Hanford Municipal Airport (KHJO)

Hanford, CA

 

I had planned two potential destinations so that I would have a back-up in case the weather didn't look good for one of the destinations on the day of the trip.  I picked Oceano airport in Southern California and Hanford Municipal Airport in Northern California.  As it was, there was too much coastal fog activity to even consider going to Oceano which is right near the coast; about a half-mile or so from Pismo Beach.  So it was off to Hanford, California!

View of RHV and Lake Cunningham (home of "Raging Waters") on my downwind departure from runway 31L

Anderson Lake

 

San Luis Reservoir

   

Hanford Municipal Airport

 

Hanford Municipal Airport Runway 32

As soon as I landed,  the first thing I did after tying down the plane and closing my flight plan was call an old college friend (who is married to another dear friend, who was my roommate during my college days) in Prescott, AZ.  My friend had lived in nearby Visalia, CA so I wanted to know what was a 'must-see/do' while in Hanford.  The first thing that came to her lips was "Superior Dairy Products Company"; it had (as I would soon find out) homemade ice cream, served in an ice cream parlor that had been there for over 70 years.  So, I called a cab (Hanford Cab Company) and began my adventure.

Taxi Cabs

There are several Cab Companies located in the Hanford area.

Cab Companies

Telephone

Marathon Cab (owner operated cab - be sure to tell Bob that "Cecil says 'Hi!'" )

Lemoore Taxi (good alternative if Marathon is busy)

559-582-6222

(559) 924-4440

 

 

I have to say, that I knew that I had come to the right place while I was riding in the cab (be sure to call the Marathon Cab on your visit and you'll get to meet Bob, if Marathon is busy Lemoore Taxi is a good alternative and they have multiple cabs) for the short ride into the center of Hanford when (during a radio call to the cab driver) I overheard a call about an elderly resident who needed a cab but wasn't sure she would have enough money to pay for the entire trip.  The cab driver said he would take the call for {her name, which I can't remember} and would make up any difference between what she had and the meter, because it was important for this resident to get to her doctor when she needed to (he obviously knew her and the elderly lady's situation/condition).  I remember thinking, that would be a response that I wouldn't expect from a cab driver in the 'big city'; but here in little Hanford, people are motivated by the thought that there are simply things that are the 'right-thing-to-do',,, and they are done!

Click the door to see their menu!

Ya, know,,, more often than not company names tend to be more than just a bit of a misnomer, however this is definitely NOT the case with this wonderful place - the ice cream products are definitively, superior.  It is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that has been at this location for over 70 years.  I was thoroughly pleased to see the faces of clean-cut and 'fresh-scrubbed' teenagers who were exceptionally polite and helpful; to some it may seem a small thing, but being from the city (San Francisco) it was 'bliss' being served by a polite young person who didn't have green spiked hair.  I sat down to have a LARGE chocolate chip ice cream milkshake (served with the metal mixing cup).   By the way, you won't believe the size of their generous ice cream scoops!

 

 

You are looking at a central park which sits across the street from Superior Dairy.  In the distance you can see a bridal party taking pictures in this gorgeous park.

 A wedding party taking photos...

A view from inside the Superior Dairy looking out at the street.  Yep, those old model cars you see in the photo aren't an illusion.

This old-fashioned dairy with a store front soda fountain.  It's been owned by one family since 1929.  Superior Dairy ice cream is made from recipes the family keeps secret.  Popular flavors are rocky road, chocolate chip, maple, nut, lemon  and during the holiday season; pumpkin.  The interior of the building features a large L-shaped soda fountain, booths, and a walk-up counter.  The ceiling is a white pressed metal which was popular in the 20's . - information excerpted from 2009 Hanford Visitor Guide

The Kings County Courthouse was built in 1897.  The building cost $26,000 originally and was expanded in 1914.  It was used until 1979 as the site of Kings County governmental offices and courts.  At one time, it was being considered for demolition - but citizens got together and saved it.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building now serves to house shops, restaurants and offices  - information excerpted from 2009 Hanford Visitor Guide

Hanford Civic Auditorium (bordering the park)

It was built in 1925 and is the location for community gatherings.  John Philip Sousa performed here twice, in 1926 and 1928.  Before the auditorium was built, Sousa performed in the Opera House in 1904 and 1911.  In the 30's and 40's big band played like Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, The Dorsey's, Harry James and others.  In 1963 The Righteous Brothers performed as well as Frankie Avalon and Maureen McGovern.  Art Linkletter and Rush Limbaugh have also appeared at this auditorium.  It is also the frequent site of free community concerts; Main Street Hanford's Annual Blues & Roots Festival in September. - information excerpted from 2009 Hanford Visitor Guide

The Bastille was erected in 1897 to serve as the Kings County Sherri's Office and Jail.  There were no kitchen facilities, so meals were brought in and served from a window.  It was designed to hold 60 prisoners, and eventually housed up to 215 prisoners.  Some of the original cells are still intact.  The old jail was taken out of service in 1964 when a new facility was opened.  The old jail now houses a nightclub popular with young adults.

