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Named for the abundant ash trees lining the San Joaquin River, Fresno was founded in 1872 as a railway station of the Central Pacific Railroad before it was incorporated in 1885. The city has since become an economic hub of Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley, with much of the surrounding areas in the Metropolitan Fresno region predominantly tied to large-scale agricultural production.
The population of Fresno grew from 134,000 in 1960 to 428,000 in 2000. With a census-estimated 2019 population of 531,576, Fresno is the fifth-most populous city in California, the most populous inland city in California, and the 34th-most populous city in the nation.
Fresno is near the geographical center of California. It lies approximately 220 miles (350 km) north of Los Angeles, 170 miles (270 km) south of the state capital, Sacramento, and 185 miles (300 km) southeast of San Francisco. Yosemite National Park is about 60 miles (100 km) to the north, Kings Canyon National Park is 60 miles (100 km) to the east, and Sequoia National Park is 75 miles (120 km) to the southeast.
The original inhabitants of the San Joaquin Valley region were the Yokuts people and Miwok people, who engaged in trading with other Californian tribes of Native Americans including coastal peoples such as the Chumash of the Central California coast, with whom they are thought to have traded plant and animal products.
The first European to enter the San Joaquin Valley was Pedro Fages in 1772. The county of Fresno was formed in 1856 after the California Gold Rush. It was named for the abundant ash trees (Spanish: fresno) lining the San Joaquin River.
Millerton, then on the banks of the free-flowing San Joaquin River and close to Fort Miller, became the county seat after becoming a focal point for settlers. Other early county settlements included Firebaugh's Ferry, Scottsburg and Elkhorn Springs.
The San Joaquin River flooded on December 24, 1867, inundating Millerton. Some residents rebuilt, others moved. Flooding also destroyed the town of Scottsburg on the nearby Kings River that winter. Rebuilt on higher ground, Scottsburg was renamed Centerville.
In 1867, Anthony "McQueen" Easterby purchased land bounded by the present Chestnut, Belmont, Clovis and California avenues, that today is called the Sunnyside district. Unable to grow wheat for lack of water, he hired sheep man Moses J. Church in 1871 to create an irrigation system. Building new canals and purchasing existing ditches, Church then formed the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Company, a predecessor of the Fresno Irrigation District.
In 1872, the Central Pacific Railroad established a station near Easterby'sby now a hugely productive wheat farmfor its new Southern Pacific line. Soon there was a store around the station and the store grew into the town of Fresno Station, later called Fresno. Many Millerton residents, drawn by the convenience of the railroad and worried about flooding, moved to the new community. Fresno became an incorporated city in 1885. By 1931 the Fresno Traction Company operated 47 streetcars over 49 miles of track.
In 1865, William Helm brought his sheep to Fresno county, which was then a vast space of open land. By 1877, Helm made Fresno his home with a five-acre tract of land at the corner of Fresno and R streets. Helm was the largest individual sheep grower in Fresno County. In carrying his wool to market at Stockton, he used three wagons, each drawn by ten mules, and spent twelve days in making the round trip.
An 1897 photo of K Street High School, which was replaced by Fresno High School in 1896. The school later became Emerson Elementary School and was demolished ca. 1930.
Two years after the station was established, county residents voted to move the county seat from Millerton to Fresno. When the Friant Dam was completed in 1944, the site of Millerton became inundated by the waters of Millerton Lake. In extreme droughts, when the reservoir shrinks, ruins of the original county seat can still be observed.
In the nineteenth century, with so much wooden construction and in the absence of sophisticated firefighting resources, fires often ravaged American frontier towns. The greatest of Fresno's early-day fires, in 1882, destroyed an entire block of the city. Another devastating blaze struck in 1883.
One of the earliest buildings in Fresno, the Fresno Water Tower, was built in 1894.
In 1909, Fresno's first and oldest synagogue, Temple Beth Israel, was founded.
Fresno entered the ranks of the 100 most populous cities in the United States in 1960 with a population of 134,000. Thirty years later, in the 1990 census, it moved up to 47th place with 354,000, and in the census of 2000, it achieved 37th place with 428,000.
The Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill was the first modern landfill in the United States, and incorporated several important innovations to waste disposal, including trenching, compacting, and the daily covering of trash with dirt. It was opened in 1937 and closed in 1987. It is a National Historic Landmark as well as a Superfund site.
