The Cressy post office opened in 1882, closed in 1883, re-opened in 1909, and changed its name to Cressey in 1912. The town was named by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway for Calvin J. Cressey, local landowner. Cressey has one Postal Office, located on Cressey Way. The Old Post Office was located behind the Cressey General Store, on Third St. Cressey has one active General Store, located on the corner of Santa Fe Dr. and Third St. In the past, the Cressey Store had two Gasoline Pumps; then was reduced to one. Then after, all were taken out of service and removed. Cressey has one County-Owned Park, located on Cressey Way, just west of the Ward Canal, but it's said to be maintained by a few citizens and the Cal-Fire Firefighter Volunteers. Cressey was also said to have one church (but later turned into a private home) on the corner of Crocker Ave and Third St. It was also said that Cressey had a Hotel near the RailRoad (Santa Fe) but has not been confirmed. Cressey had an Old "one-lane" iron suspension bridge (similar to the Historic Shaffer Bridge), that was off of Meadow Dr, that went over the Merced River. That bridge was a "cut-off" or an alternate way to Ballico, CA; that went onto Alves Rd. The bridge was later demolished after multiple injuries sustained by kids jumping off into the water. Cressey is patrolled by the Merced County Sheriffs Office. Cressey has one Elementary School (Ballico-Cressey School District, K-2).
Ballico : The name is a portmanteau of Ballantine Company, owner of the ranch on which the town was built.
Judi Alvarado is 4th generation Merced County and has been an educator in our community for 22 years. She is, in fact, part of a long line of educators, including her grandmother Minnie (Gamble) Campini and great-aunt Mary (Gamble) Werly, who were the first teachers at Cressey Elementary. You may see them pictured in some of the old black and white photos.
Her great-grandfather, Herman Jueneman (Judi’s paternal side) was also influential in the school’s history. He was the one who petitioned Merced County in 1910 to build Cressey Grammer School.
The Gamble Family (maternal side) moved to the Cressey area from Dry Town in Amador County to build a better life. Judi’s great grandmother had been a teacher, going herself to the Normal School for teachers. California State Normal Schools were one of the first systems to educate and train teachers.
One story Judi shared about Mrs. Campini was about how much she loved teaching and wanted to be sure every child had the best education. In the early days of Cressey Elementary, there was a student who had trouble walking. The child had been through a difficult birth, and had a high fever, and we aren’t quite sure why she couldn’t walk well. Every day Mrs. Campini picked her up to walk up and down the big steps of the schoolhouse. Both sisters, Minnie and Mary, embodied our district belief that children come first.
Growing up, Judi remembers Cressey fondly - the little house by the Cressey store that served as the library, run by the librarian Anna Fessler. The section houses across Santa Fe, and learning what tortillas were when she was 6 years old. Because the primary grades were out of school earlier than the upper grades, Judi sometimes had to sit in her older cousin’s History class in the afternoons. Sometimes, she walked to the section houses with a friend and this was when his mother made tortillas for them.
Judi has worked as a Speech therapist for MCOE, serving Atwater, Merced, El Nido, Dos Palos, Livingston, and many surrounding communities. She was with Ballico Cressey School District for 8 years, where she helped create an outdoor class in a garden! Judi remembers how working in the Ballico School garden helped many of our Speech students find joy and engagement in an otherwise challenging subject. One of her special memories there was of a young man who was very adamant about taking home swiss chard. He had a particularly problematic day, and Judi wondered if he would even like the chard. She worked with him on his goals and they harvested the swiss chard. After school, his mother called and asked how to cook it. The young student loved it - and does to this day. He also has grown up to be happy and successful in his life.
Recently, Judi had the opportunity to work as a substitute teacher for BCSD. She said one of the best things about working here has been the communication. Subbing during the beginning of the pandemic was rough, but our superintendent, Bliss Propes, went into every class and spoke to the students and staff about health and safety, assuring the students that the school would always do their best for them.