On The Map: Oleander

On The Map: Originals

Today we visit a place that can thank a poisonous flower for its opportunity to be – on the map.

Judge John Westley North was an advocate for development of this area which was southwest of downtown Fresno.

In 1880, he wrote a letter to the federal bureaucracy asking to change the name of this area to Washington Colony.

He was denied.

The reason given was Washington was overused.

In fact, two years earlier and about two miles west of here, the Washington Irrigation Colony was established.

Well, after the judge was turned down, he took a look outside and realized, “You know what? There’s a lot of agriculture around here.”

But he saw in his own yard a particularly pretty flower.

He said, “You know what? We’re going to name the community after that flower.”

He wrote the same bureaucracy the same letter, new name.

This time it was approved.

Here’s the problem, that particular flower is one of the more deadly plants in nature.

If you touch it, it will cause skin irritation, and if you eat a leaf, it can kill an adult.

The toxic nature of that plant notwithstanding, the community is now named Oleander, on the map of Fresno County.

With Josh Dean behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.

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