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Community Overview

Community Overview

Tulare is a thriving community nestled within the heart of Central California’s San Joaquin Valley. The area offers many modern conveniences to accommodate its growing base of residents and businesses, and also works hard to preserve its strong historical roots.

The city has a unique heritage dating back hundreds of years, when the Native American Yokuts initially occupied the valley. Conservative estimates place the Yokuts’ population around 18,000 in 1770. This number included approximately 60 ethnically and linguistically separate tribes, who made their home around Tulare Lake and the Kaweah River. But, as American settlers began moving further west, the Yokuts were gradually displaced from their land, with only a small number left at the time of Tulare’s creation.

Transportation served as the driving force behind the founding of Tulare. The Southern Pacific Railroad chose to establish its San Joaquin Valley headquarters in the area in 1872 – giving the new settlement its name, Tulare, because of the many “tules” (Spanish for bulrushes) growing in the area’s marshy lowlands and along the shores of its lakes. The railroad depot and related buildings were erected and quickly joined by additional businesses and new residents. Virtually overnight, Tulare became the bustling center of the valley’s railroad activity.

The young Tulare faced its share of difficulties, with three devastating fires consuming the town in its first 14 years. The community overcame these hardships and was officially incorporated as a city in 1888. In 1891, Southern Pacific chose to relocate its valley headquarters to Bakersfield, prompting Tulare residents to turn to a new source of economic income – agriculture. With a need for an ample water supply to support the new industry, residents organized the Tulare Irrigation District in order to construct a canal system between the city and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Agriculture continues to be the area’s leading industry, with more than 250 commercial crops being produced in Tulare County each year. As a result of this booming economic generator, Tulare and its surrounding area is widely regarded as the “Agricultural Center of the World.”

Tulare continues to grow and diversify with each coming year. Approximately 60,000 residents currently call Tulare home, enjoying an excellent quality of life characterized by outstanding schools and a hospital, rich cultural and entertainment outlets, attractive parks, a charming downtown and much more. As the city grows, community leaders continue to invest in its future – all the while maintaining the small-town atmosphere so many have come to cherish.

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