Before World War II, Fresno had many ethnic neighborhoods, including Little Armenia, German Town, Little Italy, and Chinatown. In 1940, the Census Bureau reported Fresno's population as 94.0% white, 3.3% black and 2.7% Asian. Chinatown was primarily a Japanese neighborhood and today Japanese-American businesses still remain. During 1942, Pinedale, in what is now North Fresno, was the site of the Pinedale Assembly Center, an interim facility for the relocation of Fresno area Japanese Americans to internment camps. The Fresno Fairgrounds were also utilized as an assembly center.
Row crops and orchards gave way to urban development particularly in the period after World War II; this transition was particularly vividly demonstrated in locations such as the Blackstone Avenue corridor.
In September 1958, Bank of America launched a new product called BankAmericard in Fresno. After a troubled gestation during which its creator resigned, BankAmericard went on to become the first successful credit card. This financial instrument was usable across a large number of merchants and also allowed cardholders to revolve a balance (earlier financial products could do one or the other but not both). In 1976, BankAmericard was renamed and spun off into a separate company known today as Visa Inc.
The dance style commonly known as popping evolved in Fresno in the 1970s.
In the 1970s, the city was the subject of a song, "Walking Into Fresno", written by Hall Of Fame guitarist Bill Aken and recorded by Bob Gallion of the world-famous "WWVA Jamboree" radio and television show in Wheeling, West Virginia. Aken, adopted by Mexican-American movie actress Lupe Mayorga, grew up in the neighboring town of Madera and his song chronicled the hardships faced by the migrant farm workers he saw as a child. Aken also made his first TV appearance playing guitar on the old country-western show at The Fresno Barn.
Fictional residents of the town were portrayed in a 1986 comedic miniseries titled "Fresno", featuring Carol Burnett, Dabney Coleman, Teri Garr and Charles Grodin, along with numerous other celebrities. The mini series was presented as a parody of the prime time soap operas popular in the 1980s.
In 1995, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Operation Rezone sting resulted in several prominent Fresno and Clovis politicians being charged in connection with taking bribes in return for rezoning farmland for housing developments. Before the sting brought a halt to it, housing developers could buy farmland cheaply, pay off council members to have it rezoned, and make a large profit building and selling inexpensive housing. Sixteen people were eventually convicted as a result of the sting.
Fresno is at 36°44?52?N 119°46?21?W. having a total area of 112.3 square miles (291 km2) with 99.69% land covering 112.0 square miles (290 km2), and 0.31% water, 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2).
Fresno's location, very near the geographical center of California, places the city a comfortable distance from several of the major recreation areas and urban centers in the state. Just 60 mi (97 km) south of Yosemite National Park, it is the nearest major city to the park. Likewise, Sierra National Forest is 40 mi (64 km), Kings Canyon National Park is 60 mi (97 km) and Sequoia National Park is 75 mi (121 km). The city is located near several Sierra Nevada lakes including Bass Lake, Shaver Lake, and Huntington Lake. Fresno is also only two and a half hours from Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur and the central coast.
Because Fresno sits at the junction of Highways 41 and 99 (SR 41 is Yosemite National Park's southern access road, and SR 99 bypasses Interstate 5 to serve the urban centers of the San Joaquin Valley), the city is a major gateway for Yosemite visitors coming from Los Angeles. The city also serves as an entrance into Sierra National Forest via Highway 168, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks via Highway 180.
Fresno has three large public parks, two in the city limits and one in county land to the southwest. Woodward Park, which features the Shinzen Japanese Gardens, boasts numerous picnic areas and several miles of trails. It is in North Fresno and is adjacent to the San Joaquin River Parkway. Roeding Park, near Downtown Fresno, is home to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and Rotary Storyland and Playland. Kearney Park is the largest of the Fresno region's park system and is home to historic Kearney Mansion and plays host to the annual Civil War Revisited, the largest reenactment of the Civil War in the west coast of the U.S.
In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that Fresno had the worst park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. The survey measures median park size, park acres as percent of city area, residents' access to parks, spending on parks per resident, and playgrounds per 10,000 residents. Fresno faces serious challenges to creating a well-developed park system due to the lack of any natural bodies of water in the city boundaries. There are no natural lakes or rivers; only manmade waterways.
Downtown Fresno looking east from Chuckchansi Park
Fresno was born with the establishment of the then Central Pacific Railroad Depot in 1872. In 1889, the Southern Pacific Railroad, which had acquired Central Pacific, constructed a new depot on the original depot site. The brick Queen Anne style depot was a jewel for the city and is currently one of Fresno's oldest standing buildings. In 1971, 99 years after it first opened for business on its current site, the Depot closed its rail operations due to the decline in business.
