Fresno ("FREZ-no", Spanish for Ash) is the sixth-largest city in California, USA, the county seat of Fresno County, and the largest inland city in the state. As of 2008, Fresno has an estimated population of 486,171. It is located in the center of the expansive Central Valley, approximately north of Los Angeles, and south of the state capital, Sacramento. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area. Fresno is the second-largest metropolitan area in the Central Valley with a population of 1,002,284, after Sacramento. The name Fresno is the Spanish-language word for the Ash tree and an Ash leaf is featured on its flag.
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 current mayor, Republican Alan Autry
, was first elected in November 2000, re-elected on March 2 2004
, and will serve until January 2009.
- 2001-present Alan Autry (R)
- 1993-2001 Jim Patterson (R)
- 1989-1993 Karen Humphrey (D)
- 1985-1989 Dale Doig
- 1977-1985 Dan Whitehurst
- 1969-1977 Ted C. Wills
- 1965-1969 Floyd H. Hyde
- 1964-1965 Wallace Henderson (acting)
- 1958-1964 Arthur L. Selland †
- 1957-1958 C. Cal Evans
- 1949-1957 Gordan D. Dunn
- 1947 Glenn M. Devore (acting)
- 1941-1947 Z.S. Leymel †
- 1937-1941 Frank A. Homan
- 1929-1937 Z.S. Leymel
- 1925-1929 A.E. Sunderland
- 1921-1925 Truman C. Hart
- 1917-1921 William F. Toomey
- 1912-1917 Alva E. Snow
- 1909-1912 Chester Rowell †
- 1908-1909 Ed. F. Bush (acting)
- 1905-1908 W. Parker Lyon
- 1901-1905 L.O. Stephens
† Died in office
President, Board of Trustees
Prior to 1901, Fresno was governed by a board of trustees.
City council is made up of seven members, elected by district:
- District 1 (west-central) - Blong Xiong (Council President)
- District 2 (northwest) - Brian Calhoun
- District 3 (southwest) - Cynthia Sterling
- District 4 (east-central) - Larry Westerlund
- District 5 (southeast) - Mike Dages
- District 6 (northeast) - Jerry Duncan
- District 7 (central) - Henry T. Perea
Fresno is the seat of the Fifth Appellate District of the State of California Court of Appeal, the Fresno County Superior Court and the Fresno Division of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. In 2006, a new federal courthouse building was opened in the downtown area. In 2007, a new courthouse was constructed for the 5th Appellate District.
The city of Fresno is closely split between Democrats and Republicans. Mirroring the nationwide vote, George Bush won 48.41% of the vote in 2000 and 51.77% in 2004.
Fresno serves as the economic hub of Fresno County and California's Central Valley
. The unincorporated area and rural cities surrounding Fresno remain predominantly tied to large-scale agricultural production.
Fresno is unique in that it is home to many business incubators that serve as a resource hub for business entrepreneurs and new companies. Some of these incubators are found at California State University, Fresno. Many of the businesses formed at the incubators have gone on to become internationally known in the business world. Some of the businesses involved range from environmental engineering to fashion designers.
Fresno is located at (36.781549, -119.792113).
The United States Census Bureau reports Fresno as having a total area of 104.8 square miles (271.4 km²) with 99.58% land covering 104.4 square miles (270.3 km²), and .42% water, 0.4 square miles (1.1 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 (100 km) south of Yosemite National Park, it is the nearest major city to the park. Likewise, Kings Canyon National Park is 60 mi (100 km) and Sequoia National Park is 75 mi (120 km).
Because it sits at the junction of Highways 41 and 99 (41 is the park's southern access road, and 99 branches east from Interstate 5 to serve the urban centers of the San Joaquin Valley), the city is a major gateway for visitors coming from Los Angeles. The city also serves as an entrance into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks via Highway 180.
Fresno has three large public parks, two located in the city limits and one in county land to the southwest. Woodward Park, which features the Shinzen Japanese Gardens, numerous picnic areas and several miles of trails, is located in North Fresno and is adjacent to the San Joaquin River Parkway. Roeding Park, located near Downtown Fresno, is home to the Chaffee Zoological Gardens, and Rotary Playland and Storyland. 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.
