Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Artist’s rendering of the new barn. The restrooms are scheduled for completion this year. (Click arrows for additional photo)New tanks for fire suppression and potable water.

Here's what's happening at the Three Rivers Historical Museum

Public restrooms are planned
Tom Marshall


Being on Sierra Drive the museum staff gets lots of questions about things happening:
1. When do the public restrooms open?
2. When does the “barn” go in that we hear about?
3. What is going on with all the big water tanks?
4. Where do you get the money to do all of these changes, and is the museum a government-supported business?
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With all these questions we thought it best to bring everyone up-to-date. 
1. Last year, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted to provide $250,000 for the construction of public restrooms, which will be built by the County of Tulare on the property of the museum. An agreement was reached between the County and Three Rivers Historical Society to have the restroom building next to the barn, which will follow the completion of the restrooms. 
The designs will match, so the restroom won’t look like a concrete outhouse. Bids go out soon with groundbreaking around June 1, with completion in early September 2019. Yes, it would be nice to have them open for the summer, however, the construction wheels turn slow and we are just happy that we have gotten this far.
2. The “barn” will be the second stage of the barn complex. Our design is to have a two-story barn with a large exhibit area (big enough for wagons) and other artifacts that are currently waiting in storage. There will be serving areas for events like the Hot Dog Festival.
3. The water tanks that have arrived are the first phase of the major construction. We knew that the well, which is 60-plus years old, that has been serving the museum could not handle the flow to various buildings on the property so we decided to utilize the well dug in 1995. We did not know it was there until 2017. 
The new well will provide potable water to the museum’s main building, the Bequette house, barn, and public restrooms. We were counting on the old well to last until the new system was up and running but the day before Thanksgiving 2018 the old well died. We have not had potable water in the museum since last November. 
The new well system consists of two 7,750-gallon tanks for fire suppression (required by the county fire department), one 5,000-gallon tank for potable water with a full chlorine system (required by State of California water regulations) and filter system. The new water system will be completed by mid-February.
4. And, finally, where does the money come from for all these changes? The public restroom building is a grant from the County of Tulare. Part of the funding for the new well system is a grant from the Three Rivers Community Services District, and the remaining projects will be fundraiser financed.
The Three Rivers Historical Society is not supported on a regular basis by any government program and therefore relies and depends on memberships and donations. We have been very fortunate to have the support of individuals and local community groups such as the Three Rivers Woman’s Club and the Lions Club, and the Community Services District.
A lot is always happening at the Three Rivers Historical Museum and Visitor Center, and as we continue with improvements and changes over the next several years, it is important to reiterate that we could not do this without the support of our community and individual donations.
The museum and all its programs are maintained by a wonderful staff of volunteers. We are always looking for more volunteers to help out. 
So, if you are interested in being a part of a very active team, join us Wednesday, March 27, at 1 p.m., for our annual volunteer orientation training.
Whether you are interested in being a volunteer or just want to check out the museum, stop by and say hello!
Tom Marshall is the president of the Three Rivers Historical Society board of directors.