City Celebrates Fresno History with Week of Activities May 3-10

FRESNO -- Mayor Ashley Swearengin has proclaimed May 3 – 10 “Historic Preservation Week” as part of the celebratory activities around the United States during the National Trust’s Historic Preservation Month. The National Trust theme this year is a “New Age of Preservation: Embark, Inspire, Engage.”

The City of Fresno adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance in 1979 which established a Local Register of Historic Resources as well as a Historic Preservation Commission. Through the Ordinance the City Council recognized that a region’s historical resources help to define a sense of place, connect us to our past, impart pride in its citizens, and are also important in economic revitalization and in heritage tourism.

Locally there will be numerous opportunities to engage and hopefully be inspired at a series of activities and events celebrating the region’s diverse history. Participating with the City in the week-long festivities are The Fresno Historical Society, the Fresno Housing Authority, Fresno State University’s Humanics Program, Heritage Fresno, Warnors Center for the Performing Arts and several property owners in the South Van Ness Industrial District.

All activities are free unless otherwise noted:

Saturday, May 3: Walking Tour of the South Van Ness Industrial District. 10 am to noon, meet at 175 Fulton Street. The area south of Fresno’s downtown was the heart of Armenian Town and the region’s fruit packing industry. Some of the sites on this walking tour include the J.M. Menend/Murray Ice Cream Company Building, the San Joaquin Grocery Warehouse and Sham’s Rio Grande Service Station, which was recently restored following a devastating fire. Tour led by Karana Hattersley-Drayton, the City’s Historic Preservation Project Manager. Event co-sponsored by Alena Foods and Baskin Mechanical Engineers.

Friday, May 9: The Great Architects of Historic Fresno Scavenger Hunt, 5:30 pm registration, hunt begins at 6 PM, Warnor’s Theater, 1400 Fulton Street. Grab your friends, your smart phone and your running shoes for this updated twist on the traditional scavenger hunt. How many historic resources can you and your team find? Yes, this is a competition. Group teams are encouraged! All ticket sales benefit the Students4Giving Philanthropy Project of Humanics at Fresno State. To register: Co-sponsored by the Fresno State Humanics Program and the Warnors Center for the Performing Arts.

Saturday, May 10: “The New Deal”: Walking Tour of Fresno’s Depression-era Architecture with Historic Displays, 10-noon, Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium Foyer, 2425 Fresno Street. Join Karana Hattersley-Drayton, Historic Preservation Project Manager and members of the Historic Preservation Commission for a walking tour of New Deal buildings and infrastructure in and around the City’s 1936 Memorial Auditorium. The walk will be about a mile in length on city streets. Heritage Fresno will provide refreshments and authors Janice Stevens and Pat Hunter will be on hand to sell and autograph their books on Fresno’s architecture and history. Fresno Historical Society staff will display historic photos depicting the era when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “alphabet soup” of federal agencies put people back to work through a variety of agencies and projects.

Saturday, May 10: Helm Home Open House, noon-2 pm, 1749 L Street. The 1902 Mission Revival style “Alamo House” has been transformed from a pile of code violations and cracking plaster into a whitewashed gem. Join Fresno Housing Authority staff for this personal tour of the restored and refurbished interior. Refreshments will be served.

Saturday, May 10th: Meux Home Museum Celebrates Mother's Day with a Victorian Garden Tea. Gates open at 11:00 am seating begins at 11:30 am. $35.00 per person includes luncheon and tour of historic Meux family home. Reservations: (559) 291-4520.

For general information about all the Preservation Week events please contact Karana Hattersley-Drayton, City of Fresno Historic Preservation Project Manager, (559) 621-8520 or