Fresno has relatively mild winters and hot summers. December low temperatures
average 37.0 °F
) with July high temperatures averaging 100.6 °F (38.9 °C), though summer temperatures can occasionally soar to highs of 112 °F (43.56 °C) or more. Summers provide considerable sunshine, with July peaking at 97 percent of the total possible sunlight hours; conversely, January is the lowest with only 46 percent of the daylight time in sunlight. Average annual precipitation is 11.23 in (28.52 cm); rainfall is concentrated in the winter and spring seasons, with the summers typically being very dry. 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
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.
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 (551.3 km²). The racial makeup of the city was 50.17% White, 8.36% Black or African American, 1.58% Native American, 11.23% Asian (mostly Hmong), 0.14% Pacific Islander, 23.36% from other races, and 5.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 39.87% of the population.
There were 140,079 households out 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 population was spread out with 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.
High Schools (Public)
- Bullard High School
- Central High School, East Campus
- Central High School, West Campus
- Clovis High School
- Clovis East High School
- Clovis North High School
- Clovis West High School
- Buchanan High School
- Edison High School
- Duncan Polytechnical High School
- Fresno High School
- Hoover High School
- Kaychap South High School
- McLane High School
- Roosevelt High School
- Sunnyside High School
- University High School
- Washington Union High School
Origins and history
The County of Fresno was formed in 1856. It was named for the abundant mountain ash trees lining the San Joaquin River
is the Spanish word for white ash trees. The county was much larger than it is today as part of Tulare County, comprising its current area plus all of what became Madera County
and parts of what are now San Benito
, and Mono
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 Christmas Eve, 1867, inundating Millerton. Some residents rebuilt, others moved. Flooding also destroyed the town of Scottsburg that winter. Rebuilt on higher ground, Scottsburg was renamed Centerville.
In 1867, Anthony Easterby purchased land bounded by the present Chestnut, Belmont, Clovis and California avenues. Unable to grow wheat for lack of water, he hired Moses J. Church in 1871 to build an irrigation canal. 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's farm for its new Southern Pacific line. Soon there was a store. Around the station and the store grew 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.
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.
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. Today, it has the unusual distinction of being 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 China Town. 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 was 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.
The dance style commonly known as popping evolved in Fresno in the 1970s.
Fictional residents of the town were portrayed in a 1986 comedic mini series 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 FBI'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.
Through the 1990s, downtown was one of the last remaining examples of untouched architecture in California, but it has recently been subjected to a mixed revitalization effort. While many of the buildings that were once abandoned for many years have been remodeled, many have been demolished or are under threat of being demolished to be replaced with new structures. Recently added new structures such as Grizzlies Stadium, now Chukchansi Park and the Federal Courthouse, and plans to eventually erect new high-rise buildings, threaten the unique and increasingly rare twentieth century architecture.
A victim of this redevelopment was the Vagabond Hotel, unique in its relevance in popular culture. The Vagabond, which had a pool that was an important location in modern skateboarding history and a prime example of mid-century modern googie "roadside" architecture, was demolished in 2004 and replaced by concrete commercial lots and lofts in 2006. The old Army Induction Center, which was used during the Vietnam War, was also recently destroyed in the next development project on H St and Amador.
The historic Fulton Mall and Chinatown are two downtown areas which still retain an exceptional amount of historic buildings and architecture of contextual, associative and memorial value in comparison with other cities of California and the Western United States, and are being considered for preservation as historic districts.
One of Fresno's first affluent areas, Sunnyside is located on Fresno's far east side, bounded by Chestnut Avenue to the West. While now considered less affluent than other sections of Fresno, it is still home to some notable residents.
Old Fig Garden
First started as a development known as Forkner-Giffen Fig Garden Estates #1
the now historic community set among mature trees of Old Fig Garden has long been one of Fresno's most prestigious neighborhoods. The Fig Garden is an area of approximately , once on the northern fringe of Fresno, but the city has since incorporated all of the surrounding land, making Fig Garden a county "island." The city's annual "Christmas Tree Lane"
is found on a section of Van Ness Boulevard during the holiday season.
