Big Dry Creek. That’s what they called this place when some of the most notable families in Fresno County history came here in the mid-1800s.
The Harshfields, the Witts, and the Simpsons were all farmers. Whereas Major Thomas Nelson, David Sample, Bill Shipp, and Jesse Blasingame started off in the area raising sheep or cattle. John Simpson and Jesse Blasingame emerged as the most successful of these families.
The Methodist Episcopal Church South was built on land donated by the Simpson family in 1869. The church set up a secondary school here in 1872. The original teachers were a married couple, James and Ann Collins. They called it “The Academy”, and it had a reputation for educational excellence. In fact, if you graduated from the Academy you could teach somewhere else right away. Or you could go to university – which, to be honest, was a bigger deal then.
The post office here was established in 1876 – discontinued in 1877. Reestablished in 1892, closed again in 1903. Reopened again in 1905 and closed for good in 1951.
The church building remains and they even have services here a few times a year. But the Academy, that building was demolished years ago. But the name, however, remains.
And now Academy is on the map of Fresno County.
With Josh Dean behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.