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The Porterville Historical Museum

Saving The Past For the Future
About Us
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Gold Rush
Past Exhibits
History With Horst
Lecturers and Authors
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Board Members
BILL HORST - Local Historian
For many years now Bill has been called a "Local Historian"; but his knowledge of U.S. and western history goes far beyond the local area.  His interest in the stories of the old timers he knew as he was growing up, prompted them to feed his interest.  Being a curious sort, he spent time doing research to either prove or disprove these tales.  He also learned to make and do certain things to try the "old ways".
This trial and error research,  gave him knowledge in the use and manufacture of early firearms, clothing, tanning of animal hides, etc.  Being raised on a farm that used horses to power farm equipment until a tractor was purchased in 1942, was also a learning experience.  This taught him about "chores" that most young people even of  that time did not have.  His friends among the "Elders" in the Native American community contributed to his lifetime "Hobby" of early U.S. history.
Sylvia Ross - Author -  Blue Jay Girl & Lion Singer
Sylvia Ross was born and raised in Los Angeles, apart from her family's Chukchansi culture.  Early on, she worked as a painter for Walt Disney Productions, later returning to school to earn a B.A. from Fresno State University. She then moved with her family to eastern Tulare County, where she taught at a school attended by the children of the Tule River Indian Reservation.  She is the author of Lion Singer, a children's book about a boy in the Chukchansi tribe. Her work has been published in News from Native California, and in the anthologies The Dirt is Red Here and Spring Salmon, Hurry to Me. 
Her  new children's  book,  Blue Jay Girl, published by Heyday Books,
is about a child of the Tule River Reservation.  Mrs. Ross is also the illustrator of the book.

Judy Holloway - Native Plants

Nature and photography have always been a winning combination for Judy Holloway. After arriving in Porterville, 40 years ago and opening a photography business (Movin' Pictures), she spent her time photographing weddings, family reunions, dances, and children. In her spare time Judy traveled the many areas around either alone or with the members of the Porterville Camera Club, looking for the "perfect" photo.  Her fascination with wild flowers and the photos she took became her "fame" among her friends and family. The gift of a book about the flowers, plants, and their history added another dimension to her photos.


She has retired from her studio photography and with the knowledge about the legends, history, and uses of the many wild plants around this area,  Judy has presented her program about the plants to many gardens clubs, service clubs, and schools, as well as a "hands on" program at the Butterfield Stage Days.


She is now volunteering her knowledge about wild plants to the Porterville Museum in the form of a "native" wild plant garden as well as a program about the "Amazing Wild Flowers."


Nicole Labelle - The Pet Store
This book was ctreated for a 7th grade class assignment.  The story was inspired by a poor grade I received on one of my poems.  However, this book did not get a much better grade.  I like telling stories and creating the pictures to go wiht them.  With belief in myself, and encouragement from family and friends I will continue to create new stories.


Richard J. Klema - WWII POW
Richard Klema was born in 1918 and raised in Kansas.  Four out of his five brothers served in WWII.  Richard was drafted and served in the Army.  He was taken prisoner in 1943 and was held captive by the Germans for 28 months.
After the war, Richard married his wife, Neva (deceased) and owned IGA grocery stores until 1962.  In 1962, he went to work at Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, KS.  Schilling closed in 1965 and he moved to Beale Air Force Base in Linda, CA.  He was a meat cutter until his retirement in 1982.
Richard has lived in Porterville since 1990 and currently lives with Steve and Nancy Dye. For the past 20 years he has had the pleasure and opportunity to speak to schools and many organizations.


Jeff Edwards


Historian Jeff Edwards came to Porterville in 1947 and opened a photography studio on Main Street. Today it is the oldest business on Main Street. Through his cousin Howard Frame, he became interested in saving old pictures of Porterville as all the old pictures and negatives were destroyed when Moore’s’ Opera House burned in 1914. Edwards Studio has 50,000 pictures and negatives of the Porterville area.  When the Museum opened Edwards gave slide shows to raise money for the opening of the museum.  Edwards has published more than 50 books on local history.

The Porterville Historical Museum is pleased to present local historian Jeff Edwards speaking on Pioneer Churches of the area and how to do a family tree.  The presentation will be Sunday, May 1, 2011.

 The lecture begins at 2 p.m. with a coffee break at 3 p.m. and will conclude at 4 p.m.  Donation is $5 and is free to members of Friends of to Museum.  For more information, call the Museum (784-2053)



Sheila Pickrell