Centered around the Historic Tower Theatre at Olive and Wishon Avenues, just north of downtown Fresno, this vibrant and culturally diverse area of shops and homes has been restored after a significant decline in the 1980s and early-90s. The initial origin of the Tower District began with small shops and services that flocked to the area shortly after World War II, although the area had been a residential neighborhood long before the War. The neighborhood became known as a district, following the advent of the re-opening of the Tower Theater in the late 1970s showing second and third run movies.
The Tower District became a hub for major community events such as Jamaica My Weekend, Mardi Gras in February, Car Shows, A Taste of The Tower, Halloween in the Tower, and the newly opened Farmer's Market on the North-West Corner of Olive and Van Ness. An array of shows permeates the Tower District annually.
The neighborhood features some of Fresno's best restaurants and nightclubs, as well as many independent shops and bookstores. Currently operating on or near Olive Avenue, and all within a few hundred feet of each other. Moreover, the Tower District is known for supporting many locally-owned restaurants and businesses, unlike the rest of the town. Today, the Tower District serves as the center of Fresno's LGBT community and that community has made countless contributions to the neighborhood.
In addition, the area is known for its early twentieth century homes, many of which have been lovingly restored. 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. These homes stand in stark contrast to the uncontrolled urban sprawl that runs north and east of downtown and attracts a diverse group of residents. Moreover, the Tower District remains one of the few walkable neighborhoods in Fresno.
Cultural Arts District
The Cultural Arts District is a local arts and entertainment district, similar to Fresno's Tower District. The distinction between the two areas are two major historic theaters, the Warnor's Theatre and The Tower Theatre. The Cultural Arts District was developed in many ways a response to the response of the advent of the emerging Tower District of the mid to late 1980s. Many business owners experienced a loss of prestige and revenue as art and restaurant goers moved northward in search of entertainment and culture in a safe and friendly atmosphere.
Downtown Fresno often was plagued in the 1980s with a transient population, crime, and poor patronage by many residents who reside in North Fresno. The Cultural Arts District was not referred to as a district until the early 1990s when Rose Marie Caglia, managing Theater Director became the principle and driving element toward the emergence of an Arts and Culture district that would surround Warnor's Theatre. Tenants within the Warnor's Theatre complex occupied space within the theatre complex with assistance from Warnor's Theatre, where public events, artists, professionals, and other business persons visited the historic theatre, gaining knowledge about the problems associated with preservation of local culture, the need for the arts, and entertainment in Downtown Fresno.
Throughout the 1980s Theatre Director, Rose Marie Caglia was a major contributor toward the continued development of cutural arts in Central California. During this period, Caglia was responsible for theatre performances at Warnors Theatre (Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, David Copperfield, First Run Movie Shows, Political Campaign Rallys, and a variety of music artists, local talent, musicians, and actors. Despite limited success, Caglia drove forward, working toward the preservation and maintenance of the Warnors Theatre Complex, and establishing the center as a prominent cultural and historic landmark. Caglia was responsible for recruitment of local artists and musicians, adding to the wealth of talent that could work in concert, establishing a rich arts and cultural center within Downtown Fresno.
As Theatre Director and Principal Manager of the Warnors Theatre and Business Complex, Caglia became the primary benefactor for the development of the two arts projects that would formally establish a presence and setting for the emergence of the Cultural Arts District during the early to mid 1990's. The primary projects; The Cultural Arts District Mural (1992) and Amazing Grace,(1993) were developed by Project Manager, Mark D. Mejia, and Artist, Jamie A. Ortega. The first mural is a 20 x design, representing cultural arts and entertainment within Fresno, California. A large keyboard playing music, features local Bassist, Jeff Henry, a Ballerina, Shakespeare, and performing arts logos. Mejia and Ortega placed the words, "CULTURAL ARTS DISTRICT" header atop the mural, so as to ensure reinforcement of the district name, rather than names that were frequently proposed by developers that lacked appeal to the residents and businesses within the Cultural Arts District. The mural is the second largest mural of its kind in Central California, second only to John Sierra's mural, located on the west face of the State of California Building in Downtown Fresno.
