Thursday, March 17, 2011

Los Banos

Merced County August 16, 1993

While driving through Los Banos on
Pacheco Blvd.
and confused as to how to pronounce the town’s name (the Anglican ‘banis’, ‘ban’oce’, or the Spanish ‘bahn’yos’), the Caddy pulls into a fast food joint and the girl at the counter is asked; “How do you properly pronounce the name of this place? And could you say it nice and slow so’s I can understand?” She says, “Sure, it’s called D-A-A-A-I-I-R-Y…..Q-U-E-E-E-E-E-N”

Spanish ranchers began calling the creek here "El Arroyo de los Banos del Padre Arroyo.", roughly meaning the creek where pools or baths of Padre Arroyo are located. When Americans came it was shortened to Los Banos Creek and post office took the name Los Banos.

The Los Banos landmark is less than a mile east of the Canal Farm Inn. The Milliken Museum with lots of local historical goodies is right by the park. If you’re looking for a sleepy town of 35,000 or so to hang your hat, Los Banos will do just fine, at least till the Tomato Festival riles up the community when it returns this year in early October from a long hiatus.

Plaque inscription: NO. 550 LOS BANOS - Los BaƱos (the baths) del Padre Arroyo, visited as early as 1805 by Spanish explorers, was a favorite place for padres from San Juan Bautista Mission during their travels to the San Joaquin Valley. Its name was changed to Los Banos Creek by later American emigrants. The town of Los Banos was established at its present site in 1889, after the post office of Los Banos was built near the creek in 1874.
Location: Los Banos Park,
803 E Pacheco Blvd
, Los Banos
Google maps: 37.056718,-120.845886

Time to aim the Dagmars on the Caddy’s front bumper up I-5 for the long haul towards Red Bluff and the next set of landmarks.

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