The Downtown Fresno Coalition was formed to promote responsible revitalization of downtown Fresno, making it not only a more prosperous commercial center, but also an attractive gathering place for Fresno's diverse population to intermingle and hold cultural and ethnic events. We also wish to preserve downtown
Fresno's rich architectural


     We are starting a campaign to counter City Hall propaganda (funded by you, the taxpayer) claiming that tearing up Fulton Mall to make way for automobiles will magically turn the downtown into a shopping mecca.
     Those who are pushing this move prefer to ignore these facts: Traffic moved freely on Fulton Street when it began to fail as a retail center in the early 1960s as businesses moved north to Manchester Center and elsewhere.   Fulton Mall was built in an effort to reverse this trend.  With the convenience of online shopping and the lure of Fashion Fair, Sierra Vista Mall, and River Park, there is little incentive to go downtown to shop.  Fulton Mall has received recognition as a masterpiece of mid-twentieth century landscape architecture.  In 2010 it was declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and was listed in the California Register of Historical Resources.  The Mall has become an urban park that provides a tree-filled place of refuge from the fumes and noise of vehicular traffic.  Properly maintained and promoted, it can become destination point with cafes and art galleries.
     Your tax-deductible contribution will help us to make our fellow citizens aware of our viewpoint and make City Hall listen.
     Write your check to 1000 Friends of Fresno and put “Save the Mall” on the memo line.

Mail to:  1000 Friends of Fresno, 4781 E. Gettysburg Ave., Fresno, CA  93726

Enclosed is my/our check for the “Save the Mall “ Fund


Phone _____________________  E-mail address__________________________

Yes / No  You may add my/our name(s) to advertisements advocating saving the Mall.


Downtown Fresno Coalition:

Save the Fulton Mall!!! :   

On August 20, 2010, the National Park Service made the following announcement: 

“The Fulton Mall has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places at the state and local levels of significance under National Register Criteria A and C, in the areas of Landscape Architecture, Community Planning and Development, Recreation/Entertainment, and Social History.  A collaborative effort of the  respected urban planner Victor Gruen and celebrated twentieth-century landscape architect Garrett Eckbo, the Fulton Mall was completed in 1964 during the early, defining era of the discipline known as modern urban design and planning”

The National Park Service announcement takes note of the Mall’s importance as  a work of “master landscape architect, Garrett Eckbo, whose career as both teacher and practitioner helped transform the field of post-war landscape architecture.”

This decision by the National Park Service ensures that the Fulton Mall must be treated as a historical resource under the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Environmental Policy Act, and Section 4(f) of the U. S. Department of Transportation Act.

From a letter from Milford Wayne Donaldson, State Historic Preservation Officer:
“I am writing to inform you that on August 20, 2010, Fulton Mall was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (National Register).  As a result of being determined eligible for the National Register, this property has been listed in the California Register of Historical Resources, pursuant to Section 4851(a)(2) of the Public Resources Code.”


Here is The Downtown Fresno Coalition's application to the National Register  (pdf)

A "Fact Sheet" regarding the nomination of the Fulton Mall to the National Register of Historic Places was prepared by Karana Hattersley-Drayton, Historic Preservation Manager of the City of Fresno.  Following is a revision prepared by the applicants of the Fulton Mall nomination in the interest of accuracy and objectivity.  For example, we have replaced value-laden terms "benefits" and "constraints" with the neutral term "effects."  Also we have removed suggestions that private property may be adversely affected by the listing of the mall itself.

Information About:

National Register Nomination for the Fulton Mall

Fresno's Fulton Mall, a 6-block publicly owned urban park, paid for with federal urban renewal funds and held in trust by the City of Fresno for the over 250 million people of the United States of America, has been nominated by the Downtown Fresno Coalition to the National Register of Historic Places.  The following attempts to answer questions posed by property owners and the public, regarding effects of listing. 

What is the National Register of Historic Places?

  • The National Register of Historic Places was established by the United States Congress in 1966.  It is considered an "authoritative guide" for the identification of the Nation's cultural resources.  There are 28 sites in Fresno on the National Register of Historic Places.

(See attached list).

What is the History of the Fulton Mall?

  • The Fulton Mall is a pedestrian Mall and urban park in downtown Fresno and was developed in 1964.  It is six blocks, one-half mile, in length, with three partial cross malls.  The Mall was designed by Garrett Eckbo for Victor Gruen and Associates, as the intended centerpiece of the comprehensive federal urban renewal plan for the   transformation of Fresno's downtown area.

Why Was It Nominated for Historic Status?  What were the Criteria for the Nomination?

  • The Fresno Fulton Mall was nominated by the applicant under Criterion C of the National Register as 1) the finest example of pedestrian mall design resulting from the federal government's urban renewal programs of the post World-War Two era;

2) it has been acknowledged as a major achievement of Garrett Eckbo, one of the leading theoreticians and practitioners of 20th century landscape architecture; and 3) as an excellent example of the influence of Modernist (post-World War II) design ideas on landscape architecture.