The second mural project, "Amazing Grace" was again commissioned by Caglia, developed, and coordinated by Mejia, and finally painted by Ortega. The inspiration for the mural was based on the publication, Places As Art and by Mejia's late Father and Artist, Robert Mejia Sr.,(1938-1989) The mural signifies the commitment to music and faith as a driving force within the Cultural Arts District. The mural was likely - a determining factor in the emergence of several prominent religious organizations that opened in the adjacent building shortly after the development of the project.
The two murals in conjunction with the painting of Fulton Street lamposts black and grey to match primary mural colors attracted new shops, services, and area businesses to the Cultural Arts District. Shortly thereafter, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum area underwent a facelift, where new lamposts were subsequently purchased in the two colors (black and grey),matching the existing motif, present within the Cultural Arts District. Moreover, the introduction of these artistic urban revitalization projects gave new life to new restaurants and businesses such as Sundai Sushi, Cornerstone Church, and Fresno Institute of Technology, creating an improved area infrastructure that encouraged further long-term investment by existing cultural centers in the area.
Local organizations, Arte Americas and the African American Cultural and Historic Museum re-established themselves as the two pre-dominant centers for Hispanic and African-American culture in the Central Valley. Many shops and business continue to open within the Cultural Arts District. A new generation of Fresno Artists, in awe of the 90's projects have since relocated to the Cultural Arts District, painting psychadelic airbrush images of figures and images, reminiscent of the 60's and 70's era. Some stakeholders were able to successfully redevelop older buildings, e.g, Vagabond Motel Conversion, and Fresno Office Supply Warehouse Conversion. The current artwork continues to be a major contributing factor in the presence and continued growth seen in the area.
Homes from the early 20th century line this boulevard in the heart of the historic Alta Vista Tract. The surrounding streets, Kerckhoff and Balch Avenues, have homes from the Arts and Crafts era which, like the downtown, are being renovated and brought back to their historic roots. During Christmas, the homes along the boulevard are adorned with lights and decorations. The nation's tallest living Christmas Tree, located at Huntington and 6th Street, is the highlight of the event.
Van Ness Avenue transforms from a downtown "main street" into a boulevard that leads to Fresno's most expensive and expansive estates. As it passes through the Tower District and Old Fig Garden there are many historic homes and estates of gradually increasing profile to be seen. North of Shaw Avenue, Van Ness continues as the Van Ness Extension, located between Marks Avenue and West Avenue. The Van Ness Extension, especially the portion between Shaw Ave and Herndon Ave, could be considered the most prestigious neighborhood in the city, and boasts some of Fresno's most elaborate homes and most affluent citizens.
Named after early 20th century entrepreneur and millionaire M. Theo Kearney
, Kearney Boulevard extends from Fresno Street in downtown Fresno about 20 mi (32 km) west to Kerman, California
. The part of the road within the city limits features large, early 20th century homes. A small, two-lane rural road for most of its length, Kearney Boulevard is lined with tall palm trees.
Sierra Sky Park
Formed in 1946, Sierra Sky Park Airport
is a residential airport community born of a unique agreement in transportation law to allow personal aircraft and automobiles to share certain roads. Sierra Sky Park was the first aviation community to be built and there are now numerous such communities across the nation of the United States and around the world. Developer William Smilie created the nation's first planned aviation community. Still in operation today, the public use airport provides a unique neighborhood which spawned interest and similar communities nationwide.
This neighborhood is a small pocket of Southwest Fresno (the "West Side") located on the very edge of the city. It is bordered by Jensen Avenue on the north, Annadale Avenue on the south, Martin Luther King on the west and Elm or Ivy on the east. It is a pocket of dense housing and a large apartment complex, surrounded by vacant lots and fields. The neighborhood has long been associated with crime and gang activity, and was generally referred to as the "Dogg Pound" - in reference to the Dogg Pound Crip Gang that claims the neighborhood - by local residents until recent efforts by the community and the city government to change the neighborhood's image. Efforts to reduce the crime rate in this area have met with moderate success, as Police Chief Dyer's anti-gang operation "Dogpound" targeted the area and resulted in the arrest of several Dogg Pound Crip gang members. On September 18
the Fresno city council voted to officially name the neighborhood Brookhaven.
