Centrally located within the State of California, Tulare County is situated in a delightful and geographically - diverse region. The County includes an area of 4,863 square miles. Mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada range rise to more than 14,000 feet in its Eastern half. Meanwhile, the extensively cultivated and very fertile valley floor in the Western half, has allowed Tulare County to become the top producer of agricultural commodities in the United States. In addition to substantial packing / shipping operations, light and medium manufacturing plants are increasing in number and are becoming an important factor in the County's total economic picture.
The County has a growing population of 479,112. The Eastern half of the County is comprised primarily of public lands within the Sequoia National Park, National Forest, and the Mineral King, Golden Trout, and Domeland Wilderness areas. Opportunities for all-season outdoor recreation include: hiking, water and snow skiing, fishing, and boating.
Visalia, the County seat, is the gateway to Sequoia National Park and a variety of recreational activities. The city, with a population of 127,081 is within a four hour drive of either San Francisco or Los Angeles, and a 2-1/2 hour drive of California's central coastline. Its family-oriented lifestyle and affordable housing have proven attractive to people from all areas of the state and country.
The County of Tulare is centrally located within the heart of the Central Valley and is also home to the World Ag Expo in Tulare. The geographic region is diverse and agriculturally rich. The extensively cultivated and very fertile valley floor in the Western half, has allowed Tulare County to become a top producer of agricultural commodities in the United States. In addition to substantial packing / shipping operations, light and medium manufacturing plants are increasing in number. The County is becoming an important factor in the Country's total economic picture.
When California became a state, the government divided California into counties. One of the largest of these was called Mariposa County which covered the whole middle of the state. In 1852, Mariposa County it was divided and the southern part was named Tulare County. Later Tulare County was divided again, making Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Inyo counties.
Tulare County has an interesting historical aura which dates back to 1770. The first Americans to visit the valley came after 1800. The first settlement in Tulare County was where the old Indian trail crossed the Kaweah River, about ten miles east of Visalia.
The county is named for Tulare Lake, once the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes. Drained for agricultural development, the site is now in Kings County, which was created in 1893 from the western portion of the formerly larger Tulare County. The name Tulare comes from the tules (too-lees), a kind of plant that grows in wet areas. There were many wet areas in Tulare County before people started cultivating the land. Now Tulare Lake is dry and the bottom is used for farming.