How Madera’s Bill Tighe grew his business

Bill Tighe grew his business

A short time after Bill Tighe went into partnership in a dry goods store with Mr. Harris, they bought out John Griffin, who ran a shoe store a little further up the street. This was a giant step toward success for Tighe, for by the time Madera County was created in 1893, Bill was in […]

The Tighe and Breyfogle department store

The Tighe and Breyfogle department store

The Tighe and Breyfogle department store, which was the cornerstone of Madera’s business community for years, had an inauspicious beginning. When its founder, William Tighe came to town in 1891, he hopped off the train as it pulled into the local depot with just a few dollars in his pocket. It just so happened that […]

Early Madera Businesses

The Preciado sundry store

Pictured c. 1910, Charles F. Preciado’s sundry store was located on the northeast corner of Yosemite Avenue and D Streets. Since he had abundant help from his sisters in running the establishment, Preciado found time to run for Madera County Tax Collector. In what can only be described as a personal tragedy, Charles was charged […]

The Madera Fire Department’s First Fire Engine

Madera's first fire engine

Madera’s fire department was organized in 1885 and had only the most primitive equipment to use to fight the town’s worst enemy. By 1915, however, things had improved, as this photograph shows. A fire engine committee was formed, and it decided to purchase a Moreland fire engine, which arrived on March 15, 1915. Joe Scott […]

Yosemite Avenue in 1910

Yosemite Avenue 1910

Looking west on Yosemite Avenue in 1910, the Alta Hotel is easily identified on the right (north side of the street) At this time, there were four hotels and several grocery stores in downtown Madera. Among the latter group were Franchi’s, Rochdale, Wehrman-Meilike (with its popular deli), Petty’s, and Friedberger and Harder’s downtown Madera also […]

Yosemite Avenue in the first decade of the 20th century

photograph looking west on Yosemite Avenue

Sometime after 1908, probably in 1910, this photograph looking west on Yosemite Avenue was taken. It shows the first Rosenthal-Kutner store, a two-story affair on the corner of D Street and Yosemite. The top floor was occupied by Dr. Wing, an early Madera dentist. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union water fountain, which had been constructed […]

Yosemite Avenue in 1905

Yosemite Avenue in 1905

Yosemite Avenue is shown here in 1905. The view is from F Street looking east, and Mace’s Hotel can be seen on the left. The main part of town was only three blocks long with businesses scattered along the side streets. The unpaved avenue was dusty in the summer and full of chuckholes that played […]

The night that removed Madera’s shantytown

madera shanties

After the construction of the courthouse and before Courthouse Park could be laid out, the shanties that occupied the area to the east of the building had to be removed. In 1909, the Madera County Supervisors entered into some heavy negotiations with the owners of the buildings, but the talks did not go well. The […]

Shopping in the early days of Madera

Stahl’s City Bakery and Grocery

Stahl’s City Bakery and Grocery finally found a permanent home between Yosemite Avenue and Fifth Street, but it took some doing to get it there, as the next photograph illustrates. In the early days of the 20th century, one might see just about anything on Yosemite Avenue. Horse races, fistfights, and street dances were common […]

The San Joaquin River Steamboats

a steamboat at the Skaggs Bridge landing

During the pioneer years of Fresno and Madera Counties, steamboats were used to bring supplies up the San Joaquin River to settlers living in the Valley. In 1911, a committee of residents from both counties enticed the owner of the J.R. McDonald, a paddle wheel steamer, to travel the river again to show that it […]

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