is the major North-South artery of Fresno. Blackstone Ave. is formed by two one-way streets Abby St. and Blackstone Ave. merging into one just north of Olive Ave. After the merger, Blackstone is a 6-laned street zoned solely for business and tends to house more retail businesses rather than office space as does Shaw Avenue
. Blackstone stretches from Divisadero (which starts Downtown Fresno and the diagonalization of downtown streets) and just north of Nees Ave in the North where it ends and Friant Rd. picks up. Blackstone serves as an East-West divider for many of Fresno's major Avenues, because of its location in the center of Fresno. Blackstone is home to River Park
, Manchester Center
and many of Fresno's attractions including the second McDonald's
franchise restaurant opened by Ray Kroc
. The restaurant is still operating, with its location at the southwest corner of Shields and Blackstone Avenues. Blackstone is also popular for cruising on weekends, with many cruisers driving near and around River Park
. Blackstone is equivalent to Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles
Cultural and commercial attractions Arte Américas
Arte Américas is a local Latino cultural center. Arte Américas was founded in 1987 by artists and teachers "To make the Central Valley a flourishing place for Latino arts." It presents art exhibits and the performing arts. Fresno County Blossom Trail
The Fresno County Blossom Trail offers arguably the best look at what makes the Fresno area unique, with a plunge into some of the most productive agricultural land in the world. The annual Blossom Trail kickoff comes each February, and motorists and hikers through the farm country can come upon stunning displays of blossoming peach, nectarine, plum, orange, and almond trees in full bloom.Christmas Tree Lane
Every December, Van Ness Boulevard between Shields and Shaw Avenues is transformed into a magical Christmas Wonderland. The two miles (3 km) long display includes decorations of some 140 homes and 300 trees.Fall Wine Cornucopia
The only exhibition of all San Joaquin Valley wines, regional art, and gourmet foodstuffs presented to the people of the San Joaquin Valley and beyond. The Fall Wine Cornucopia occurs every October in Downtown Fresno. The San Joaquin Valley produces 60% of all of the wine in California, and much of that production is centered around Fresno.Forestiere Underground Gardens
The Forestiere Underground Gardens
in northwest Fresno near Highway 99, is a spectacular subterranean creation built by Baldasare Forestiere
over a period of 40 years. It features nearly one hundred chambers, passageways, courts and patios, dug beneath the hard pan soil. Fruit-bearing trees planted below the ground protrude through openings at ground level. Forestiere resided here, benefiting from cooler temperatures during the high heat of the Central Valley in summer as well as warmer conditions within the ground during winter. The Gardens are an impressive example of non-traditional vernacular architecture
. Forestiere's creation and his story offer parallels to Simon Rodia
and the Watts Towers
, both Italian-immigrants born in 1879, settling in California and creating one-of-a-kind residences by hand and in seclusion.
