Eastern Fresno County Historical Society Museum
ADA Accessibility Notes
The Museum is ADA accessible.
The Eastern Fresno County Historical Society is working to bring you a glimpse of what Auberry, Big Creek, Burrough Valley, Dinkey Creek, Dry Creek, Huntington, Shaver Lake, Tollhouse and Wishon was all about during the pioneer days. At the Tollhouse Museum, located on the Sierra High School campus, you will see artifacts, pictures, maps, books, machinery, clothing and much more about this classic enclave of the southern Sierra Nevada.
Built in 1922, Sierra High School with its pioneer roots and unique mountain setting is an apt cite for a foothill museum. Today, this high school is the location of the Eastern Fresno County Historical Museum. If we are to ever know how the Sierra Nevada shaped the people and people shaped the Sierra Nevada it would be explained here.
The General Store was carefully pieced together from old photos and the post office inside the store, as was the custom of the day, was brought in from Watts Valley. Meticulously built, Mitch Osborn’s gas station and signage is based on a Centerville model, the oldest township in California. Bud Olsen’s 7th grade students constructed the cedar bark house, and Jeff Young reconstructed a section of flume that floated copious amounts rough hewn logs from Pine Ridge to the San Joaquin valley. Rumor has it that intrepid folk would ride down the flume like a water slide.
The one room school house was built in the 1930s for the families of Wish-i-ah employees, a tuberculosis sanitarium outside New Auberry. In 1939 it was moved to Auberry Elementary School in old Auberryby Work Program of America and used for music and wood shop. Fifty years later the school was moved for the last time and today is the focal point of the Museum. New siding belies the school's history, but once inside the creaking floor boards and period furniture begin to tell their stories. First person accounts and faded photos chronicle the once extensive logging and cattle operations that shaped the early settlements and the railroad and river altering hydro-electric industry that came later.
You will notice everything was made from wood in the those days including the Museum's caboose from the San Joaquin & Eastern Railroad line, also known as slow, jerky, and expensive. The Sierra High School campus was also a boarding school for the far-flung mountain students and the original dormitory has been restored.
Under the deep shade of the live oaks and native pines, pieces of history have come together through the efforts of dedicated local men and women, many whose faces are found in the enlarged sepia prints or are namesakes of a mountain road or town. Scrupulous fact checker, Bud Olsen, the museum president, is a character in his own right and the Museum website is informative and humorous.
Pet Friendly Notes
Service animals only indoors
Open Saturdays 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Free, donations only.