The Winton Historical Society began in the fall of 2004. Rosalie Heppner and Lorraine Richards had just published their book, “Memories of Winton 1911-1950″ and it was enthusiastically received by the people of Winton. It was then suggested that Winton should have a historical society. The First Board Members were:
President, Rosalie Heppner
Vice President, Avanell Cooper Nelson
Secretary, Helen Dacuyan Villarruz
Treasurer, Lorraine Giesbrecht Richards
Editor, Andrea Dacuyan Gimeno
How Winton Began
Before 1909 the area was dry-farmed in large acre tracks of land. In 1910 H.A. Logue who lived in Atwater wanted to start a town by the cross roads of Santa Fe Drive and Shaffer Road. He had a large structure built and called it the Yam Hotel. He also had a store built on Santa Fe and applied for a Post Office. The original name of the post office was Spanish, Balata, then changed to Yam in honor of the Yam Sweet Potatoes grown in the area.
The Yam store was run by Logue’s son-in-law, Ed Smith.
Crocker-Huffman had a block of land on the west side of Shaffer, 4 miles long and 3 miles wide. Logue wanted to buy that land, but the Co-operative Land and Trust Company of San Francisco beat him to it. They started the Winton Colony and the town of Winton a mile northwest of Yam on the Santa Fe Railroad. They built a big garage, bored a deep well and put up a water tank about 50 feet high for a water system.
H.A. Logue had also wanted the railroad to build a depot at Yam, but the ground was low there and needed a lot of fill-in dirt, so the depot was built in Winton. Logue dismantled the Yam store and moved his store to Winton on Winton Way. That was pretty much the end of Yam as a settlement.
Winton continued to thrive with massive advertisements by the Co-Operative Land and Trust Company and the railroad. The farmland was divided into 20-acre plots and sold to people moving to California to take advantage of the cheap land. They came from all over. The Santa Fe railroad offered free passage to Winton to look the new town (to be) over.
A map of the town of Winton was surveyed and the map was recorded in April 1912. The licensed surveyors were: A.E. Cowell, W.E. Bedesen and G.E. Winton. The town was first named Winfield after the Winn Ranch owned by Crocker-Huffman, but the Santa Fe Railroad had a Winfield on the line in Arizona and wouldn’t stand for another. The large sign had already been made so in order to make the change easier, they dropped the last syllable and added ton and changed the name to Winton. Some people say the town was named after one of the surveyors, G.E. Winton.