Community Art

Community Art Feature: Michael J. Semas’ Antique Image Collection of Ivanhoe

At last a well, Michael J. Semas Collection.

By Pedro Hernandez, The Ivanhoe Sol

This issue’s Community Art Feature is the collection of Michael J. Semas. Michael is a local historian based in Hanford and collector of antique images that track the history of the San Joaquin Valley. Recently, he shared photos of agricultural development  in the early 1930s in Ivanhoe.

His collection can be found on Facebook under the name “Antique Images from the Colelction of Michael J. Semas.” Michael’s pages says, “This page was set up based upon the many requests I’ve received to post images from my collection.  I have an extensive image collection, mostly postcards, of the Central San Joaquin Valley.”

Removing tree trunks with dynamite, Michael J. Semas Collection.

Photo caption: “A Labor Saving Device. Using dynamite to blast holes to plant orange trees, Ivanhoe, California. Image taken July 1932. My grandfather told me that he used to buy dynamite at the local hardware store in Hanford and used it to dig holes and remove tree trunks. This photo shows the use of explosives in digging planting holes. I circled in red the person who must have lit the fuse and ran for cover.”

At last a well, Michael J. Semas Collection.

Photo Caption: “At Last – A Well.  Ivanhoe Orchard Development Project.  Image taken in June 1932.  I personally farm a small almond ranch and in my experience there is nothing more satisfying than securing a stable access to irrigation water.  It’s obvious in these photos that everyone shown were very happy that water was available underground.”

Fresno Scrapers to the Rescue, Michael J. Semas Collection.

Photo Caption: “Fresno Scrapers to the Rescue, Ivanhoe Property Development.  Image taken in April 1932 by James Long of Ivanhoe, California.  One of the most important inventions ever created by man was the Fresno Scraper, a small, square curved blade of metal that would be lifted/lowered by the operator to smooth out rough lands.  These three images show the Fresno Scraper in action, whereby mules are connected to the scraper and the operator pushes/pulls a lever that lifts/drops the blade to level out lands.  The Fresno Scraper was one of the most important agricultural and civil engineering machines ever made. In 1991, the Fresno Scraper was designated as an International Historic Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.”


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