For a fictionalized account of Forestiere and his obsession, see the short story "The Underground Gardens" by T. Coraghessan Boyle
, published in The New Yorker
, (May 25
).Fresno Arts Council's monthly Art Hop
The Fresno Arts Council
holds a monthly featuring artists in the Fresno area and is held every first Thursday of the month. One of the biggest art events takes place during the annual Rogue Performance Festival in March. Fresno Art Museum
The museum is located in Radio Park, and puts up a rotating series of exhibits. It participates in the monthly Art Hop, and has a variety of film programs, including classic films, anime, and international selections. Fresno Art Museum is also home to Rhythms of Art, a ground-breaking program founded by Fresno composer and jazz pianist Armen Nalbandian, in which music is composed and performed for featured exhibits. Additionally, the museum hosts the Fresno Poets' Association
readings in the Bonner Auditorium. Fresno Filmworks
brings films to Fresno that would not generally be seen at the movie megaplexes. They show foreign, art-house, and independent films on the second Friday of each month and in the Spring they hold an Annual Film Festival. All showings are at the historic Tower Theatre.Fresno Grand Opera
The Fresno Grand Opera produces internationally-acclaimed opera and world-class concerts.Fresno Metropolitan Museum
The Met displays traveling exhibitions, shows from its own collection, lectures and other outreach programming. The museum also has a science center called the Reeves ASK Science Center that was developed in partnership with San Francisco
. The museum's historic home in The Fresno Bee Building is currently closed for renovations, and is scheduled to reopen on November 13, 2008. Until July 6, 2008, the Reeves ASK Science Center has been relocated to 933 Van Ness Avenue in downtown Fresno. The Met participates in Fresno's ArtHop program, and hosts outreach events and fund raisers on an annual basis, including First Friday Films, Christmas at the Met and a science-education based Bubble Festival. Fresno Philharmonic
The Fresno Philharmonic, under the baton of music director, Theodore Kuchar, is a non-profit organization whose sustainability depends on contributions from the community. It is the largest professional orchestra between San Francisco and Los Angeles, with its stated mission, to provide high-quality classical music and music education programs to audiences and school children throughout the Central Valley. Fresno Poets' Association
The Fresno Poets' Association was founded around 1980 by the poet Chuck Moulton. Initially its purpose was more social than literary; it provided an excuse for local writers to gather once or twice a year for a picnic. When the Bixler brothers opened the Wild Blue Yonder night club in the Tower District, they wanted to host occasional poetry readings, and Chuck Moulton began to promote members of the FPA as readers at the club. Eventually Jacquelin Pilar, the curator of the Fresno Art Museum
, also became involved in the FPA, and some of the readings began to be held in the Bonner Auditorium at the Fresno Art Museum
After a change in ownership of the Wild Blue Yonder, the FPA reading series made the Fresno Art Museum
its permanent home. Since 1994, the reading series has been directed by the poet C.G. Hanzlicek. Readings take place on the first Thursday of the month in the Bonner Auditorium at the Fresno Art Museum
, October through December and February though May. Fresno Reel Pride
Fresno Reel Pride is one of the oldest and largest LGBT
film festivals in the United States. Now located in the historic Tower Theatre and at the nearby Starline, Reel Pride is a celebration of gay
cinema and has been recognized as a premiere cultural event in central California. Fresno Reel Pride presents an annual five-day film festival each September in addition to special film screenings throughout the year.Kearney Mansion Museum
Located in Kearney Park, Kearney Mansion is one of the most historic sites in the Central Valley for the story that it tells-the integral role that M. Theo Kearney played in the agricultural history of the San Joaquin Valley, and his formation of the California Raisin Growers Association.Meux Home Museum
Built in 1889 by Dr. Thomas Richard Meux, this Victorian structure is one of Fresno's oldest and best preserved family homes. It boasts dozens of custom features, including an octagonal master bedroom, a turreted roof and intricate gingerbread ornamentation.Miss California Pageant
Every year in June the Miss California Pageant, the official preliminary to Miss America, is held in Fresno.Rogue Festival
The Rogue is a non-juried arts festival that celebrates the independent performer and artist. This typically-in-March annual event comprises theater, music, dance, film, performance art, puppetry, spoken word, storytelling, visual arts and more. It has the typical elements of a Fringe Festival... but with a "21st century sensibility".Save Mart Center
The Save Mart Center
is a newer professional-level indoor arena (cap:16,000) completed in 2003, located at the Shaw Avenue and Hwy 168 interchange in NE Fresno. It has hosted a wide range of music acts, from The Rolling Stones
to The Who
, as well as a huge variety of other events. It is currently the home of the Fresno State Men's & Women's Basketball teams and the Fresno Falcons
hockey team of the ECHL
. Simonian Farms
This 1901 family farm, located on the Fresno County Blossom Trail at the corner of Clovis & Jensen Avenues, grows and sells over 120 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Outside is a large collection of antique farm equipment.Warnors Theatre
Warnors Theatre is a historic theatre located in Downtown Fresno. Opened in 1928 the theatre was designed by B. Marcus Priteca
. It is on the National Register of Historic Places
. The theatre has a pipe organ
which was used primarily for silent movies
during the era.