Between the 1880s and World War II, Downtown Fresno flourished, filled with electric streetcars, and contained some of San Joaquin Valley's most beautiful architectural buildings. Among them, the original Fresno County Courthouse (demolished), the Fresno Carnegie Public Library (demolished), the Fresno Water Tower, the Bank of Italy Building, the Pacific Southwest Building, the San Joaquin Light and Power Building (currently known as the Grand 1401), and the Hughes Hotel (burned down), to name a few.
Fulton Street in Downtown Fresno was Fresno's main financial and commercial district before being converted into one of the nation's first pedestrian malls in 1964. Renamed the Fulton Mall, the area contains the densest collection of historic buildings in Fresno. While the Fulton Mall corridor has suffered a sharp decline from its heyday, the Mall includes some of the finest public art pieces in the country, including a casting of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's bronze "The Washer Woman", reportedly the only one of the six castings that one can walk up to and touch. In October 2017, the City of Fresno finished and opened Fulton Mall to traffic, becoming Fulton Street. This change was celebrated with a large public parade featuring current Mayor Lee Brand and former Mayor Ashley Swearengin. The public art pieces will be restored and placed near their current locations and will feature wide sidewalks (up to 28' on the east side of the street) to continue with the pedestrian friendly environment of the district.
The Tower Theatre
The historic Tower Theatre, which is included on the National Register of Historic Places, is the center of the popular Tower District. The theater was built in 1939 at the corner of Olive and Wishon Avenues. (The name of the theater refers to a well-known landmark water tower, which is actually in another nearby area). The Tower District neighborhood is just north of downtown Fresno proper, and one-half mile south of Fresno City College. Although the neighborhood was known as a residential area, the early commercial establishments of the Tower District began with small shops and services that flocked to the area shortly after World War II. The character of small local businesses largely remains today. To some extent, the businesses of the Tower District were developed due to the proximity of the original Fresno Normal School (later renamed California State University at Fresno). In 1916, the college moved to what is now the site of Fresno City College one-half mile north of the Tower District.
This vibrant and culturally diverse area of retail businesses and residences experienced a renewal after a significant decline in the late 1960s and 1970s. After decades of neglect and suburban flight, the neighborhood revival followed the re-opening of the Tower Theatre in the late 1970s, which at that time showed second- and third-run movies, along with classic films. Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater & Good Company Players also opened nearby in 1978, at Olive and Wishon Avenues. Fresno native Audra McDonald performed in the leading roles of Evita and The Wiz at the theater while she was a high school student. McDonald subsequently became a leading performer on Broadway in New York City and a Tony award-winning actress. Also in the Tower District is Good Company Players' 2nd Space Theatre.
The Tower District is a hub for community events such as Jamaica My Weekend, Mardi Gras in February, Gay Pride Parade, car shows, A Taste of The Tower, Halloween in the Tower, and the Farmer's Market opened on the northwest Corner of Olive and Van Ness.
The neighborhood features restaurants, live theater and nightclubs, as well as several independent shops and bookstores, currently operating on or near Olive Avenue, and all within a few hundred feet of each other. Since renewal, the Tower District has become an attractive area for restaurant and other local businesses. Today, the Tower District is also known as the center of Fresno's LGBT and hipster communities. Additionally, Tower District is also known as the center of Fresno's local punk/goth/deathrock and heavy metal community as well as the synthpop/Electronic dance music community.
The area is also known for its early twentieth century homes, many of which have been restored in recent decades. The area includes many California Bungalow and American Craftsman style homes, Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture, Mediterranean Revival Style architecture, Mission Revival Style architecture, and many Storybook houses designed by Fresno architects, Hilliard, Taylor & Wheeler. The residential architecture of the Tower District contrasts with the newer areas of tract homes urban sprawl in north and east areas of Fresno.
