Mammoth Orange heading to new home

FRESNO, Calif.

The old Mammoth Orange will move nearly seven miles from a repair yard at Kings Avenue and Front Street in Chowchilla to the Fossil Discovery Center in Fairmead.

The Mammoth Orange is filled with memories for so many Valley families who visited the burger and juice joint off Highway 99 for decades.

Now the new owners are hoping to restore the most important piece of the restaurant to its former glory.

The Mammoth Orange is now just a shell of its former self, rotting away in a Chowchilla repair yard. But soon this symbolic stand will be on the road to recovery.

"I am so excited to be preserving a piece of history," Ronda Wons of Fossil Discovery Center said.

The San Joaquin Valley Paleontology Foundation recently bought the giant metal sphere from the city. It plans to restore the mammoth orange at the Fossil Discovery Center in Fairmead and make it part of an outdoor park.

Staff members say it's a perfect fit since the center already has a Colombian Mammoth on display, and they're hoping to change the name of the avenue its on to Mammoth Parkway.

"It just makes sense, the Mammoth Orange with the Colombian Mammoth on Mammoth Parkway," Wons said.

But moving the large landmark won't be easy.

Exclusive video shows the last time it was loaded on a trailer and driven away from the spot where it stood in Fairmead from 1954 to 2008.

It was the last of the citrus shaped drive-ins that once lined the California corridor. But the owners couldn't keep it open once a Highway 99 expansion project blocked access to the parking lot.

Jeanne Stiggins' in-laws owned the Orange for years before her husband took it over. The City of Chowchilla bought it from them but never had enough money to do anything with it. Stiggins' says she's grateful the shell is now getting a second chance at a spot just hundreds of feet away from its former home.

"It will be a nice thing to know that the restoration has happened and that the legacy lives on," Stiggins said.

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