Dates Back

Earlier this month, Visalia Community Bank released the 2013 version of its eagerly anticipated historic calendar.

“Visalia Community Bank is honored to present the 2013 edition of the calendar,” said VCB President and CEO Tom Beene. “This collectable item is just one of the ways that VCB honors and supports community. We support our local schools at all levels, several non-profit organizations and much more. And, with this calendar, we celebrate our area’s colorful history.”

Among the 12 selected for the calendar, photos for April and May are of special significance to residents in the foothill area. The month of May features the Lincoln Grammar School in Exeter in 1910.

By 1896 more than 92 children attended Exeter Schools, a far cry from the thousands that attend today. Students living on the east side of town attended Rocky Point School. Those on the west side attended class at the Good Templars Hall until it burned down in 1895. A feud began and would continue for years after about where to build the next school. The old Rocky Point (View) School, built in the early 1880s, was moved to the new property (present site of Lincoln School) in 1896 and placed on a square donated by the Pacific Improvement Co. But the building proved to be too weak to stand up to the winds that blew across the local barren landscape. Residents decided it was time to pass a $5,000 bond to build a new grammar school in 1897. Construction on the school, known then as the Exeter Grammar School, was completed in 1897. The school was home to both elementary and upper grade levels.

By 1907 the school needed to expand and another bond totaling $12,000 was passed. The brick school house was extended and repairs were made.

In 1922, Lincoln school was 26 years old and needed to once again expand. Another bond was called. Only 10 dissenting votes compared to 218 were cast to pass the bond totaling $88,000. The bond was used to build the new school and make improvements to Wilson School. The old building was torn and replaced with modern school with nine rooms and a kindergarten department.

The current Lincoln School was built in 1970 after the old building was razed. It still maintains much of the brick laid charm of the schools of old. Generations have literally attended Lincoln School in Exeter in the same spot. The brick façade of today is reminiscent of the one that presided over the location more than 100 years ago. It’s a testament to Exeter’s dedication to education, preservation of the past and conservative view of growth.

The month of April features a photo of Lewis “Freeman” Walker, wearing his Army hat and sitting on a wagon being pulled by his work horses in 1923. Walker was a World War I veteran who was born in Missouri and came to Tulare County as a young boy. After the war, his family settled in the Lemon Cove area where he worked a variety of jobs including running a stage to Mineral King and a general store and gas station near Lemon Cove.

“Thank you to all who found treasures in your family photos albums and generously shared them with us,” Beene said. “Special thanks, as always, to local historian Terry Ommen for donating his time and his expertise.”

Tulare County residents had until Thursday, Sept. 14, to submit entries in an attempt to be among the twelve featured in Visalia Community Bank’s 2013 Community Calendar.

VCB asked for photographs depicting Tulare County between 1850 and 1965, excluding family portraits. The owners of the winning photos will be recognized at the calendar’s unveiling party, and will be recognized in the calendar.

A limited number of calendars are available at Visalia Community Bank branches:

• Floral Branch: 120 N. Floral, Visalia

• Mission Oaks Plaza Branch – 5412 Avenida de los Robles, Visalia

• Caldwell Branch – 2245 W. Caldwell Ave., Visalia

• Ferguson Branch – 2136 N. Dinuba Blvd., Visalia

• Downtown Exeter – 300 E. Pine St., Exeter

For more information, call 625-8733.

“The historic calendar is one of the many special things Visalia Community Bank does to give back to the communities we serve,” noted Tom Beene, President and CEO. “It’s always a fun, but challenging, process to select just a dozen.”

Visalia Community Bank, member FDIC, is Visalia’s oldest community bank. For information, visit or call 625-8733.

-Mo Montgomery contributed to this article.

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