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In ‘raisin capital,’ scrap thieves are stealing historical markers

Monday, September 26, 2011

imageIf you’ve driven Highway 99 much through the heart of the Central Valley you might appreciate Selma (a few miles south of Fresno) as the “Raisin Capital of the World.” Or, for some of us, it’s a must-stop for Sal’s, the generations-old Mexican restaurant. Now, it’s become infamous for something else: With metal prices booming, thieves have stolen many of the town’s cherished bronze historical markers, including one that was attached to the building above, the LA Times says:

The thefts began in mid-July with the plaque on the town's historical mural. Painted on the side of Rose and Scott Robertson's downtown building, the work includes scenes of Chinese laborers building the Southern Pacific Railroad, a farmer plowing a field, and Selma Michelsen, the railroad employee's wife who is the town's namesake. She is framed by leafy vines, grapes and raisins.


There are a few markers left. In Brentlinger Park, east of downtown, a plaque commemorates the spot where the first high school night baseball game was played in October 1929. There's still a plaque for pioneer Frank Dusy, a mountain explorer and the first to raise sheep in Selma. Residents are working on a marker for the old Libby, McNeill & Libby plant, which from 1911 to 1971 was the largest fruit cannery in the world.

But, mostly, there are discolored, empty squares where plaques used to be on Selma's buildings.

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