The next area that I am blogging from is Lemoore, California.
Known for its Naval Air Base, its Tachi Bingo Palace and the where Journey lead singer Steve Perry had grown up as a child/teenager, the city of Lemoore was founded in April 1871 by Dr. Lovern Lee Moore from France.
Originally called western Tulare County, California or Latache, the land was known for rich soil thanks to the Kings river and water was plentiful at the time for irrigation for farm families. And back then, farmers raised sheep and grew grains.
But Dr. Moore saw big things for the area and with other farm families, he began to organize a community and established the first real estate development in the district and named the streets after other pioneer families.
The U.S. Post Office objected to the name Latache, so in the 1920’s it combined the founder of the community, Lemoore without an extra “e” and called the new post office “Lemoore” and giving the new community its new name.
In 1893, the State Legislature split Tulare County into two areas, calling the western area Kings County. And the community was known for its cultured individuals in literary and musical accomplishments.
And in the present, it’s one of the few areas that retains its old town feel but also embraces modernization but carefully making sure the city doesn’t grow too big like other neighboring cities in Kings and Tulare County, which grew not just economically but also with an escalating crime rate.
The city of Lemoore still has their ghost signs from yesteryear and one thing that has remained consistent all these years in the city is the city’s rivalry with nearby Kings County city, Hanford.
As in other states with strong football programs with deep rivalries, the rivalry between Lemoore and Hanford has always remained strong and every year, the two city’s High School football team compete for the Milk Can game.
But as the city of Lemoore as previously mentioned is known for its Naval Air Base, the home of teenage Steve Perry (lead vocalist of Journey and his parents owned the local Portuguese radio station – KIGS AM 620), the city also has its share of athletes such as NFL athletes Lorenzo Neal and David Ausberry. But the best known athlete was sprinter Tommie Smith who was known, alongside teammate John Carlos for the Black Power salute (which a recent interview with Smith was not intended to be a “Black Power” salute but a “Victory Stand” salute) during the medal ceremony of the 1968 Summer Olympics.
California pioneer Daniel Rhoads (who was one of the rescuers of the Donner Party) was responsible for building the El Adobe de los Robles Rancho (California Historical Landmark #206).
Astronaut Michael Baker is from Lemoore and author, Zilpha Keatley Snyder (author of Newberry Honor books: “The Egypt Game”, “The Headless Cupid” and “The Witches of Worm”) was born and raised in Lemoore.
But in recent years, the city of Lemoore has become popular for something that would seem impossible. Surfing.
While the nearest beach is nearly two hours away, Lemoore made big news when it was revealed that professional surfer, Kelly Slater had purchased property with man-made lake (once used for water skiing) in Lemoore and the property is the prototype site for his modern wave pool technology.
According to Bloomberg, “After shopping for more than a year, the company settled on the plot in Central California where the engineering team could work with no interference. The site sits behind a cedar fence along a dusty road where houses are few and far between. Secrecy was a concern, certainly, but the real reason the prototype wave is in Lemoore is that the land was cheap, about $575,000 for 20 acres. To find a plot of that size with a lake outside L.A. would be a ridiculous waste of money for a startup that Slater describes as “thrifty.” (And for good reason—a large chunk of the funding came out of his pocket.)”.
But the City of Lemoore is similar to areas around the state of California that people want to live to raise a family or retire. To get away from the busy city life but yet not far from the nearest city (Fresno – 40 minutes away), the nearest beach (Avila Beach or Pismo Beach on the Central Coast) or the nearest Outlet center (Tulare – 35 minutes away).