  • The Fulton Mall was also nominated under Criterion A for recreation and social history because of the important way it provides a venue for human interaction and social events in central Fresno.
  • Because the Mall is less than 50 years of age it must also meet the threshold under Criterion G, as a property of "exceptional importance."    This includes a discussion of the property's historic context, scholarly and comparative evaluation, and the rate of loss of comparable properties within the last 50 years.

Who Prepared the National Register Nomination?

  • The nomination of the Fulton Mall was prepared by the Downtown Fresno Coalition, an organization of concerned citizens. 

What are the Effects of Being Listed on the National Register?

  • Historic designation allows use of the California Historical Building Code, which provides greater flexibility in meeting health and safety requirements.
  • Property values may increase for historic properties.
  • Historic sites are important in heritage and cultural tourism.
  • National Register properties are eligible for special grants and funds.
  • A designated historic property is protected under local, state and federal law.
  • As a historical resource under CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act),more thorough review would be required for proposed significant changes to the Mall. 
  • Generally, historic properties must use the Secretary of Interior's Standards. Normally one repairs or replaces in kind, but changes are also possible, as with the proposed "backpack" addition to the National Register Fresno Bee (Met) building.

How Would National Register Designation for the Mall Affect the Buildings Along the Mall?

  • Designation of the Mall would NOT extend to the buildings that line the Mall, only the urban park, its landscape features and infrastructure.
  • Designation of the Mall would permit associated buildings to advertise or identify themselves in terms of their proximity to a nationally historic resource.

What will be the Economic Impacts to Downtown Development?

  • The question of economic impacts is complex and multifaceted: To answer this, one might consider these questions:  How have pedestrian malls listed on the National Register fared throughout the United States and why?   Are businesses along the Fulton Mall economically successful now?  How do we define and who defines "success?"
  •  Are listing and economic interests mutually exclusive?

What Happens Next?

  • The City of Fresno and the Downtown Association are conducting numerous public workshops over the next several months.  The Historic Preservation Commission will be asked to make a recommendation on the nomination at their October 13th special meeting.
  • The nomination of the Fulton Mall to the National Register will then be reviewed at the November meeting of the State Historical Resources Commission.

For more information contact:  1,000 Friends of Fresno at; or
Cultural Landscape Foundation at

Fresno Properties on the
National Register

Historic Landmark:

Fresno Sanitary Landfill (West and Jensen Avenues; 1937, Jean Vincenz)

Historic Places:

Fresno Brewing Company   (100 M Street; 1907; Eugene Mathewson)
Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church (2226 Ventura; 1914;  Lawrence K. Cone)
The Warehouse Row Buildings (725-764 P Street; 1903, 1909, 1910)
The Fresno Republican Printery (2130 Kern Street; 1919; Edward Glass and Charles Butner)
The Bank of Italy Building (1001 Fulton Mall; 1917; R.F. Felchlin Co.  Charles Franklin, architect)
Southern Pacific Railroad Depot (1713 Tulare Street; 1889)
Maubridge Apartment Building
(2344 Tulare; 1911; Benjamin G. McDougall)
Santa Fe Railroad Depot (2650 Tulare Street; 1899; W.B. Story, Builder)
The Santa Fe Hotel
The Thomas R. Meux Home (1007 R Street; 1889)
The Rehorn Home (1050 S Street; 1906; Alexander C. Swartz)
The H.H. Brix Mansion (2844 Fresno Street; 1911; Edward T. Foulkes)
The Physician's Building (2607 Fresno Street; 1926; Charles E. Butner)
Twining Laboratories (2527 Fresno Street; 1930; Charles E. Butner)
Old Fresno Water Tower
(2444 Fresno Street; 1894; George Washington Maher)
Fresno Memorial Auditorium (2425 Fresno Street; 1936; Allied Architects of Fresno)
The Fresno Bee Building (1545 Van Ness Avenue; 1922; Leonard F. Starks)
The Pantages (Warnor's) Theatre (1400 Fulton Street; 1929; B. Marcus Priteca)
The Einstein Home (1600 M Street; 1912; Edward T. Foulkes)
Y.W. C.A. Residence Hall (1660 M Street; 1922; Julia Morgan)
The Romain Home (2055 San Joaquin Street; 1905; Eugene Mathewson)
The Tower Theatre (1201 N. Wishon; 1939; S. Charles Lee)
Kindler Home (1520 E. Olive Avenue; R.F. Felchlin)
The Fresno City College Old Administration Building (1101 E. University Avenue; 1916;  George McDougall)
Forestiere Underground Gardens (5021 W. Shaw Avenue; 1906)
The Hotel Californian
(851 Van Ness Avenue; 1923; R.F. Felchlin Co., Raymond Shaw, architect)
San Joaquin Light and Power Company Building/PGE Building (1401 Fulton Street; 1923;   R.F. Felchlin Co.)
Kearney Mansion (in County)

  • For a .pdf (printable version) of this documentclick here

Fulton Mall

One of the Downtown Fresno Coalition's most abiding concerns is to ensure that the Fulton Mall be preserved and properly appreciated as one of Fresno's most distinctive landmarks. Completed in 1964, the Fulton Mall was the centerpiece of a master plan to bring a unified design to downtown Fresno. The plan was created by the distinguished architectural and planning firm Victor Gruen and Associates, which then engaged Garrett Eckbo to design the Mall. Through his practice and theoretical writings Eckbo had revolutionized landscape architecture, gaining national and international prominence as one of the most eminent landscape architects of the 20th Century.

