[Marker Front:]Groundwater Irrigation BeginningsThe San Joaquin Valley's groundwater reservoir was first tapped with a practical pumping plant 4 miles northeast of here on Dec. 12, 1894. William De La Grange of Selma, tired of upstream irrigationists draining Kings River water from the canal he used, drilled a pioneering open bottom well. Using steam power, he pumped 350 gallons of water per minute onto his ranch at the southeast corner of Manning and Bethel Ave's. The plant attracted great attention. Within several years, groundwater irrigation was common and pumps were being powered by electricity. De La Grange, by 1900, opened Selma's first well drilling business.
Symbol of ProgressFleeting and paltry is the estate of man;
The longest life is but a quick drawn breath.
But every generation does what tasks it can
to achieve a sense of worth before its death.
This pioneer village serves as a history's clerk.
What you see here is more than it would seem.
These simple structures symbolize that work which formed the substance of the American Dream.
This school, this church, the business, and the home,
now here epitomize our country's might.
They changed a desert's dust to fertile loam
and speak a silent message through this site;
"As citizens we all should strive to be bold builders of a good community."
Charles B. Garrigus
Poet Laureate of California
Selma Centennial Committee
July 4, 1980