In the north eastern part of Fresno, Woodward Park was founded by the late Ralph Woodward, a long-time Fresno resident. He bequeathed a major portion of his estate in 1968 to provide a regional park and bird sanctuary in Northeast Fresno. The park lies on the South bank of the San Joaquin River between Highway 41 and Friant Road. The initial 235 acres (0.95 km2), combined with additional acres acquired later by the city, brings the park to a sizable 300 acres (1.2 km2). Now packed with amenities, Woodward Park is the only Regional Park of its size in the Central Valley. The Southeast corner of the park harbors numerous bird species offering bird enthusiasts an excellent opportunity for viewing. The park has a multi-use amphitheatre that seats up to 2,500 people, authentic Japanese Garden, fenced dog park, two-mile (3 km) equestrian trail, exercise par course, three children's playgrounds, a lake, 3 small ponds, 7 picnic areas and five miles (8 km) of multipurpose trails that are part of the San Joaquin River Parkway's Lewis S. Eaton Trail. When complete, the Lewis S. Eaton trail system will cover 22 miles (35 km) between Highway 99 and Friant Dam. The park's numerous picnic tables make for a great picnic destination and a convenient escape from city life. The park's amphitheatre was renovated in 2010, and has hosted performances by acts such as Deftones, Tech N9ne, and Sevendust as well as numerous others. The park is open April through October, 6am to 10pm and November through March, 6am to 7pm. Woodward Park is home to the annual CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) State Championship cross country meet, which takes place in late November. It is also the home of the Woodward Shakespeare Festival which began performances in the park in 2005.
Fresno has a semi-arid climate (BSh/BSk in the Koeppen climate classification), with mild, moist winters and very long, hot, dry summers. December and January are the coldest months, and average around 46.5 °F (8.1 °C), and there are approximately 10 nights with freezing lows annually, with the coldest night of the year typically bottoming out around 30 °F (?1.1 °C). July is the warmest month, averaging 83.0 °F (28.3 °C); normally, there are 32 days of 100 °F (37.8 °C)+ highs and 106 days of 90 °F (32.2 °C)+ highs, and in July and August, there are only three or four days where the high does not reach 90 °F (32.2 °C). Summers provide considerable sunshine, with July exceeding 96 percent of the total possible sunlight hours; conversely, December is the lowest with only 42 percent of the daylight time in sunlight because of tule fog. However, the year averages 81% of possible sunshine, for a total of 3550 hours. Average annual precipitation is around 11.5 inches (292.1 mm), which, by definition, would classify the area as a semidesert. Most of the wind rose direction occurrences derive from the northwest, as winds are driven downward along the axis of the California Central Valley; in December, January and February there is an increased presence of southeastern wind directions in the wind rose statistics. Fresno meteorology was selected in a national U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study for analysis of equilibrium temperature for use of ten-year meteorological data to represent a warm, dry western United States locale.
The official record high temperature for Fresno is 115 °F (46.1 °C), set on July 8, 1905, while the official record low is 17 °F (?8 °C), set on January 6, 1913. The average windows for temperatures to exceed 100 °F (37.8 °C) are June 1 through September 13; for temperatures in excess of 90 °F (32.2 °C), April 26 through October 9; and for freezing temperatures, December 10 through January 28, although no freeze occurred during the 1983/1984 winter season. Annual rainfall has ranged from 23.57 inches (598.7 mm) in the "rain year" from July 1982 to June 1983 down to 4.43 inches (112.5 mm) from July 1933 to June 1934. The most rainfall in one month was 9.54 inches (242.3 mm) in November 1885 and the most rainfall in 24 hours was 3.55 inches (90.2 mm) on November 18, 1885. Measurable precipitation falls on an average of 48 days annually. Snow is a rarity; the heaviest snowfall at the airport was 2.2 inches (0.06 m) on January 21, 1962.
Fresno is the larger principal city of the Fresno-Madera CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Fresno (Fresno County) and Madera (Madera County) metropolitan areas, which had a combined population of 922,516 at the 2000 census.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Fresno had a population of 494,665. The population density was 4,404.5 people per square mile (1,700.6/km2). The racial makeup of Fresno was 245,306 (49.6%) White, 40,960 (8.3%) African American, 8,525 (1.7%) Native American, 62,528 (12.6%) Asian (3.6% Hmong, 1.7% Indian, 1.2% Filipino, 1.2% Laotian, 1.0% Thai, 0.8% Cambodian, 0.7% Chinese, 0.5% Japanese, 0.4% Vietnamese, 0.2% Korean), 849 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 111,984 (22.6%) from other races, and 24,513 (5.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 232,055 persons (46.9%). Among the Hispanic population, 42.7% of the total population are Mexican, 0.4% Salvadoran, and 0.4% Puerto Rican. Non-Hispanic Whites were 30.0% of the population in 2010, down from 72.6% in 1970.
The Census reported that 485,798 people (98.2% of the population) lived in households, 4,315 (0.9%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 4,552 (0.9%) were institutionalized.
There were 158,349 households, of which 68,511 (43.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 69,284 (43.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 30,547 (19.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 11,698 (7.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 12,843 (8.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 1,388 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 35,064 households (22.1%) were made up of individuals and 12,344 (7.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07. There were 111,529 families (70.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.62.
