Friday , June 21 2024

Pictures of Visalia's wet past

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Knee-deep in water could be used to describe Visalia during the 1950s.<br /><br />&quot;We were flooded on regular basis, that was just part of Visalia life,&quot; Terry Ommen, local historian said. <br /><br />Today, residents are using the topic to raise money for a new community center.<br /><br />&quot;Our goal is that people establish and build relationships here and attend events and functions where they enjoy mixing and mingling with their community,&quot; associate pastor Karl Schafer said.<br /><br />Organizers auctioned off artifacts from pictures to old newspapers. Local self-described history-buff Terry Ommen picked the pictures himself. He says before dams the towns closeness to the Sierra’s literally drowned the city in water. <br /><br />&quot;Sometimes they were really bad, sometimes they were tolerable, sometimes they were pleasant,&quot; Ommen said.<br /><br />Tom Link remembers those days. His family owned a store downtown.<br /><br />&quot;We started filling sandbags around 6 or 7 o’clock in the evening, and we filled sandbags until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,&quot; Link said.<br /><br />He says at just 14 years old the floods taught him one especially valuable life skill. <br /><br />&quot;I learned how to drink coffee, at that young age, because it was just so cold, it was just bitter cold,&quot; Link said.<br /><br />For Omen, the pictures are a reminder of the human spirit. Organizers say that’s what it’s about. Reminding residents tough seasons come and go. All while giving them a glimpse into the past.<br /></div>

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