Early Central Valley settlement
Off Hwy-99, 43 miles South of Fresno. Visalia was one of the earliest Central Valley settlements, its first inhabitants including a band of Confederate sympathizers who published a pro-slavery newspaper during the Civil War. Such times seem far removed in the placid, present-day Visalia, where a trip to the local shopping mall is considered a big event and the small-town America mood is all encompassing. Pick up the free walking tour map from the Chamber of Commerce, 720 W. Mineral King Avenue, and you will be able to stroll around the town’s shady, oak – and eucalyptus-lined streets locating the older homes. Five miles south, Mooney Grove Park holds the worthy local history exhibits of the Tulare County Museum and James Earle Fraser’s emotive End of the Trail statue – originally cast for the 1915 World Fair in San Francisco – depicting the sad plight of the west’s Native Americans.