Thursday – June 16, 2016
The Jones Store
Beasore Meadows Campground
As cattle were driven to the rich mountain grasses in eastern Madera County, Tom Jones saw a need to supply the drovers with staples and supplies. Although cattle are now hauled up in truck and trailer to the lush mountain meadows, many other traditions continue, and are carried on by descendents of the old time cattlemen. Beasore Meadow was named for Tom Beasore, a French Indian, who was Tom Jones uncle.
Tom built his first store in 1936, during the time Beasore Road was built. During one harsh winter, a heavy snowfall buckled the store’s roof. The store was replaced in 1954, with a larger building that included a second floor with a corrugated roof. Inside the store, the original barstools and countertops remain, fashioned out of Cedar trees cut down on the property. This store is still standing and continues to serve visitors to the higher backcountry.
Like a link to the past, a Globe manual gas pump that probably dates back to the 1920’s, is believed to be the last still in operation in California. Customers fill the globe with the number of gallons of gasoline they desire, then press a handle that relies on gravity to fill their vehicle with the gas.
Over time, the store hasn’t changed. It is well known for it’s good food and homemade pies. Store sales are still rung up a 1936 cash register. A double-door beer box dates to 1925. Vintage Servel refrigerators, that holds sodas, are 85 years old. Fourth generation families, as well as newly acquainted friends still patronize the store and campgrounds.
Tom Jones’ daughter, Lois Jones-Black and her husband Vern Black operated the store for many years. They lived upstairs above the store during the summer months. Lois passed away in 2015 and Vern, at age 95, is in poor health and unable to operate the store. His daughter, Dee and two sons, John and Jim, now operate the store.
John and Jim learned their culinary skills from their mother and both love to cook. They serve up the largest, most delicious Tri Tip beef sandwiches and hamburgers; both are served on a toasted french roll. Dee learned her pie-making skills from her mother and makes the most delicious pies.
By the end of September, with the usual start of snow, they start shutting down. By early October, the Blacks head back to the family ranch in Coarsegold, California.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.