Tours tell tales of mystery, intrigue, spirits and one family’s sorrows.The historic Zalud House Museum in Porterville stars as the latest addition by the Tulare County Treasures Project team to its website that celebrates the unique history and attractions of Tulare County’s host of conserved places – www.tularecountytreasures.org.
The all-volunteer team has created the website to bring together in one convenient internet location the stories of places throughout the county that have been preserved for public enjoyment. In many cases, these treasure tales are accompanied by videos that bring to life these special places as the people who played leading roles in conserving them tell their stories.
The Zalud House and all its contents were bequeathed to the city of Porterville by Pearle Zalud, the last remaining member of an ill-fated historic family that settled in the city more than 100 years ago. The elegant home at the corner of Hockett and Morton Streets has a fascinating past that involves tales of gambling, scandal, murder, bootlegging and visitations from the spirits of those long dead.
When Pearle died in 1970 she also willed 15 acres of property and several thousand dollars to Porterville for a park to be named for her beloved brother. It is now the Edward Zalud Park at El Granito and Grand Streets. After several years of repair work, the Zalud House Museum was opened to the public on May 2, 1977.
The two-story brick structure is built in Second Empire style, with a distinctive mansard roof. It contains a collection of the family’s keepsakes from world travel, works of art, closets full of vintage clothing and interesting furnishings. The kitchen features two sets of cookstoves because the home’s builder, John Zalud, and his wife, Mary Jane, both loved to cook.
Posting of the Zalud House story and pictures brings to 30 the number of treasures that have been featured on the TCT site since the project began about three and one half years ago. Short, award-winning video interviews with visionary people who worked to protect these diverse sites have been produced on 10 of the treasures and supplemental articles of other features have been added to five.
“This is a work in progress,” said Project Chair Laurie Schwaller, of Three Rivers. “We’re nearing the halfway point of completing webpages for our listed Treasures. We have found that many of these special places are unknown and underappreciated by the people who live here. It is our goal to increase the awareness of locals and tourists alike about all there is to do in our beautiful back yard.”
Treasures range from scenic attractions to historical buildings, farm property and open space preserves, as well as local, state and national parks. The website’s list of treasures to visit is presented in many forms – alphabetically, by geographic location, in a chronological timeline and by activity – hiking, biking, birding, camping, water sports, etc.
A key feature of the site are interactive maps that display treasures both county-wide and in each quadrant of the county, making it easier for users to plan day trips that will take them to more than one location in an outing.
The team can be contacted through the website: www.tularecountytreasures.org or on the TCT Facebook page.