Originally “Wild Cat Station”, later renamed to Raymond, was the end of a railway line for passengers traveling to Yosemite. At one time meat supplies ran out and wild cat carcasses could be seen hanging outside the dining room’s kitchen so it became known as “Wild Cat Station”. The first passenger train arrived in Raymond on March 1886. Teddy Roosevelt slept in a hotel here on his famous trip to Yosemite National Park. The San Joaquin Valley Railroad Company ran 21 miles of track between Berenda and Raymond. At this location a turntable allowed the locomotive to be turned around for the return trip. Tourists would ride the train to Raymond then continue to Yosemite by stagecoach. In 1926 Highway 140 to Yosemite was completed. The Raymond train stopped in 1946 when the line from Daulton to Raymond was abandoned. Slowly the town contracted in size with the high school, hotel and other businesses closing.
One of the only surviving businesses in Raymond is the Hill’s Pride Inn, a charming, tongue and groove wood bar built in 1915. Stone cutters and quarry workers were the main clients when it opened. The Raymond/Knowles quarry, right down the road from the inn employed thousands of granite workers over the years. Today many clubs use it as a gathering spot and bike runs use the inn as a popular stop to rest and check in.
Today the population of Raymond is less than 1,000 people, mainly comprised of ranchers and commuters to Madera and Fresno. Other than ranching the sole industry is the Knowles Granite Quarry, a division of Cold Spring Granite Company. Luke David homesteaded a piece of apparently worthless land, mostly rock, for the spring. Later Frank Dusy, well-known contractor in Fresno County history, saw the possibilities of granite cutting that he later sold to F. E. Knowles, for whom the granite quarry location is named. Raymond “Sierra White” granite is famous throughout West. It was used in the construction of the San Francisco post office and many other premiere buildings in various parts of the West.
Raymond Area Schools
The State Center Community College District operates the Oakhurst Center which offers a wide variety of courses including traditional degree and vocational programs.
Merced College is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. The leadership and educational services provided by the college reflect and enhance the cultural, economic, and social life of the community and respond to its changing needs and interests.
The University of California, Merced, is the tenth and newest of the University of California campuses. It is located in the San Joaquin Valley in unincorporated Merced County, California, near Merced.
The central valley city of Fresno is the home to California State University, Fresno. Fresno State, as the locals call it, is known for its strong academic programs and for its ardent sports fans. Fresno state is the home of the Bulldogs.
Raymond Area Map