Historic Fillmore Locations You May Not have Noticed
Fillmore’s first neighborhood mail drop box, installed September 30, 1936
Often we seem to highlight places that are fairly well known in our community. But there are some locations which are seen almost every day that most of us don’t pay much attention to.
Our first location is on Kensington Drive. Close to the west end of the street, there is a cluster of 3 sycamore trees, raising the sidewalk and towering over their surroundings. Long before the arrival of the railroad in 1887, this was a location of a corral for sheep shearing. Raising sheep here had been a long established business before development would occur in the late 19th century. But why was it there? The “why” is because Pole Creek, then known as “yellow Creek” ran right past it. The water in the creek was needed by the sheep shearers and the animals. The creek also encouraged the growth of the sycamore trees which still remain along its original path. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the creek’s path was changed to flow south as it does today. The original creek crossed what would become Fillmore from east to west roughly following part of 4th St and dropping down to about the corner of First and Saratoga, then proceeding past those Kensington Drive sycamore trees and on west to the Sespe River.
Bridge over pole creek about 1919 after it's path was changed.
The next notable unnoticed spot is the corner of First and Saratoga. There on the south east corner is a lonely concrete post with the date, 1936, near the top. That post was the support for Fillmore’s first neighborhood mail drop box, installed September 30, 1936. The first person to post a letter there was the mayor, Lester Price. Free mail delivery to local residences was just beginning. Before this date residents picked up their mail at the post office. Before mail delivery began that October, home owners needed to buy and install their own mailboxes. The new mail carriers were required to take a civil service exam and, as was customary at the time, women were not allowed to apply. There were two daily deliveries with the postal carriers leaving the post office at 9:15 a.m. and at 12:45 pm. The carriers did not wear uniforms and did not carry stamps, but they could pick up mail from the boxes to take to the post office. One of the first two carriers, “Brick” Fansler reported that every dog on his route knew he was coming and set off barking and charging because of the sound made by his corduroy slacks as he walked the route. This was probably the beginning of a love hate relationship between mail carriers and local dogs.
Located on the northwest corner of First St. and Saratoga St. is the home once owned by John McNab, manager of Sespe Land and Water Co. and member of the family which laid out the City of Fillmore. The house is thought to have been originally located on Catalina Island and moved to Fillmore in 1910. The site was popular for picnicking in the early days because of the large sycamore trees there. Baseball was also a popular pastime then. Fortunately, someone had the foresight to take a picture of a game held in about 1910 as you will see in one of the accompanying photos.
The last locations mentioned in this article are in downtown Fillmore on the east side of the street at 328-330 and 322-324 Central Ave. The building at 328-330 was built in 1910 as a single building with two storefronts. Today it appears as two separate buildings as it has been completely remodeled over the years. In 1915 a new building was built just to the south, adjoining this building at 332-324 Central Ave. The buildings’ look was nearly identical at the time with just a few changes to the façade. This building looks today much as it did when built.
Fillmore is fortunate to have retained as many of the original buildings as it has despite modernization, fires and earthquakes. This is a testament to the concern our citizens have for their shared history.
322-330 Central Ave as they appeared in 1920.