- Jenifer Alcorn - Retired female professional boxer
- Phil Austin - Writer; actor; The Firesign Theatre comedy troupe
- Alan Autry - Actor; mayor of Fresno
- Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. - Actor; singer; musician
- Robert Beltran - Actor, Star Trek Voyager
- Laura Berg - Olympic gold medalist softball player
- Deborah Blum - Fresno Bee Pulitzer Prize winner
- Frenchy Bordagaray - Baseball player
- Bruce Bowen - NBA player, San Antonio Spurs
- Gregory "Pappy" Boyington - World War II ace, retired in Fresno
- Johnny Boyd - AAA and USAC Champ Car driver
- Ernie C - Musician/Guitarist for Ice T's rock group Body Count
- Ron Catalano Musician
- Frank Chance - Baseball Hall of Famer
- Cher, aka Cherilyn Sarkisian - Singer; actress; Fresno High School alumna
- Mike Connors, aka Krekor Ohanian - Actor, Mannix
- Victor Conte - BALCO founder
- Young Corbett III - Professional boxer
- Jim Costa - U.S. House of Representatives
- Ron Cox - Former NFL player
- Tyrone Culver - Miami Dolphins NFL player
- Ktrij Devejian - Armenian Apostolic Church Press Secretary; formerly of Fresno
- Trent Dilfer - San Francisco 49ers quarterback; Former Fresno State Quaterback
- Henry Ellard - Los Angeles Rams WR
- Johnny Estrada - MLB player
- Andrew Rodriguez- Comedian; Actor; Navy Hospital Corpsman
- William Everson - Poet
- Kevin Federline - Dancer; rapper; ex-husband of Britney Spears
- Andy Finch - US Olympic snowboarding team
- Tom Flores - first Hispanic-American quarterback in professional football; Oakland Raiders head coach
- Mac Foster - Professional boxer
- Mark Gardner - MLB pitcher
- Matt Garza - MLB pitcher
- Matt Giordano - Indianapolis Colts NFL safety
- Bill Glasson - PGA Tour golfer
- Tom Goodwin - MLB player
- Christopher Gorham - actor
- Kenny Guinn - Former Governor of Nevada
- Sid Haig - actor
- Brandon Hancock - USC fullback; fitness expert
- Victor Davis Hanson - Scholar; historian; author
- David Harris - Vietnam War draft resistance leader
- Steve Hosey - Former MLB player
- Pat Howell - Football player
- Rex Hudler - Former MLB player
- Chris Jefferies - Basketball player
- Adam Jennings - Atlanta Falcons NFL player
- Bill Jones - Former California secretary of state
- Bobby Jones - Former MLB pitcher
- Gary Jules - Singer
- Kirk Kerkorian - Billionaire businessman
- Joanna Kerns - Actress from Growing Pains, McLane High School alumna
- Richard Kiel - Actor
- Jordan Knight - Musician
- Josh Koscheck-Mixed Martial Artist; Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Daryle Lamonica - Former Oakland Raiders quarterback.