The age distribution of the population shows 148,823 people (30.1%) under the age of 18, 62,601 people (12.7%) aged 18 to 24, 135,076 people (27.3%) aged 25 to 44, 102,064 people (20.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 46,101 people (9.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.5 males.
There were 171,288 housing units at an average density of 1,525.2 per square mile (588.9/km2), of which 158,349 were occupied, of which 77,757 (49.1%) were owner-occupied, and 80,592 (50.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.6%. 235,430 people (47.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 250,368 people (50.6%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 427,652 people, 140,079 households, and 97,915 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,097.9 people per square mile (1,582.2/km2). There were 149,025 housing units at an average density of 1,427.9 square miles (3,698 km2). The racial makeup of the city was 50.2% White, 8.4% Black or African American, 1.6% Native American, 11.2% Asian (about a third of which is Hmong), 0.1% Pacific Islander, 23.4% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 39.9% of the population.
There were 140,079 households of which 40.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.99 and the average family size was 3.57.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 32.9% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 17.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,236, and the median income for a family was $35,892. Males had a median income of $32,279 versus $26,551 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,010. About 20.5% of families and 26.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.5% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.
The population as of July 1, 2007 was estimated to be 470,508 by the US Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program. The Fresno Metropolitan Statistical Area population was estimated at 899,348.
Main article: History of the Hmong in Fresno, California
The Fresno Hmong community, along with that of MinneapolisSaint Paul, is one of the largest two urban U.S. ethnic Hmong communities.
Fresno serves as the economic hub of Fresno County and California's San Joaquin Valley. The unincorporated area and rural cities surrounding Fresno remain predominantly tied to large-scale agricultural production.
In 1958, Fresno was selected by Bank of America to first launch the BankAmericard credit card, which was later renamed Visa.
Companies based in Fresno include Pelco, Valley Yellow Pages, California Ag Today Media and Saladino's.
According to the City's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
# Employer # of Employees
1 Community Medical Centers 4,789
2 City of Fresno 2,938
3 Saint Agnes Medical Center 2,400
4 Kaiser Permanente 2,000
5 California State University, Fresno 1,562
6 State Center Community College District 1,178
7 Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation 1,150
8 Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission 973
9 AmeriGuard Security Services 567
10 Guarantee Real Estate 544
11 Geil Enterprises, Inc. 500
Performing arts and music
Artists' Repertory Theatre
Children's Musical Theatreworks
Center State Productions
Fresno Grand Opera
Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater & 2nd Space Theatre (Good Company Players)
Youth Orchestras of Fresno
Woodward Shakespeare Festival
Stageworks of Fresno
Tower Theatre Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts
Warnors Theatre Warnor's Center for the Performing Arts
Wilson Theatre currently Cornerstone Church
Veteran's Memorial Auditorium
Paul Shaghoian Memorial Concert Hall - Clovis North High School
Museums and other attractions
The Fresno Art Museum
African-American Museum of the San Joaquin Valley
Armenian Museum of Fresno
William Saroyan House Museum
Forestiere Underground Gardens
Fresno Art Museum
Kearney Mansion Museum
Legion of Valor Museum
Meux Home Museum
Old Fresno Water Tower Tourist Center
Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Sierra Endangered Cat Haven (Fresno County)
Almond blossoms along the Fresno County Blossom Trail
Ani-Me Con (every spring) Fresno's only anime convention.
Armenian Grape Blessing (August)
ArtHop (twice a month)
The Big Fresno Fair, 12 days October, the largest event in the Central Valley attracting over 600,000 visitors
Taco Truck Throwdown
Cinco de Mayo at Fulton Mall
Christmas Tree Lane Every December
Fiestas Patrias at Fulton Mall Usually in September
Fresno County Blossom Trail Late February to April
Fresno Film Festival November
Fresno LGBT Pride Parade, every June, first held in 1991
Fresno Greek Fest Late August
Grizzly Fest April/May
Fresno Hmong New Year December 26-January 1
Fresno Maker Month April
Miss California Pageant Usually in June
Reel Pride Gay & Lesbian Film Festival September
Rogue Festival March
Sudz in the City October
Swede Fest November
Valley DevFest (Fall)
Vintage Days March or April
Fresno has no teams in any of the five major sports leagues: (NFL) football, (MLB) baseball, (NBA) basketball, (NHL) hockey or (MLS) soccer. Below are Fresno-based sports organizations.
