Reedley, California, a city (population of 5,683 in 1950; 25,909 in 2007) situated in Fresno County, approximately midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the center of the rich San Joaquin Valley. The combined Mennonite membership within the Reedley shopping area in the late 1950s was approximately 2,000. At that time the community had Mennonite Brethren, General Conference Mennonites, Evangelical Mennonite Brethren, and a few Krimmer Mennonite Brethren who attended church near Dinuba. Mennonites settled all around Reedley, with a lesser concentration across the river to the west. In describing the Mennonites in the Reedley area in the late 1950s, the following observations were noted: of the General Conference Mennonite families, 134 lived in the country and 219 in the city; of the Mennonite Brethren families one third operated farms and businesses, while two thirds were wage earners or retired.
The Mennonite Brethren congregation was organized with 11 charter members on 12 June 1905. The present church, dedicated on 4 May 1952, seats 2,200. The membership in 1957 was 1,436. The General Conference Mennonite church was organized on 10 June 1906, with 25 charter members. The membership in 1957 was 593; this represents a slight decline due to the recent organization of the General Conference Mennonite church in Fresno. The Evangelical Mennonite Brethren church, with 36 members, was dedicated 26 May 1952.
Important Mennonite institutions in Reedley in the 1950s included the Mennonite Brethren Home for the Aged with 52 guests and the Immanuel Bible Academy with an enrollment of 220. Kings View Homes, the West Coast Mennonite Central Committee psychiatric hospital, was located near Reedley.
Reedley is a rich fruit-growing center. Its soil and water conditions grow citrus fruits, plums, peaches, grapes, tomatoes, celery, and nuts, to name only a few products. At the time this article was written, up to 4,400 carloads of fruits and vegetables had been shipped in a year from its group of packing houses. Reedley was called the "world's fruit basket." In the late 1950s it served a trading area of approximately 20,000.
Ewy, Arnold C. "Grape and Raisin Industry." Mennonite Life V (October 1950): 4.
Cite This Article
Jost, Arthur. "Reedley (California, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 9 Feb 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Reedley_(California,_USA)&oldid=67522.
Jost, Arthur. (1959). Reedley (California, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 9 February 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Reedley_(California,_USA)&oldid=67522.
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