Snowfall rare but possible in Patterson
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jan 02, 2014 | 2125 views | 0 0 comments | 169 169 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This No. 27 motor car, called a McKeen, was used to haul Patterson students to high school in Newman over 100 years ago in the early days of this community. Records show it first operated in the Sacramento area, but it is pictured here in front of a depot in Crows Landing. The 55-foot model could haul up to 64 passengers, or less if mail also was transported. No. 27 was lengthened to 70 feet in 1917 and could hold up to 105 passengers.
This No. 27 motor car, called a McKeen, was used to haul Patterson students to high school in Newman over 100 years ago in the early days of this community. Records show it first operated in the Sacramento area, but it is pictured here in front of a depot in Crows Landing. The 55-foot model could haul up to 64 passengers, or less if mail also was transported. No. 27 was lengthened to 70 feet in 1917 and could hold up to 105 passengers.
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It doesn’t snow very often in Patterson. In fact, our new residents undoubtedly haven’t seen the white stuff on the ground here.

That last time the flakes came down was 25 years ago – Dec. 27, 1988, to be exact. Starting at about 8 a.m., they continued to fall off and on for about two hours, leaving no more than a quarter of an inch on the ground. It had melted off by noon.

Nevertheless, with young people out of school, snowballs were flying that morning. After all, the previous snow recording here was 12 years earlier in 1976.

Old-timers may remember the rather heavy snowfall in Patterson in January 1962. That was the first recording of snow in over 30 years.

But yes, it does snow here on occasion. Our local museum has numerous photos of several inches on the ground in Patterson’s early days.

SO, WHAT’S A MCKEEN?

It’s been interesting to read in 100-year-old Patterson Irrigators about the founding of Patterson High School.

The formation of a tax district to support a high school, the vote on school bonds for a new building, and actual construction of that facility in 1914 and early ’15 are all detailed on the newspaper’s front pages.

Classes for high school students opened here in the fall of 1913, utilizing Patterson Elementary School classrooms. Patterson Elementary later became Las Palmas Elementary School with the construction of the Northmead School.

So where did local high school students obtain a secondary education prior to the fall of 1913? At Orestimba High in Newman, the newspaper points out. And because the roadway to Newman, later State Highway 33, was no more than a poorly-maintained dirt path, local teenagers traveled back and forth by motor car that ran on the Southern Pacific railroad tracks.

And just what was a motor car?

Former Pattersonite Gene Chapuis (PHS class of ’63) now resides in Missouri. As a local history buff, particularly pertaining to railroad history, Gene recently forwarded a photo of a motor car that very likely served the West Side.

It was produced by the McKeen Motor Company in Omaha in 1909, and thus was called a McKeen. Some 55 feet in length and having porthole windows, it was driven by a 200-hp gas-powered engine. If the caption on the photo is correct, this very motor car (No. 27) was used to transport the few Patterson high school students to and from class in Newman until a high school opened here in 1913.

Chapuis has discovered that No. 27 was constructed in 1909 in Omaha, and was used in the Sacramento area for a couple of years around 1911. No mention is made of this area, but the caption indicates the photo of No. 27 was taken at the Crows Landing Depot.

Records show that No. 27 ran until 1936 when it was scrapped — but not in this area.

NO ANNUAL REPORT – SOB!

For many years this first of the year issue included the annual report of the Knights of the Square Table, affectionately (I hope) called KOST.

But sadly, not this year. KOST, founded in 1984 as a morning coffee drinking, joke swapping, government watching group, closed its books Dec. 31, 2012. Its regular coffee slurppers had decreased to two. As the dice cups were used to determine who paid for the brew, the game was called.

Many will remember that KOSTees kept track of their payouts. Since 1984 they contributed over $46,000 toward the community’s financial health. But a Patterson tradition remorsefully called it quits.

A GENEROUS COMMUNITY

Patterson has long been recognized as being a very generous community.

The year 2013 will be remembered for the opening of the HOST facility, which provides living quarters for the homeless. It continues to be a labor of love for those many volunteers who put the project together and continue to operate HOST.

I could go on and on, mentioning the noon meals provided in the downtown park for the hungry and the West Side Food Pantry, which feeds numerous local families – plus other projects.

But my purpose here is to call attention to an uncomfortable subject – the dumpster divers who rummage through our garbage totes the night before our weekly pickup.

Sometimes they make a mess – and sometimes they don’t. But most of us know that in the night, they’ve paid a visit, looking for bottles and cans and who knows what else.

They are often spotted in daylight – pushing their carts or riding their bikes to the downtown recycling facilities. We don’t much appreciate them rummaging through our throw-a-ways, yet recognize that this plays a major part in their survival.

And no … I don’t have a ready solution.

ANOTHER LOSS

Still another loss to the community is Marilynne Allen, who died early last week. Her husband Allister, a Patterson native, preceded her in death last spring.

Both were long active in the community and leave behind many friends.

A POSSIBLE INVESTMENT

An old (make that “former”) college roommate of mine is big at investing.

He points to the possible merger in 2014 of Polygram Records, Warner Brothers and Zest Crackers. They would form Poly Warner Cracker.

Really.

OLD E-MAILS

As this is written in one year, and you are reading it (hopefully you are) in the next, I must point out that the following philosophical e-mails were left over from 2013.

- Forbidden fruits create many jams. (Clever.)

- Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on the front door forever. (How true.)

Who knows what the New Year may bring electronically. I hold my breath.

FOR THE SPORTS FAN

Patterson’s astute basketball fans know that Utah Valley recently beat Haskell Indian Nations 103-64.

Still picking on the Native Americans.

AND FINALLY …

Someone recently asked me:

“If all is not lost, then where is it?”

Now how the heck should I know!

Now remember … only 358 shopping days until Christmas. Enjoy them.

Ron Swift is the editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at ronkay@gvni.com.

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