Club Sport Founded League (and level) Venue
Fresno Grizzlies Baseball 1998 Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) Chukchansi Park
Fresno Monsters Ice hockey 2009 United States Premier Hockey League (junior) Selland Arena
The Save Mart Center at Fresno State is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of the California State University, Fresno. It is home to the Fresno State Bulldogs basketball team and, for the first five seasons in the ECHL (200308) hosted the Fresno Falcons ice hockey team. It also hosts a wide range of musical acts and other events.
Also on the campus of Fresno State is Bulldog Stadium, a 41,031 seat football stadium. It is home to the Fresno State Bulldogs football program.
Next to Bulldog Stadium is Pete Beiden Field. It is home to the Fresno State Bulldogs baseball program and was home to the Fresno Grizzlies before their move to Chukchansi Park in Downtown Fresno.
Fresno's Woodward Park is the location of the CIF Cross Country State Championships, where high schoolers from around the state compete. Additionally the BMX course in the park plays host to the National Bicycle League State Championships.
Ratcliffe Stadium, on the campus of Fresno City College, is a 13,000-seat track and field stadium. The stadium played host to the West Coast Relays. It is home to the college's football program and is also host to high school football games and track and field events.
The Fresno Yacht Club established in 1959 hosts the High Sierra Regatta on Huntington Lake every July (barring extreme drought) and regular sailing on Millerton Lake.
See also: Government of Fresno County, California
Fresno has a modified strong-mayor form of local government and seven City Council members (Legislative branch) elected for no more than two 4-year terms. The City Council and the mayor are nonpartisan, not affiliated with any political party. Alan Autry was first elected in November 2000, reelected on March 2, 2004, and served until January 2009. Ashley Swearengin was sworn in as Mayor on January 6, 2009 and reelected in 2012. Lee Brand was sworn in as Mayor on January 3, 2017. Jerry Dyer was elected to Mayor, following a heated election, on March 3, 2020.
President, Board of Trustees
Prior to 1901, Fresno was governed by a board of trustees.
William Faymonville October 27, 1885 to April 25, 1887
W.L. Graves April 25, 1887 to October 31, 1887
A.M. Clark October 31, 1887 to April 15, 1889
A.J. Pedlar April 15, 1889 to unknown
C.J. Craycroft October 27, 1895 to 1901
19011905 L.O. Stephens
19051908 W. Parker Lyon
19081909 Ed. F. Bush (acting)
19091912 Chester Rowell
19121917 Alva E. Snow
19171921 William F. Toomey
19211925 Truman C. Hart
19251929 A.E. Sunderland
19291934 Z. S. Leymel
19371941 Frank A. Homan
19411947 Z. S. Leymel
19471947 Glenn M. DeVore (acting)
19491957 Gordon Dunn
19571958 C. Cal Evans
19581963 Arthur L. Selland
19631965 Wallace Henderson (acting)
19651969 Floyd H. Hyde
19691977 Ted C. Wills
19771985 Dan Whitehurst
19851989 Dale Doig
19891993 Karen Humphrey
19932001 Jim Patterson
20012009 Alan Autry
20092017 Ashley Swearengin
20172021 Lee Brand
2021 Jerry Dyer
Died in office
The Fresno City Council is made up of seven members, elected by district:
District 1 (west-central) Esmeralda Soria
District 2 (northwest) Mike Karbassi
District 3 (southwest and downtown) Miguel Arias
District 4 (east-central) Paul Caprioglio
District 5 (southeast) Luis Chavez
District 6 (northeast) Garry Bredefeld
District 7 (central) Nelson Esparza
The City Council meets at Fresno City Hall.
Airports Kevin Meikle
City Attorney Douglas Sloan
City Clerk Yvonne Spence
City Manager Wilma Quan
Communications & Public Affairs Mark Standriff
Planning & Development Jennifer Clark
Finance Michael Lima
Fire Kerri L. Donis
Information Services Bryon Horn
Parks, After School, Recreation & Community Services T.J. Miller
Personnel Services Jeff Cardell
Police Andrew Hall
Transportation Gregory Barfield
Public Utilities Michael Carbajal
Public Works Scott Mozier
The Robert E. Coyle United States Courthouse houses the Eastern District of California, Fresno Division, Federal Courts.
The California Fifth Appellate District Fresno courthouse.
Fresno is the county seat of Fresno County. It maintains the main county courthouse on Van Ness in the Fresno County Plaza for criminal and some civil court cases.
The United States District Court, Eastern District of California, has one of its six divisions based in the Robert E. Coyle Courthouse. The new courthouse replaced the B.F. Sisk Federal Building in 2006 because it did not have enough space for the growing Fresno Division. After extensive renovation, the building reopened in November 2010 as the B.F. Sisk Courthouse serving the Fresno County Superior Court.
