My grandfather, Rudolf Laemmlen came from Grossgartach, Germany in 1929. He and my grandma Elsa settled on a farm in Reedley, California, where they raised their four sons, Arthur (b. 1930), Henry (b. 1932), Wilfred (b. 1935) and Franklin (b. 1937). Rudolf and Elsa kept in touch with their family and friends in Grossgartach through the years.
In 1955-56, Helmut Lämmlen, Rudolf’s oldest brother’s son, came to work on the farm and see how things were done in America. When I last visited Helmut in Germany in 2009, he let me photograph his scrapbook of my grandfather’s farm and the work he and my uncles did there.
Here is a look back in time–a look back to the beginnings of the farm that was my playground as a child born here in 1959. This farm is still in our family, still producing and flourishing. I hope you enjoy this slice of history!Helmut’s passage from Germany 1955
Wooden trays for drying peaches
Helmut hauling fruit
The portable packing shed. They are packing Kelsey plums.
Chicken coop. Grandma sold eggs.
The Ditch. This is where I learned how to swim.
Spraying the peach trees in the winter.
Vineyards before pruning.
Inside the barn.
Picking oranges: Frank, friend, Will, Helmut
Horse-pulled vineyard wagon, pruning.The well and the pump.
Leveling the land for irrigation.
Corn plantersA new plow
Henry Laemmlen, Reedley High Graduate
The chicken coops and the Mercury.
Grandpa’s horses, Sailor and Stargo.
Wilfred Laemmlen, oranges
Grandma’s back yard
Sailor and Stargo’s stall behind the house.
The garage and Buster, the fox terrier.
Spray rig with platform for sprayer.
The Clifton farm next door, purchased by Art Laemmlen. (Where I grew up.)
Helmut Lämmlen with orange tree.
Franklin leveling the land with the scraper (it was orange).The home I grew up in, next door to Grandpa’s. 42129 Road 52, Reedley
Reed Avenue north of town. (Before Reedley College?)School buildings
Reedley High School
Reedley High School
Reedley High School Stadium
Post hole digger/ auger.
My childhood home next door to grandpa’s.
Spraying peaches in the winter time.
Grandpa invented and built this pruning platform.
Philippino workers. They worked for our family for many years.
Fruit packing shed in town.
Pruning from the vineyard wagon.
Shredding the vineyard.
Franklin, Helmut, Elsa and Rudolf Laemmlen
Arthur Laemmlen 1944 age 14.
Franklin, Henry, Elsa, Rudolf, Arthur and Wilfred Laemmlen February 1950
Franklin, Wilfred, Elsa and Rudolf 1955
Helmut on tractor
Rudolf with disc in the wine grapes.
Post card of picking cotton.
Emptying the cotton picker to go to the cotton gin.