Pogue home, built in 1879, served also as
a hotel for many years and is now the headquarters
of the Lemon Cove Woman's Club.
Lemon Cove, nestled in the foothills between Woodlake
and Three Rivers, was first called Lime Kiln due to the lime deposits
discovered in the vicinity in 1859. Lime Kiln Hill, an anchor point for
the present-day Terminus Dam at Lake Kaweah, was the boundary between
the Wutchumna and Potwisha Indians who lived along the Kaweah River.
history of the community of Lemon Cove begins
with James William Center (J.W.C.) Pogue (1839-1907).
The Pogues came to California in 1857 and settled
near Venice Hill (near Ivanhoe) in Tulare County
in 1862. After the flood of 1868, they moved
to Dry Creek (north of Lemon Cove), where Pogue
planted oranges and lemons. Until then, lemons
were considered too tropical to grow in the
San Joaquin Valley.
When the family moved to what is now Lemon Cove, the
citrus trees were transplanted successfully. The Pogue home, built in
1879, served also as a hotel for many years and is now the headquarters
of the Lemon Cove Woman's Club.
Pogue Hotel, 1879-1903
The Pogue Hotel, originally called "The Cottonwoods,"
was constructed by a ranching partnership formed in the 1870s by J.B.
Wallace and C.W. Crocker of San Francisco, and J.W.C. Pogue, resident
superintendent. At the height of the Mineral King silver rush, the Wallace,
Crocker, and Pogue Company was organized for the purpose of buying ranch
land to raise livestock.
Initially, the company grazed sheep; operations were expanded
to cattle and grain farming. The ranch was known as the "Cove,"
the area being well-suited for cultivation of grain."
In 1881, Wallace died and the company was reorganized.
Mrs. Wallace took her one-third, over 3,000 acres in the western part
of the Cove, and the property became known as the Wallace Ranch. J.W.C.
Pogue purchased the Crocker share and became sole owner of the hotel and
J.W.C. Pogue, who served two terms as a Tulare County
supervisor, lived to see his vision of citrus groves in the land he pioneered.
He was solely responsible for the introduction of lemons to Tulare County
and the development of the townsite of Lemon Cove. It was evident that
Pogue had discovered an ideal place for lemons. In 1885, he exhibited
lemons at the Los Angeles Fair and won a blue ribbon.
The Pogue Hotel - as the two-story, 13-room lodging facility
was known after the consolidation - accommodated travelers on the road
to the Mineral King mining district and the Kaweah Colony. It was here
that the Mineral King stage changed from horses to mules for the long
uphill journey. Timber teamsters, tourists, and other travelers found
the hotel a convenient stopover. Meals were served to diners even if they
weren't overnight guests, and the hotel soon became a popular gathering
In 1894, J.W.C. Pogue surveyed 15 acres of the family
ranch, dividing the parcel into 48 town lots. He named the town Lemon
Cove, though later the post office changed the spelling to "Lemoncove"
to avoid confusion with Lemon Grove. The Pogue Hotel and Store (located
on a lot north of the hotel and eventually contained the community's post
office) evolved as the town center and, in the early part of the century,
the town's population grew to 500.
Although there was a hotel, store, post office, blacksmith
shop, and more, there were no saloons. J.W.C. Pogue, who never smoked
or drank, outlawed them within the town limits.
Montgomery-Pogue House, 1904-1936
In 1904, Nora Alice Pogue (1884-1984), the youngest of
J.W.C. and Melvina Blair Pogue's nine children, was deeded the Pogue Hotel,
which had been her birthplace. In that same year, she married Dr. Robert
Bruce Montgomery (1880-1966), Lemon Cove's first resident physician and
justice of the peace. The Montgomerys remodeled the hotel and changed
it into a single-family residence. After the hotel was converted to a
residence, a small business block was developed in the vicinity.
James William Center Pogue returned to live with his daughter
and her husband during the last years of his life. In 1907, he died there
at the age of 68.
Lemon Cove Woman's Clubhouse, 1936-present
In the 1930s, there was a consciousness on the part of
local residents as to the historical importance and community function
of the former hotel and current home. In 1936, Nora Pogue Montgomery,
who had been a founding member of the Lemon Cove Community Club in 1924,
deeded conditional use of the house and the one-quarter acre of land on
which it is situated to the club. This conveyance coincided with the official
charter of the community club as the Lemon Cove Woman's Club. The deed
stipulated that the property would revert back to Pogue heirs in the event
that the building was no longer used by the Lemon Cove Woman's Club.
Today, the club still meets in this former hotel and home,
which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
The historic setting of the Pogue Hotel has changed very
little since its construction in 1879. The original decision as to building
placement was influenced by the location of a nearby wagon road that connected
Visalia and Mineral King. In later years, the old county road was improved
and realigned and the historic building is now on the east side of and
adjacent to State Highway 198.
Lemon Cove has remained rural and is surrounded by cattle
ranches and citrus groves. The small community has a post office, fire
station, elementary school, two churches, small market, mini-mart, two
24-hour gas stations, a gift shop/delicatessen, campground, miniature
golf course, a storybook bed and breakfast inn, and antique shops.