November 27, 1996 |
This little San Joaquin Valley town, like so much of what might be called civilized California, originated within the imagination of a real estate speculator. Nearly a century ago, one E.J. Whitley of Los Angeles, a subdivider of Hollywood and Van Nuys, stepped off a train, observed a rough landscape of long grasses and wild pigs, and declared that here he would build his next community. He backed his vision with the purchase of 3,200 acres, and started plotting streets. Soon a problem emerged.