Known as the area “within the magic circle,” the Western town of Woodlake, along with its surrounding valley, is rich in both natural resources and hardworking citizens who are proud of their heritage. Most Tulare County towns sprang up along the Southern Pacific Railroad. Woodlake, designed as a tourist town, drew together farming communities, consisting of people too busy raising fruit and cattle to create a town. Starting with Thomas Henry Davis in 1853, settlers established farms and ranches, which attracted Los Angeles millionaire Gilbert Stevenson when he arrived in 1907. Approved by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on October 3, 1911, the world-class tourist town named Woodlake grew from Stevenson’s imagination into reality. Led by the strong sales personality of its founder, Woodlake grew quickly, yet it remained a Western town, retaining reference points to the early communities that visitors would not find on signs. Visitors to Woodlake today will find Woodlakeans still doing what attracted Gilbert Stevenson: raising cattle and growing citrus within protection of the Sierra Nevada and foothills.
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