are good you're going to be on or crossing State Route 99
at some point during a road trip in the California Countryside.
Highway 99 was built right around when cars became king -
a road connecting Mexico and Canada and uniting California,
Oregon, and Washington with them on an endless ribbon of highway.
In California, it formed a neat crease along the state's magnificent
Central Valley. A number of communities grew around 99, including
the city of Tulare.
But the story of Tulare
started well before that. Founded in 1892 by the Southern
Pacific Railroad to serve as the railroad's San Joaquin
Valley headquarters, Tulare has since grown into a progressive
city with a strong economic base and a slogan that declares
it to be the "center of agriculture in the world."
is located in California's agricultural heartland. On its
western edge, the county's geography is flat and agricultural.
About a third of the county is covered by the Sierra Nevada
mountain range. Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National
Park, Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Monument
all touch the county. The giant sequoias are found only on
the western slopes of the Sierra, and some of the most impressive
stands are within Tulare County.
is the nation's No. 2 agricultural county; gross farm revenue
in 2002 was $3.2 billion. The county's dairy industry is also
the largest in the nation, and indeed the world. Its half
a million milking cows (with another 400,000 or so in reserve)
accounted for $1.1 billion, making milk the first billion-dollar
commodity for any one county. Other top agricultural products
include citrus, cattle, grapes, alfalfa, cotton, feed corn,
stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines), ornamental trees
will find Tulare
is a friendly, inviting destination with a strong sense of
community, culture and history. Downtown Tulare has a postcard-like
setting graced by red brick walkways, antique-style benches
and streetlights and beautiful, stately trees.
Filled with attractive and historic buildings, downtown is
also the central location for the city's landmark mural and
monument program. Spearheaded by Tulare Cultural Arts Foundation,
the program has turned several blank walls into vivid and
educational scenes that tell the Tulare story.