Ask Me: Golden Tee golf course now a park
Question: What is the history of the Golden Tee golf course on Tulare Street?
– Cliff Sparrow, Clovis
Answer: Jess Blakeley, who opened a popular public swimming pool on Tulare Street near Clovis Avenue in 1948, added a nine-hole golf course on his 20-acre property in 1961.
The course was designed by famous golf course architect Bob Baldock.
In 1967, Blakeley sold the pool and golf course to Blakeley Park Inc., a group of Los Angeles investors, after which the course became known as Blakeley’s Golden Tee.
In 1974, the Village Green Country Club apartment complex was built around the golf course, which then was named after the development.
The complex was sold in 2005. Today the complex is called Torrey Ridge Apartments. The former golf course has been turned into a park.
More on Chester Rowell school: More former students recently wrote to share their memories of the original Rowell elementary campus, following the answer to a question about Rowell that was published on Jan. 18.
Janice Ballas Davis of Clovis, whose family lived across the street from the school, said her father, Albert Ballas, donated the land for the staff parking lot.
Davis attended Rowell from kindergarten to sixth grade, between 1945 and 1953. “I have memories of the two-story brick building. The younger grades, I remember, had a large sandbox,” she wrote. A pool was built later.
Davis, who became a teacher, remembers her second-grade teacher, Rosemary Accord, as “an excellent piano player and we sang songs a lot.”
Davis played the violin in the school orchestra and remembers dance classes taught by Principal Hollis Hunsaker.
Lorraine Melville of Fresno started at Rowell in 1934 and attended through the sixth grade.
“I remember [principal] Mrs. Borden in her old-fashioned long black dress and her hair in a knot on the top of her head,” she wrote.
Evelyn Webster of Fresno attended Rowell from 1923 to 1928. The “Christmas trees” in front of the school “were small enough that we jumped over them,” she recalled.
“It was a very nice school,” Webster wrote. “They had a lunch kitchen and I got to work in it serving the meals.”
Webster also remembers the school’s namesake: “Dr. Chester Rowell fixed my dad’s nose after a bull from his dairy attacked him.”
By Paula Lloyd