Mrs. Clara Arnold
Submitted July 1, 2014
arriving in Atwater on a windy day in February 1910, the
place was much different than now. No. 8 made a regular
stop in Atwater.
There was a general store, post office, barber shop and
a meat market. These buildings were facing what is now
Highway 99, and began at Third Street and ran west n the
order named. They were about 3 feet off the ground, or
high enough to step off a horse. These buildings burned
in the summer of 1912.
The hotel was run by the H.G. Peck family
(Carrie Peck’s father) and the next place was H.
Logue’s place, dwelling and pool hall. Back of these
buildings on Broadway was the blacksmith shop and a livery
There was a 2 room school where Neves’
implement store is now. There was 1 teacher and pupils
came from a radius of 5 to 10 miles. The Coulson children
attended school here until the fall of 1913.
There were about 15 houses and 60 inhabitants.
They had no Doctor until March of 1910. The store opened
at 6 A.M. and closed at 9 or 10 P.M. On Sundays it was
open till noon. W.J. Buss was the barber and had his shop
open on Saturdays and Sundays.
The church was built in 1910 but there
was no parsonage. The ministers had no way of travel but
Shank’s horses. One of the ministers walked around
the Colony and arranged for cottage prayer meetins. It
was at one of these meetings that I met the Coulson family.
We had 5 bachelors living on Fruitland
Avenue, and there are few people here now who were here
Fruitland School District was organized
in 1913, and the first term had 1 teacher and 26 pupils.
Our Women’s Club was organized
in the spring of 1913, and its name was Willing Workers
Club. The first president was Mrs. Cronk, and there were
12 members. The officers served 6 months and meetings
were held every 2 weeks and were in the homes. Our mode
of travel was by horse and buggy, but everyone was there.
There was always a picnic at either Cressy or Livingston
Bridge on July 4th. This year 1913, a group spent the
night of July 3rd. at Livingston Bridge, and in the morning
a few families went up there for breakfast, and at noon
42 ate dinner. After noon, they watched the automobile
races on the highway, only it was just a dust road.
Mrs. Matson is the only charter member
North of Liberty Avenue was a grain field
We had Sunday School in the schoolhouse
in 1913-14. Mrs. Cronk and Alice Leatherman were song
leader and accompanist respectively, also teachers of
the primary department. Mr. A.H. Hooker had charge of
adults, and several from Winton came to these meetings.
Our first money-raising event was also
in the fall of 1913. Stove, dishes, piano, table and lamp
were borrowed. The cloakroom of the old school was the
kitchen; $15.81 was realized from this evening. After
this, the school trustees levied a special tax and bought
the piano we are now using. As time went on, we bought
a stove, kitchen cupboard, had a sink installed in what
is the library of the north room of the building. We had
a kerosene lamp and a gasoline lamp. We bought several
dozen folding charis as there was no furniture in the
Farm Bureau was organized in 1917 and
this Center met with Winton, but we soon had our own Center
meetings and Home Department. The first meeting was held
in the summer of 1910, and the men met in the south room
and the women in the north room. Miss Long, an itinerant
Home Demonstration Agent, gave a demonstration of a pressure
cooker. She cooked pink beans, and we had lemonade.
During World War I, quite a lot of knitting
was done, and we had a club money-raising event.
Net proceeds were $45.00 which was given to the Merced
Chapter of the Red Cross. There was an Agricultural Fair
in Atwater on the site of Dr. Jackson’s office building.
Our Club had a booth, and our prize money amounted to
$46.85. After deducting expenses, we gave $39.85 to the
Atwater Red Cross. In October of his year, we gave $7.00
to this Red Cross, making total donations of $91.85. We
also bought yarn and several sweaters were knitted and
sent to soldiers.
Wages when we came here were 15 cents
The Fruitland Telephone Co. was organized
in 1922, and the voting precinct in the early 1920’s.
The first bell in the schoolhouse was
from the “Omaha” and when it came it was cracked
and not very satisfactory. Another bell was purchased
Our Club Song was composed by Mrs. Allen,
mother of Mrs. Cronk. According to old minutes, it was
sung at Club for the first time on June 5th, 1913.
In 1914 umbrella trees were purchased
and planted and in 1915 kitchen cupboard and drop-leaf
table, the two costing $13.75. Two clocks, an alarm clock
and one showing the days of the week, costing $13.75 were
purchased for the school. The small oil stove in the kitchen
cost $11.00 and has been used since 1919.
Our fist plates cost $1.00 per dozen
in 1915. Mrs. Rogers presented us with our gavel in 1918;
it belonged to Mr. Or Dr. John Gillett, Mrs. Julia Houck’s
grandfather. Mrs. Rogers is Mrs. Houck’s Mother.
Our round trays were gotten in 1923,
and each member paid for 1 tray; total cost was $10.00.
The first issue of the Fruitland Gazette
was read on Oct. 29th, 1919, Mrs. Lockie being the editor.
Mrs. Rogers, our President that year, helped to edit the
paper, as she had belonged to a club which published such
Mrs. Petersen and Mrs. Partch were hostesses
for the Christmas Party on Dec. 13th, 1933, and could
find no tree in Merced. Lilley & Stribling donated
the redwood tree you see in front of the schoolhouse.
On Christmas of 1933 we gave a donation of food and articles
of clothing to the Atwater Firemen for the needy. Our
dishes were purchased in January 1934, and we bought 6
dozen each of dinner plates, 5 inch pie plates, cups and
saucers to match, costing $52.27..
April 25th, 1934 we had an Antique Day,
and there was a wonderful display of antiques. Tea, sandwiches
and coffee were served, and the net proceeds of the silver
offering was $5.52. In February 1935 we bought 1 dozen
round vegetable dishes at 65 cents each. The stage was
entinted in April 1935.
Our first annual Club Luncheon was held
on June 14th., 1933.
Mrs. Clara Arnold