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-ee-ə) is a city situated in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley of California, approximately 230 miles (370 km) southeast of San Francisco, 190 miles (310 km) north of Los Angeles, 36 miles (58 km) west of Sequoia National Park and 43 miles (69 km) south of Fresno. Visalia is the 5th largest city in the San Joaquin Valley after Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto; the 44th most populous in California; and 198th in the United States.
In 1852, some pioneers settled in the area, then called Four Creeks.
Camp Babbitt was built in 1862 to stop overt Southern support as well as maintain law and order in the community.
During these Civil War years, Visalia was incorporated, which gave the town new rights.
The area got its name from the many watershed creeks and rivers flowing from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
All the water resulted in a widespread swampy area with a magnificent oak forest.
The Friant-Kern Canal runs just east of the city along the western edge of the Sierra Nevada Foothills.
Throughout the town center are many historic brick structures, including the Bank of Italy (currently Bank of the Sierra) and the Art Deco/Beaux-Arts Visalia Town Center Post Office, both of which are registered with the National Register of Historic Places.
Early growth in Visalia can be attributed in part to the gold rush along the Kern River.
The gold fever brought many transient miners through Visalia along the way and when the lure of gold failed to materialize, many returned to Visalia to live their lives and raise families.
In addition to many other historic buildings and Victorian houses, Visalia is also home to a distinctive Fox Theatre, which was restored by a community group known as "Friends of the Fox" and currently serves as a live venue for music and stage performances.
Located at the far reaches of the Sierra Nevada roughly 58 miles east of the city, it reaches a height of 14,505 ft (4,421 m).
In 1859 Visalia was added to John Butterfield's Overland Stage route from St. A plaque commemorating the location can be found at 116 East Main Street.