Communities surrounding NAS Lemoore reflect the many contrasts of California living. County fairs, Independence Day parades, concerts in the park, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies — all reflect a small-hometown atmosphere of rural America. Yet, within a two- to four-hour drive are some of the nation’s largest cities and major tourist attractions, which draw millions of visitors each year.
To the north lies San Francisco, an international tourist destination with its renowned steep, rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Chinatown. To the south lies Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the United States and home to Hollywood — the entertainment capital of the world.
To the west lies the Pacific Ocean with scenic coastal Highway 1 that connects such spectacular seaside cities as Morro Bay and Monterey. To the east lies the Sierra Mountain Range — home to three national parks (Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon) and world-class skiing at China Peak in the Sierra National Forest.
But from Kings County, you can’t see the mountains or the ocean. Instead you see thousands of acres of level cropland extending to the horizon, all part of the San Joaquin Valley, sometimes called “the nation’s salad bowl” for the great array of fruits and vegetables grown in its fertile soil.
Kings County: Fruit orchards, cotton fields, grapes and nuts, alfalfa, corn and hay — all are grown in abundance in the Central Valley thanks to major irrigation systems and near-perfect growing weather. Kings County has a climate typical of that of the San Joaquin Valley floor with hot, dry summers and cool winters characterized by dense fog.
Although the highest recorded temperature reached 116 degrees in 1933, the warmest month, July, averages 94 degrees during the day and 65 degrees in the evening. The lowest recorded temperature was 15 degrees in 1990, but the coldest months, December and January, average 54 degrees during the day and 36 degrees in the evening with no snowfall. The area averages only 9 inches of rain per year, mostly in the winter months.
With more than 1, 100 farms and ranches in Kings County, about 84 percent of its nearly 1, 400 square miles is devoted to agriculture and dairy farmland. Also within Kings County are two major federal land areas — NAS Lemoore and Santa Rosa Rancheria, a 1, 806-acre reservation for the Tachi Yokut Indians who have inhabited the San Joaquin Valley area for centuries. Established in 1934 on approximately 40 acres of land about 4.5 miles southeast of Lemoore, the rancheria expanded over the years to 643 acres by 2008. In May 2008, the Tribal Chairman and U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs added an additional 1, 163 acres of trust land to the Indian reservation.
Kings County was formed in 1893 from the western part of Tulare County, and now has a population of more than 151, 000 people who live primarily in its nine small cities and towns and its seven rural communities.
Movie Star Homes: The Famous to the Forgotten
Book (Santa Monica Press)
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