my only my underpants, but I was under five. :)
Laura informed me that in the 1940s they “wore their dresses short.” I could have sworn I saw her eyes twinkle a bit.