My Portuguese heritage is centered in Tulare, but times have changed. The dairies and orange groves have mostly been paved-over to build expansive shopping malls and light industrial warehouses. Since my time in Tulare, the population has grown from about 7,000 immigrant farmers, to about 50,000 urban professionals. Tulare is largely a place where commuters to larger cities like Visalia and Fresno choose to live. Tulare still has an Americana feel. It is home to extremely large Portuguese, Armenian, Mexican, Italian and Basque communities.
The main structural features of Tulare comes from the resident's spiritual life. Schools, community centers and parks are named for the many Catholic missions which grew-up in the area. Churches with large congregations are located in every neighborhood of this city.
The streets of Tulare are similar to how they were laid-out in the 50s and 60s. Traffic is much more concentrated, and much of the farmland is now residential and shopping property. The valley around Tulare is still intact with large specialty family farms bordering the city on all sides. On clear days, the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains can be seen from every corner of the city.
Because immigrant culture is the thread which holds the Tulare community together, there are abundant opportunities to shop and dine in unique venues. Tulare is home to a vast undocumented immigrant population, but there are innumerable established businesses to shop. The neighborhoods in Tulare are close-knit, so crime statistics are far below surroundings areas like Fresno, and the outskirts of Los Angeles. Tulare is fun, cozy, and full of working class people who enjoy a slower type of California living.