During the early history of the San Joaquin Valley, most of the land was covered by a large fresh water lake, said to have been the largest in the western United States. Supplied with waters brought from the Sierra Nevada mountains via the Kings, Kaweah and Tule Rivers, this body of water was named Tulare Lake for the tules, or bullrushes, which grew thickly around it. An 1850 account told of "bands of elk, deer and antelope in such numbers that they actually darkened the plains for miles and looked in the distance like great herds of cattle." In his History of Tulare County and Kings County, published in 1926, J. Larry Smith stated that the area surrounding the lake "abounded in game and was full of edible fish." There is evidence that its shores were a favorite habitation for Indian tribes and a stopping place for wild animals that made their seasonal migrations across the valley from the
Sierras to the sea.
The tules and other grasses that grew so thickly around the lake made it an ideal habitat
for ducks, geese, plover, snipe and curlew which the sportsmen were able to bag by the hundreds and thousands.
As Henry David Thoreau once said, "The world is but a canvas to the imagination."
Quay Valley is an opportunity to bring nature back to this once thriving area and design
a community that will work in partnership with nature.