LOCAL HISTORY PROJECT

Tollhouse Series 1
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Office of John Rod Riggs, early day photographer. The B.G. stood for "by God" because Riggs said he was so ugly that only God could have made him. Riggs was said to have had a respiratory condition that forced him to live in cool climates; the Shaver Ranch in summer and near Tollhouse in winter. Despite his physical condition, Riggs married and had a family.

circa: 1883

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Riggs took many of the early pictures of mountain history, being famous for the collages of early pioneers; e.g. "Stockmen", "Shakemakers", "Teamsters", etc. The collage shown is one of himself in a few of his disguises. His sense of humor is evident in his selections, particularly the donkey. He is shown as he looked in the "newspaper man" and "man about town" poses.

circa: 1883

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This picture is part of a collage that shows Riggs' various living areas and the time of habitation. The top left picture shows his first camp at Shaver Ranch, the following two are different dwellings at Shaver Ranch in different time periods. Shaver Ranch was the land owned by the C.B.Shaver family, about one mile above Cressman's on highway 168. His humor again appears in the names given his homes. Note the signs in the bottom picture.

circa: 1922

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More of the Riggs living quarters collage. The left picture is his cabin near Tollhouse, next to Pleasant Vale School, now Sierra Elementary School. The road to Tollhouse, one mile away, is visible in the background as is Tollhouse Peak. Note the humorous writing on the right photo; Rod Riggs actual handwriting in ink on the picture.

circa: 1914

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This is the site of Rod Riggs' Tollhouse house where he spent winters. He was a good friend of the Yancey family and is responsible for most of the early Tollhouse and logging pictures that have survived today. Unfortunately when he applied for a job with the Fresno Morning Republican in later life he was rejected, causing great anger and ending with the destruction of most of his glass plates.

circa: 1883

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Picture taken at the Pleasant Vale school site (now Sierra Elementary) of Tollhouse Road and Tollhouse Peak on a snowy day. The Rod Riggs cabin was to the left of the picture shown. Later the site became the site of a house built in the 1930's by Neva Jostrum and her husband. Neva was a cook at the school and ran a drive-up fast food business out of the house for a short time. The Jostrum house was bought by the school district and then torn down in the 1990's.
circa: 1885

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Two lumber wagon and mule teams are stopped on Tollhouse Road in front of the school and Riggs cabin site, The teams have come down Tollhouse Grade and are headed for Clovis or Sanger. The lumber has been cut by the Pine Ridge mills and has been brought down the Grade in single wagon loads to Tollhouse. Then the double wagon loads were hooked up for the trip to the valley. Team I.D.'s and drivers are unknown.

circa: 1880

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This is a view of the Sierra Elementary-Rod Riggs cabin corner on Tollhouse Road taken in 1996. Note that the curve is nearly the same and the big water oak on the left is older and bigger. The idea is to link up the old scenes with the same places today.

circa: 1996

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The back of the Neva Jostrum house which was located between the site of Rod Riggs' cabin and the junction of Tollhouse and Lodge roads. The house was built in the early 1940's and was torn down by the Sierra Unified School district in 1994 when it bought the property. Neva was a cook at Sierra Elementary for many years. The car is a 1949 or 50 Ford.

circa: 1950

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Tollhouse Road at Sierra Elementary, showing the peak in the background.

circa: 1885

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This project was designed and created by
Bud Olson and Dan Resciniti and Dan Resciniti
©1998-2009