Banking on Tradition

Shortly after converting the Exeter branch from Visalia Community Bank to Central Valley Community Bank, Central Valley Community Bancorp announced it would continue VCB’s more than 10-year tradition of creating a calendar featuring historic photos of Tulare County.

Released last month, CVCB’s Tulare County Community Calendar featured 13 photos (12 months and the cover) portraying life in Tulare County between the years 1850 and 1955.

CVCB received more than 80 historical photographs from Tulare County community members for consideration in the 2014 Calendar. The photographs were voted on by Bank employees and the top 13 submissions were selected to make up the 2014 Tulare County Community Calendar.

The 2014 calendar includes two local images. For February, the bank chose the homestead of Exeter founder John Firebaugh circa 1890. After the Civil War, John F. Firebaugh came to California with the family, following an uncle, Andrew Firebaugh, who crossed the plains in 1849 and established the town of Firebaugh, Fresno County. The Firebaugh Ranch was located just north of downtown just off Old Post Office (now known as N. F Street as it turns into Filbert Street), according to the Official Historical Atlas Map of Tulare County. The barn to the left of the home in the mural burned down in 1929 during the infamous Filipino riot. Firebaugh owned a total of 460 acres in the Exeter area in 1868. The home was later relocated somewhere south of Exeter but eventually burned down.

For April, the bank chose the Lemon Cove Post Office – General Merchandise building circa 1909. The building was constructed by Tom and Earl Pogue on Main Street in 1898. The Pogue family founded the community of Lemon Cove when James W.C. Pogue settled the Tulare County in 1862. He is crediting with starting the citrus industry in the Exeter-Lemon Cove area. He also created the area’s first irrigation ditches with what is now known as the Foothill Ditch in 1875 and the Lemon Cove Ditch in 1885. His younger son Thomas A. “Tom” Pogue and grandson James W.C. Pogue II founded Rocky Hill Association packing house and citrus farms in 1916. Tom’s older brother, Earl, operated the general store until they sold it to W.H. Moffett and his wife Lydia. The building housed the Post Office until a new office was built next door in 1910. The store building burned down in 1952. The Pogue legacy lives on in the community as the former Pogue home is the home of the Lemon Cove Woman’s Club’s clubhouse and museum at the corner of Avenue 324 and Highway 198.

Each photograph was researched and captioned by renowned Tulare County historian Terry Ommen. For over two decades Terry Ommen has researched Tulare County history and has written about a broad range of local history subjects. He is a member of California Council for the Preservation of History (CCPH), Visalia Heritage, Wild West History Association (WWHA), Tulare County Historical Society (TCHS) and the Sequoia Genealogical Society.

The calendar also helped the bank raise toy donations as part of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation 2013 Toys for Tots Drive. Community members were encouraged to deliver a new unwrapped toy to one of the bank’s offices and receive a copy of the calendar in appreciation for the donation. All of the toys raised as part of the effort were distributing to students at Lincoln Elementary School on the last day of school before winter break, along with donations from Exeter Hobbies and EUHS FFA.

“Supporting the communities we serve is very important to our entire Central Valley Community Bank family. We are honored to participate in the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation 2013 Toys for Tots Drive and equally as proud to publish the 2014 Tulare County Community Calendar, a tradition begun over 10 years ago by Visalia Community Bank,” stated Daniel J. Doyle, Central Valley Community Bank president and CEO.

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