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Julien History

Julien brothers

In TUSD, many of our schools are named after community members, but with the passage of time their stories can be forgotten. As part of our TUSD History Moment feature, we will be shedding some light on the real people whose names are immortalized in our schools. Julien Elementary School, for example, is actually named after not one, but two community members—Dr. Albert Julien and Dr. Eric Julien who came to Turlock in 1911 and 1915, respectively. Like many immigrants, Albert and Eric’s parents came to America from Sweden in order to better their lot in life. Their sons put themselves through college and medical school while working various grueling jobs such as shoveling coal. They eventually made their way West to Turlock where they established a medical practice.

During the terrible flu epidemic of 1918 in which an estimated 20-50 million people were killed world-wide, Albert and Eric earned reputations as being tirelessly devoted to helping the sick. When the Depression struck and cash was in short supply, the doctors were known for taking payment in everything from chickens to carpets to gas rationing coupons. They were also important pillars of the Swedish community in Turlock and patients would travel from as far away as Kingsburg to be treated. Eric and Albert, along with two Swedish ministers, campaigned successfully to fund and construct Emanuel Hospital. Albert also helped fund the nursing school that ran for many years and loaned Emanuel Hospital money to help keep it solvent during the Great Depression.

In the early 1950’s the Turlock Elementary Board received notice that Lowell and Hawthorn Elementary Schools were not earthquake safe. These schools were eventually abandoned and torn down. Their replacement was built at 1942 E. Canal Drive and was named Julien Elementary School in honor of the great service that Albert and Eric provided to the Turlock community during their many years practicing medicine. Former Turlock High School science teacher and Department Chair, Eric Julien, was named after his great-grandfather and many of the doctors’ descendants still make their home in Turlock. The next time you visit Julien Elementary School, stop by the library and check out the painting of the two Julien brothers that is still hung there today in their honor.

Julen brothers