City Celebrates Fresno History with Week of Activities May 3-11

FRESNO -- Mayor Ashley Swearengin has proclaimed May 3 – 11 “Historic Preservation Week” as part of the celebratory activities around the United States during the National Trust’s Historic Preservation Month. This year’s theme is “See, Save It, Celebrate It.”

There will be plenty to see and celebrate in the variety of activities planned to promote awareness and appreciation for the region’s history and heritage. 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, and the Lowell Community Development Corporation.

The following activities are scheduled:

Friday, May 3: Speakeasy: A Fresno Historical Society Gala and Fundraiser, 7-11 p.m. The event will be held at a secret historic Fresno location! (So secret you need a password!). All proceeds benefit the Fresno Historical Society. 1920s era costumes encouraged. Prizes available for the best costume. Tickets and additional information available at

Saturday, May 4: A Celebration of Fresno’s Aviation Heritage, 9:30 a.m.—2 p.m., Chandler Airport, 510 W. Kearney Boulevard. This full day of family fun centers around the Chandler Air Terminal, constructed by the City of Fresno in 1937 with funding from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Speakers include Karana Hattersley-Drayton from the City of Fresno; author Janice Stevens; George F. Gruner, former executive editor of the Fresno Bee; and Fresno Bee “Ask Me” columnist Paula Lloyd. The Pop Laval Foundation and Gallery will have an exhibit dedicated to Fresno’s aviation history. In addition, a fly-in and exhibit of historic airplanes and cars will add to the day’s festivities. The event is sponsored by Heritage Fresno in collaboration with Central Valley Aviation Association and Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 376. Free. For more information: 621-8030 (Fly-in information only) or (243-5848).

Thursday, May 9: Art Hop and Book Signing; 5-8 p.m., Old Fresno Water Tower, 2444 Fresno Street with local authors Pat Hunter, Janice Stevens, Michael Seamas, Joe Garcia and others. Tour of the 1894 Water Tower (a National and Local Historic Register property) led by docents Roger Taylor and Herb Arden. Sponsored by HandsOn Central California. Free. For more information: 237-3101 or 477-6231.

Saturday, May 11: Open House at the Helm Home, 10 a.m.-noon, 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. The interior rehabilitation will still be in progress the day of the tour. Join Preservation Architect Scott Vincent, Housing Authority Executive Director Preston Prince and the City’s Historic Preservation Project Manager Karana Hattersley-Drayton for an inside look. Sponsored by the Fresno Housing Authority and the City of Fresno. Free. For more information: 621-8520.

Saturday May 11: Historic Lowell Neighborhood Walking Tour, 1-4 p.m. Tour begins at the Dickey Youth Development Center, 1515 E. Divisadero Street (at N. Glenn). The Lowell neighborhood developed in the 1880s as Fresno expanded north from the original railroad-platted grid. Here is a chance to get a crash course on Fresno’s architectural history from 1890 on. Free, with suggested $5 donation for tour maps. Sponsored by the Lowell Community Development Corporation. For more information:  

Saturday, May 11: The Great Historic Fresno Scavenger Hunt, 4 p.m. (Registration), Start time, 5 p.m., 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! For information on entrance fees see "The Great Historic Fresno Scavenger Hunt" Facebook page. Pay via Donate button or by check payable to “Humanics at Fresno State.” Sponsored by the Fresno State University Humanics Program (a 501(c)3 registered organization) in cooperation with The Fresno Grizzlies and Warnor's Center for the Arts.