- information excerpted from 2009 Hanford Visitor Guide
You are looking at a very old clock (no, really,,, you don't have to write me to thank me for telling you this,,, the pleasure of sharing is enough for me <grin>).  

It says:  

"City of Hanford, Est. 1891"

 

 

(This photo taken during a very recent re-visit to Hanford, replacing the original photo in this spot of the webpage)

 

Dwight Yoakham                                                                                    Willie Nelson & Family

 

Now THIS is something to take note of:  The Hanford Fox Theater .  I checked out the performers scheduled to be here and WOW!  Click this link to be taken to their website with performer schedule:   http://www.foxhanford.com/

 

You know, my estimation of these performers increased 10,000-fold when I saw that they would be willing to perform in what would be a very small venue for them.  It impressed me greatly, because it seems to show that they want to give back to the small towns, since that is where most of them found their origins; i.e., in small towns.  This looks like a 'must revisit' opportunity to me!

William Fox wanted each of his movie-palace theaters to have a theme.  For Hanford, the theme chosen was a Spanish-courtyard-at-night.  And the inside of the theater truly looks like a Spanish courtyard complete with tile-roofed buildings with lighted windows, balconies and turrets.  A huge drop fireproof curtain, covering the entire movie screen is a oil painting that depicts a Spanish village with a church bell tower, cypress trees and terra cotta roofed buildings.  The proscenium is supported by Greco-Roman columns.  And the ceiling reveals a starry night with a crescent moon overhead.  In 1929, when the Hanford theater was built, it was designed for live stage performances; particularly for the traveling show troupes known as "vaudeville" as well as movie screenings.  William Fox thought that movies were a passing fad.   Going to the movies was a huge event for everyone throughout the 30's , 40's and even 50's.  As television became more popular, people found it more convenient to have their entertainment at home and ticket sales declined.

In 1979, Hanford's Fox Theater was in danger of being carved up into multiplex screenings.  It was protected when preservationist, J. Daniel Humason, purchased it.  With lots of hard work, the theater was restored and open for business in 1982.  Today the Fox is mainly a live concert venue but also still open for film screenings, including special showings of silent films with a live organist playing the Mighty Wurlitzer.  Top name performers who have appeared at the Fox Theater:  Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Victor Borge, Henry Mancini, Captain and Tennille, Smothers Brothers, John Denver, Neil Sedaka, Marvin Hamlisch, Crystal Gale, The Drifters, Christopher Cross, Lily Tomlin, George Strait, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Bill Cosby, Rodney Carrington, Charlie Daniels Band, Merle Haggard, Pat Benatar, Jose Feliciano and many more.  - information excerpted from 2009 Hanford Visitor Guide

 

 

 

A view from the other side of the park, looking down one of their main streets.

Deb's Main Street Deli at 7th Street and Phillips and right next door....

Maccagno's Bakery.  After a visit to Deb's you MUST check out the many baked delights at this old style bakery.  Sign says:  "Faithful Service Since 1929"

Map of Hanford area indicating the path to travel to get from the Superior Dairy Products Company to Deb's Main Street Deli and Maccagno's Bakery

I spent a good deal of my time (after locating a store with sunscreen; I was wearing shorts) just walking around this quaint little town, trying to see what there was to see.  My only disappointment was when I walked a half-mile or so from the center of town looking for some sunscreen, I found a strip of 'franchise infection' down a large boulevard.  I had kind of been hoping against hope that the entire character of this town would be much the same as the older center of town... Alas, 'progress'..... :-(

Aside from the above, Hanford is a splendid place to visit and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone (especially 'city dwellers' who need a breath of fresh air and sunshine).  I should tell you that it would be well-advised to see if one can pre-arrange a pick-up from the local cab company.  It took  awhile, on a Saturday, for the cab to show up to give me my 5 to 10 minute ride back to the airport (by the way, the fare was most reasonable, for a small town).  My guess is that things get busy on Saturday evening and Marathon Cab is an owner operated cab company (one driver/owner - one cab) - but this was no big deal and certainly one of those things you need to take-in-stride; after all,,, Hanford ISN'T the 'big city' and I thank my lucky stars for that!

For more information on Hanford, go directly to their visitor's bureau website at:   http://www.visithanford.com/ 

Good Flights!

Below graphic designed by: Jeff Bucchino,

"The Wizard of Draws" (copyright owner) http://www.wizardofdraws.com

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