- Claude "Pop" Laval - Photographer; historian
- Steven Anthony Lawrence - Actor
- Philip Levine - Poet
- Larry Levis - Poet
- Brook Lopez - NBA Basketball player
- Robin Lopez - NBA Basketball player
- Hector Lizarraga - former IBF boxer
- Ricky Manning, Jr. - Chicago Bears NFL player
- J. P. Manoux - Actor
- Richard Marshall - NFL player
- Bob Mathias - Olympic Gold Medal Decathlete; U.S. congressman
- Marcus McCauley - Minnesota Vikings NFL Player
- Kevin F. McCready - Psychologist; contributor to anti-psychiatrymovement
- Audra McDonald - Actress; singer
- Tim McDonald - Former Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers NFL Player
- Barry McGuire - Rock/folk singer; songwriter
- Barbara Morgan - Astronaut; educator
- Armen Nalbandian - Musician, Composer
- Lorenzo Neal - San Diego Chargers NFL fullback
- Carson Palmer - Cincinnati Bengals NFL quarterback
- Sam Peckinpah - writer; director
- Planet Asia - Rapper from Fresno; relocated to San Francisco
- Chuck Poochigian - California state senator
- Keith Poole - NFL player; New Orleans Saints; Clovis High Alumni
- James Porteous - Inventor
- Phil Roman - Animator and Founder of Film Roman
- Les Richter - NFL player
- Aaron Ruell - Actor; Director
- Johnny Russell - Singer; songwriter
- William Saroyan - Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright; novelist
- Gary Scelzi - Four-time NHRA champion
- Tom Seaver - Hall of Fame baseball pitcher
- Juan Serrano - Flamenco guitarist
- David Seville, aka Ross Bagdasarian - songwriter; recording artist
- Dennis Springer - Former MLB pitcher
- Gary Soto - Author; poet
- Stavesacre - Christian rock band
- DeShawn Stevenson - NBA player
- Randy Stumpfhauser - BMX Pro and 4x World Champion
- Jerry Tarkanian - Former NCAA basketball head coach
- Brian Turner - Poet
- Billy Volek - Current NFL Quarterback, Former Fresno State Quarterback
- Bill Vukovich - Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner
- Heidi Watney -- Boston Red Sox Reporter
- Nick Watney - PGA Tour golfer
- Marcus Wesson - Convicted of filicide
- Del Webb - Real estate developer
- Flex Wheeler - IFBB Professional Bodybuilding legend.
- Randy Williams - 1972 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Long Jump at the Munich Olympics
- Ickey Woods - Former Cincinnati Bengals fullback
- Steve Yarbrough - Writer
- Charle Young- Former NFL All Pro Tight End
- Steve Zaillian - Screenwriter
- Warren Zevon - Musician
is Fresno's Pacifica station, and one of Fresno's few non-commercial, non-corporate radio stations.
KMJ was Fresno's first radio station; it began broadcasting in 1922. Over the years its powerful 50,000-watt signal could clearly be heard throughout much of California. Here are the Fresno radio stations currently broadcasting:FM Stations
To avoid interference with existing VHF
television stations in the San Francisco Bay Area and those planned for Chico
, and Stockton
, the FCC
decided that Fresno would only have UHF
television stations. The very first Fresno television station to begin broadcasting was KMJ-TV, now known as KSEE
, Channel 24, which began broadcasting on June 1
. Here are the Fresno television stations currently on the air:
Internet Community Sites
Fresno has eight sister cities
, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI).
- Kochi, Japan
- Lahore, Pakistan
- Mashhad, Iran
- Morogoro, Tanzania
- Münster, Germany
- Taraz, Kazakhstan
- Torreón, Mexico
- Verona, Italy
- Catubig, Samar, Philippines
- Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines
Fresno is served by a main north/south freeway State Route 99
. Other highways include the State Route 168
(Sierra Freeway), which is an east-west bound freeway that leads to the city of Clovis
and Huntington Lake, State Route 41
(Yosemite Freeway/Eisenhower Freeway) that comes into Fresno from the south via Atascadero
, and State Route 180
(Kings Canyon Freeway) that comes from the west via Mendota
and from the east in Kings Canyon National Park.
Fresno is the largest U.S. city not directly linked to an Interstate highway. Perhaps in light of this, but probably more because of increasing traffic on Interstate 5 on the west side of the Central Valley, much discussion has been made to upgrade SR 99 to interstate standards and, eventually, incorporate it into the interstate system, most likely as Interstate 9. Major improvements to signage, lane width, median separation, vertical clearance, and other concerns are currently underway.
Fresno Yosemite International Airport
(FAT)/(FYI), until recently "Fresno Air Terminal", provides regularly scheduled commercial airline service. The airport serves an estimated 1.3 million passengers annually to domestic and two international destinations.
Fresno Chandler Executive Airport (FCH) is located 2 mi (3 km) southwest of Downtown Fresno. Built in the 1920s, it is one of the oldest operational airports in California. The airport currently serves as a general aviation airport.
Sierra Sky Park Airport, located 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
located 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 branchlines heading west and south out of the city.
is provided by the Fresno Area Express
. It consists entirely on buses serving the greater Fresno metropolitan area. Intercity and long-distance bus service is provided by Greyhound
and Orange Belt Stages
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.