Fresno is also the seat of the Fifth Appellate District of the State of California Court of Appeal where a new courthouse was built in the old Armenian Town section of downtown Fresno in 2007 across from the Fresno Convention Center. The Fifth District Court of Appeal Courthouse is named after former State Senator and Associate Justice of the Fifth District, George N. Zenovich.
Fresno City Hall.
According to Fresno County Registrar of Voters, the majority of registered voters in both the city and county of Fresno are registered to the Democratic Party. According to the county registrar's official final reportU.S. President Barack Obama carried the county 49.99% in the 2008 United States presidential election.
State and federal representation
The citizens of Fresno are represented in the California State Senate by Democrat Melissa Hurtado in District 14 and Republican Andreas Borgeas in District 8. They are represented in the California State Assembly by Republican Jim Patterson in District 23 and Democrat Joaquin Arambula in District 31.
The citizens of Fresno are represented in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Jim Costa in District 16 and Republican Devin Nunes in District 22.
The Old Administration Building, the first permanent structure on California State University, Fresno's original campus, is now part of Fresno City College and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
California State University, Fresno is the main state school in Fresno though the University of California, Merced has its Fresno Center and the University of California, San Francisco has its Fresno Medical Education Program.
Private institutions include
Alliant International University (For Profit)
California Christian College (Private/Freewill Baptist)
Fresno Pacific University (Private/Mennonite Brethren)
Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary
Kaplan College, Fresno campus (formerly Maric College)
National University, Fresno campus
University of Phoenix (Private) (For Profit)
DeVry University (Private) (For Profit, Career)
Public community colleges include Fresno City College and Clovis Community College.
University of Phoenix
Institute of Technology
San Joaquin Valley College
Public K-12 schools
Main article: Fresno Unified School District
Most of Fresno is in the Fresno Unified School District though small portions are served by the Clovis Unified School District, Central Unified School District, Washington Union Unified School district and Orange Center Elementary School District.
Private K-12 schools
Fresno Christian High School (Evangelical Christian)
San Joaquin Memorial High School (Roman Catholic)
Fresno Adventist Academy
The Business Journal
The Fresno Bee
KMJ, AM 580 and FM 105.9, is Fresno's first radio station; it began broadcasting in 1922. Its powerful 50,000-watt signal can clearly be heard throughout much of California.
KFIG AM 940, 50,000-watt affiliate of ESPN radio and also the flagship station for Fresno State University football, men's basketball and baseball
KYNO AM 1430, 5,000-watt oldies station and flagship for the Pacific Coast League Fresno Grizzlies
88.1 KFCF is Fresno's Pacifica station, and one of Fresno's few non-commercial, non-corporate radio stations.
89.3 KVPR, provides National Public Radio Programming & classical music throughout the Central California region.
90.7 KFSR is another non-commercial, non-corporate station that plays a full spectrum format, including Jazz, eclectic, Armenian, and others. Based on the CSUF campus.
94.9 KBOS-FM More commonly known as B95 Fresno's Hip-Hop Station
To avoid interference with existing VHF television stations in the San Francisco Bay Area and those planned for Chico, Sacramento, Salinas, and Stockton, the Federal Communications Commission decided that Fresno would be a UHF island (only have UHF television stations). The very first Fresno television station to begin broadcasting was KMJ-TV, which debuted on June 1, 1953. KMJ-TV is now known as NBC affiliate KSEE. Other Fresno stations include ABC O&O KFSN-TV, CBS affiliate KGPE, The CW affiliate KFRE-TV, FOX affiliate KMPH-TV, MNTV affiliate KAIL, PBS affiliate KVPT, Telemundo O&O KNSO, Univision O&O KFTV-DT, and Estrella TV affiliate KGMC.
In partnership with the City of Clovis, the City of Fresno opened the Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) in April 2012, a public, education and government access television station.
Fresno is served by State Route 99, the main north/south freeway that connects the major population centers of the California Central Valley. State Route 168, the Sierra Freeway, heads east to the city of Clovis and Huntington Lake. State Route 41 (Yosemite Freeway/Eisenhower Freeway) comes into Fresno from Atascadero in the south, and then heads north to Yosemite National Park. State Route 180 (Kings Canyon Freeway) comes from the west via Mendota, and then east through the city of Reedley to Kings Canyon National Park.
