“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Selma in Fresno County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings

Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson
1. Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings Marker
The Front of the Granite marker commemorating the first Deep Well drilled in California
[Marker Front:]
Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings
The San Joaquin Valley's groundwater reservoir was first tapped with a practical pumping plant 4 miles northeast of here on Dec. 12, 1894. William De La Grange of Selma, tired of upstream irrigationists draining Kings River water from the canal he used, drilled a pioneering open bottom well. Using steam power, he pumped 350 gallons of water per minute onto his ranch at the southeast corner of Manning and Bethel Ave's. The plant attracted great attention. Within several years, groundwater irrigation was common and pumps were being powered by electricity. De La Grange, by 1900, opened Selma's first well drilling business.

[Marker Rear:]
Centennial Village
Symbol of Progress
Fleeting and paltry is the estate of man;
The longest life is but a quick drawn breath.
But every generation does what tasks it can
to achieve a sense of worth before its death.
This pioneer village serves as a history’s clerk.
What you see here is more than it would seem.
These simple structures symbolize that work which formed the substance of the American Dream.
This school, this church, the business, and the home,
now here epitomize our country’s might.
They changed a desert’s
Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, March 13, 2010
2. Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings Marker
dust to fertile loam
and speak a silent message through this site;

“As citizens we all should strive to be bold builders of a good community.”
Charles B. Garrigus
Poet Laureate of California

Selma Centennial Committee
July 4, 1980

Erected 1986 by E Clampus Vitus. (Marker Number 30.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
Location. 36° 34.817′ N, 119° 37.867′ W. Marker is in Selma, California, in Fresno County. Marker can be reached from Art Gonzales Parkway 0.2 miles from Highland Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1880 Art Gonzales Parkway, Selma CA 93662, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Selma (approx. 1.4 miles away); Frank Dusy (approx. 1˝ miles away); Libby, McNeill and Libby Cannery (approx. 1.9 miles away); Fowler's Switch (approx. 4.3 miles away); The History of the Town Kingsburg (approx. 6.3 miles away); Fred French (approx. 6.3 miles away); George Boyle (approx. 6.3 miles away); The Historic Kingsburg Jail (approx. 6.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Selma.
More about this marker.
Centenial Village Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, March 13, 2010
3. Centenial Village Marker
Brass plaque installed on the back of the granite monument. The plaque had been installed elsewhere in 1980 when the park originally opened as Centennial Village during the Selma Centennial. The park was later renamed Pioneer Village and the plaque was moved to the back of the Groundwater Irrigation monument sometime later.
Marker is located in Pioneer Village, a park with vintage buildings relocated from around Selma, Houses, an old Opera House and a barn. There are museums displaying different cultures that thrived in the Selma area at the turn of the century. The marker can be viewed by exiting Hiway 99 southbound at the Floral Avenue exit, making a left, turning under the freeway, making the first left turn on to Higland Avenue, and continuing until you reach Gonzales Parkway. A left at this short street will take you to the entrance gates to Pioneer Village. The monument can be seen to the right about 15 yards away from the gates to the park. The gates are usually locked, but are open every other Saturday from 11:00AM to 1:00PM and plans are in the works to make access to the park more convenient soon.
Regarding Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings. Recognized as the first Deep Well sunk in California, and identified as the beginnings of well water being used instead of canal water to irrigate crops in the valley.
Categories. AgricultureNatural ResourcesNotable Events
Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, March 13, 2010
4. Groundwater Irrigation Beginnings Marker
Backside of the granite stone showing the Centennial Village brass plaque.
"Opera House" at Pioneer Village image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson
5. "Opera House" at Pioneer Village
The front of this building says "Opera House" and is one of several buildings in Pioneer Village. It is used as a museum.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 14, 2010, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. This page has been viewed 1,326 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 14, 2010, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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