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Bill Melton 

Master Craftsman
and Historian

On behalf of the Porterville Historical Museum we extend our heartfelt condolences to the Bill Melton Family.  Bill was a very talented world renowned horse drawn wagon and buggy restoration craftsman.  Also, Bill was an avid Civil War historian; researching and documenting the service of local Civil War Veterans.  He was a very good friend to the museum and helped with many restoration projects including horsedrawn wagons and the recreation of the museum's blacksmith shop.  Bill was one of a kind and he will be greatly missed.  Rest in peace our dear friend Bill.

Through the generosity and efforts of our friends, sponsors and volunteers, the Porterville Historical Museum has seen a flurry of activity in 2023.  Here are several notable examples:

Groundskeeping and Parking Area Improvements

Trees trimmed, bushes shaped, planter soil amended--Hey, we're looking good!  Thanks to the hard work and expertise of Ramirez Custom Concrete we've also made our parking area and vehicles exhibit area friendlier and more convenient for all visitors to the Museum.  Schedule a visit and come check us out.

Miss a Lecture or Want to See It Again?

You will find links to videos of our Museum Lecture Series in the "Lectures & Appraisals" dropdown under the Events menu.  Or, just click the photo of appreciative attendees  to navigate directly to the "Lectures & Appraisals" page.

New Fire Alarm System Installed

Special thanks to Dean Craig and technicians at Porterville Electric Co. (PECO), and to Anthony Castillo and technicians at S.T.O.P. Alarm for their contributions to this project.  The new system includes wall-mounted pull stations, smoke detectors, emergency warning lights, and other mandated components.  

New Computer System

On another modernization note, we also want to thank Dr. Don Stover for bringing our computer system out of the Dark Ages.  He donated two new computers to replace our slow and antiquated ones, and enlisted  a computer technician to configure and get them running smoothly for us.  Thank you, Dr. Don!

Yes, We Have Awesome Volunteers!

Our eager and dedicated volunteers continue their efforts to refresh our exhibits and keep the Museum and grounds clean, orderly and welcoming.  They set-up and take down tables and chairs for special events, help prepare and serve refreshments, stuff envelopes, clean and, yes, take out the trash.  Whatever would we do without them?

Mr. Fix-It To The Rescue

It seems no job is too big or too small for the careful craftsmanship of Rich Stover.  Need a door replaced or kitchen shelf installed?  Call Rich.  Need to fix a leak, run new wires, install a canopy, redesign the annual train show--call Rich.  Guess who made new wooden signs, trimmed back overgrowth, donated a tool box, resurfaced an aging shed with a vintage look (with lumber donated by Witt Hardwoods), and so much more.  Thank you, Rich Stover!

Where Do We Put This?

We actively pursue significant "relics" and artifacts important to the history of Porterville and surrounding communities, and we are grateful for donations of such items.  But, where do we store them?  Not all treasures can be displayed simultaneously due to lack of physical space.  Many thanks to Susan and Mike Uptain for making a new storage area available to us in the little building behind the Brey house--just across the street from the Museum.

Newly Acquired Sign

We are pleased to announce one of our latest acquisitions--a large, bright red, white and green Coca-Cola sign.  It is hanging from the ceiling in our Museum's "Baggage Room" which is located just south of the Buck Shaffer Music Room.  Do you know what business previously had this sign?


Walk of Honor a Success


Community support for our new Walk of Honor has been vigorous.  We love reading the engraved inscriptions--as do visitors to the Museum.  

Here's how it works:  Each brick is pre-inscribed on the top line with the title words "IN HONOR OF" followed by 2 lines of 20 characters each that will be engraved with your special message. All sorts of dedications will be accepted--from a traditional memorial to an endorsement of a specific family or business.  This is a perfect way to support your local Museum, and to leave a lasting impression!

To participate in this exciting project, please click on the "ORDER FORM" button, below, to download and print the order form.  Follow the instructions on the form to carefully print your desired message that will be inscribed on a Walk of Honor brick.  Then, mail the order form together with a check payable to Porterville Historical Museum, at 257 North "D" Street, Porterville, CA 93257.  Please note that your engraving will match what you print precisely.  Therefore, please direct your attention to spelling, punctuation, and spaces between words on each line.  All engraved letters are capitalized.

Bricks are $100 each, and there is no limit to how many bricks each individual, family or business can commission.  We are a non-profit, tax-exempt organization.

Thank you for your continued patronage, and we look forward to your next visit!


Signs of the Time


Recently acquired is the familiar sign to the former Porterville Drive-In Theatre.  The sign is now on display in our courtyard.


Our recently replaced street-side sign is now on display in our courtyard.  This sign required a volunteer to climb a ladder to change the message letter by letter. 

The New Sign is electronic--allowing us to communicate in pictures as well as text.  Come see it for yourself.


Baggage Cart Restored


This baggage cart was used at the Southern Pacific Railroad Station here at the Museum in the early 1900's.  The red diamond-shaped sign is for the Railway Express Agency which handled the luggage and other packages being shipped via the rails.  Note:  There are less than 100 of these carts still in existence today.

Thanks to the Tulare County Historical Society for funding the restoration of this baggage cart. 


Thanks also to Bill Melton whose exceptional restoration skills have preserved this piece of local history for many years to come.

Baggage Room 1914 (2).png

Pictured above is the Baggage Room as it was in 1914.  The front tire and handle of the baggage cart is visible in the lower right corner of the photograph.  If the 1914 photo had been in color, the cart would have looked like it is today (as seen above).

Smith's Market Truck

Smiths Market Truck.jpg

Contributed photo published by The Porterville Recorder

$2,000 Grant from The Bank of the Sierra
Contributed to the Restoration 

The Bank of the Sierra generously granted the Museum $2,000 towards the restoration and installation of the 1918 Smith's Market delivery truck.  Thank you Bank of the Sierra!

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