Fresno is the largest U.S. city not directly linked to an Interstate highway. When the Interstate Highway System was created in the 1950s, the decision was made to build what is now Interstate 5 on the west side of the Central Valley, and thus bypass many of the population centers in the region, instead of upgrading what is now State Route 99. Due to rapidly rising population and traffic in cities along SR 99, as well as the desirability of Federal funding, much discussion has been made to upgrade it to interstate standards and eventually incorporate it into the interstate system, most likely as Interstate 7 or 9. Major improvements to signage, lane width, median separation, vertical clearance, and other concerns are currently underway.
Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT), formerly known as Fresno Air Terminal, provides regularly scheduled commercial airline service. The airport serves an estimated 1.3 million passengers annually.
Fresno Chandler Executive Airport (FCH) is 2 mi (3.2 km) southwest of Downtown Fresno. Built in the 1920s by the Works Projects Administration, it is one of the oldest operational airports in California. The airport currently serves as a general aviation airport.
Sierra Sky Park Airport in Northwest Fresno is a privately owned airport, but is open to the public. The airport was America's first aviation community. Extra-wide streets surrounding the airport allow for residents of the community to land, taxi down extra-wide avenues, and park in the driveway at home.
Passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak San Joaquins. The main passenger rail station is the recently renovated historic Santa Fe Railroad Depot in Downtown Fresno. The Bakersfield-Stockton mainlines of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and Union Pacific Railroad railroads cross in Fresno, and both railroads maintain railyards within the city; the San Joaquin Valley Railroad also operates former Southern Pacific branch lines heading west and south out of the city. The city of Fresno is planned to serve the future California High-Speed Rail.
Public transit is provided by the Fresno Area Express (FAX). It consists entirely of buses serving the greater Fresno metropolitan area. Intercity and long-distance bus service is provided by Greyhound and Orange Belt Stages. Beginning May 2015, Fresno has also been served by the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System, with connecting routes available in the Yosemite Valley. In February 2018, Fresno Area Express's bus rapid transit service called "Q" began. The first route runs south on Blackstone Ave, through Downtown Fresno, and East along Kings Canyon Boulevard at 10 minute frequencies.
The city once provided trolley service during the late 19th and early 20th century. Known as the Fresno City Railway Company and later the Fresno Traction Company, the service operated horse-drawn streetcars from 1887 to 1901. Electric streetcars were introduced in 1903. The electric streetcars were used until 1939.
Main article: List of people from Fresno, California
US Army Reserve:
Army Maintenance Support Activity 14, 63rd Regional Support Command.
729 Transportation Company, 63rd Regional Support Command.
924 Training Camp Detachment, 63rd Regional Support Command.
All at the US Army Reserve Center at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
US Marine Corps
US Marine Corps Reserve:
Detachment Alpha, Marine Wing Support Squadron 473, Marine Wing Support Group 47, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing
Formerly at The Fresno Yosemite International Airport. The unit is now based out of Lemoore Naval Air Station in Lemoore, California, about 30 miles outside Fresno.
Naval Air Station Lemoore, the Navy's west coast Master Jet Base is 30 miles (48 km) south of downtown Fresno.
US Air Force
AFROTC Detachment 035, located on the Fresno State Campus.
California Army National Guard
40th Aviation Brigade, 40th Infantry Division. Located at Hammer Army Air Field Armory.
Echo Company, 79th Brigade Support Battalion, 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 40th Infantry Division.
1106th Aviation Classification Repair Depot, 1106th Theater Aviation Maintenance Sustainment Group. Located at the Aviation Classification Repair Depot on the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
Detachment 1, 649th MP Company, 185th Military Police Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade. Located at the Army National Guard Armory on the Fresno Fairgrounds.
California Air National Guard
144th Fighter Wing. Located at the Fresno Air National Guard Base at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
California State Guard
40th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB).
100th Troop Command Support Brigade.
1st Task Force Civil Support, Regional Support Command North.
At The Fresno Armed Forces Reserve Center adjacent to Hammer Army Air Field Armory.
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Flotilla 10-5, District 11NR
Civil Air Patrol
Fresno Composite Squadron 112, Central California group 6, California Wing.
Central California group 6, California Wing.
Twin towns sister cities
Fresno has eight sister and friendship cities: The latest in January 2016 is Ch?teauroux in central France. The others are Afula-Gilboa in Israel since 1973, Etchmiadzin in Armenia since 2009, K?chi in Japan, Taishan in China, Verona in Italy, Torre?n in Mexico, and M?nster in Germany.
The Shinzen Friendship Garden in Woodward Park was dedicated in 1981 to honor the relationship with K?chi.
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