On The Map: Lucerne

On The Map: Originals

A dark anniversary is coming to the Central Valley in May. Trying to get out from under those dark clouds is why this name was chosen to be ON THE MAP.

In the late 1800s when the Southern Pacific Railroad was spreading its influence across the Central Valley, not everything went according to plan.

There was a land dispute between the railroad and local ranchers in and around the area of the Mussel Slough. I’m standing in it right now, and yes… it’s dry.

May 11, 1880. Tensions ran so high that a gun battle ensued leaving 7 dead… two U.S. Marshalls and five ranchers. It made national headlines making Mussel Slough infamous.

It may be unconnected, but seven years later they decided to rename the area. Perhaps to get away from the Mussel Slough Tragedy, or maybe they just didn’t like the name “Slough”. It means kind of a muddy backwater. They wanted something fancier. Something European.

And in 1887, The Hanford Sentinel says, “The area was eminently worthy to be the namesake of that old, rich, and venerable… Lucerne, on the map of Kings County.

With Emily Lucas behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.

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