The Mall was created by closing six blocks of Fulton Street along with short segments of three intersecting streets to vehicular traffic. Eckbo's design brilliantly integrates art and landscape architecture to create a parklike setting containing sculptures, pools, fountains, flowing streams, trees, shrubs, flowers, seating areas, and tot lots.

The Fulton Mall immediately received worldwide attention. National magazines published articles about it and more than fifty cities sent official delegations to inspect it. Professional publications have praised the Mall for setting a high standard of design. The Mall provides a serene oasis in the center of a bustling city, and in the words of Eckbo has become "a social space, a focus of community interest and events, a promenade and rendezvous with friends. . . ."

The following photographs give a small sampling of what the Mall offers. Our hope is that they will encourage the viewer to visit the Mall. Groups interested in a free guided tour should leave a message at 291-2261. (Please click on any image to view it in detail, with caption.)

[Photographs © Hal Tokmakian 2004.]

The Coalition's brochure describing a walking tour of the Fulton Mall may be obtained by calling (559) 291-2261.

Photo Essays and Historical Information About the Fulton Mall

A virtual walking tour, developed by the Fresno County Office of Tourism, begins at the north end of the Mall and continues south in the sequence of the map given on their web site. It includes a brief history of the Valley, along with photos of the Mall's historic architecture and the public art collection displayed on the Mall. Text used on the web site was taken from the Fresno Fulton Mall Walking Tour brochure, with information compiled by Mabelle Selland, Heritage Fresno.

The Downtown Fresno Coalition also provides a collection of photographs of the Mall, with interesting explanations of the meaning of the art pieces as they relate to the history of the Valley. The Coalition's brochure describing a walking tour of the Fulton Mall may be obtained by calling (559) 291-2261.

A list of Historic Groups in Fresno, California, prepared by the Preservation Committee of the Fresno City and Couty Historical Society, provides links to information about historic districts and architecture in Fresno. Links to six walking tours are provided, including a Guide to Historic Architecture on the Fulton Mall.

The Downtown Fresno Partnership provides some great photos of Downtown Fresno in their Gallery of Past Events, including photos of Fulton Mall art and Cinco De Mayo events on the Mall, and Brad Polzin's Photo Gallery of Fulton Plaza Thursdays. The Association also lists downtown restaurants by category, along with a downtown parking guide with printable maps, a stadium parking map, and a history of Fulton Mall revitalization efforts.

To contact your Fresno City Council member about the proposed decisions affecting the Fulton Mall, please see the 1000 Friends of Fresno Elected Officials page, which provides addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and district maps of all City Council members.



Bruges, Belgium 


Budapest, Hungary 

Copenhagen, Denmark

Delft, Holland 

Dublin, Ireland

Hanover, Germany

Madrid, Spain 

Munich, Germany 

Beijing, China 

Rouen, France

Stockholm, Sweden

St. Petersburg, Russia

Warsaw, Poland

Related Links

Evolution of Fresno's Eaton Plaza Master Plan

Eaton Plaza is located at the heart of Fresno’s Civic Center between the Memorial Auditorium, Fresno Library, Federal Courthouse and Fresno Police Station. The historic Fresno Water Tower, listed on the National Registry, sits at the north corner overlooking the park.

MPA Design is working through an extensive public participation process to develop a master plan to transform the park, currently used for surface parking, to a new urban plaza. Through a series of stakeholder meetings of as many as 60 people, community meetings of 30-50 people, city staff meetings, and two questionnaires to gain knowledge of the desired activities and image of the park, MPA has prepared 7 master plan schemes with preliminary cost estimates, for presentation. Thereafter through a series of public meetings and stakeholder meetings, a consensus plan has been selected by the community which will be presented to the City Council for approval, summer 2004.
-- From the MPA Design Web site.

The Grand Opening of the Eaton Plaza Amphitheater was held on August 3, 2006. The Fresno Bee Article about the event is here.


Amphitheater's debut kicks off renovation at Fresno's Eaton Plaza.

By George Hostetter / The Fresno Bee
Friday, August 4, 2006

Excerpt from the article:

It took nearly six decades, but downtown Fresno's Eaton Plaza is finally looking like a real park.

> City officials celebrated the opening of Eaton's new amphitheater Thursday evening, marking completion of the first phase in the park's long-anticipated renovation.

City Manager Andy Souza said the amphitheater is "the rebirth of what is truly a beautiful green space downtown."

More than 100 people gathered in the amphitheater in the park's southwest corner to hear brief speeches from city officials, watch dance groups perform and listen to music.

"This is your park," Council Member Brian Calhoun told the audience. "This is what your taxes are paying for. This is why people are looking to downtown to come back."

The reporter can be reached at ghostetter@fresnobee.comor (559) 441-6272.
Original article, with photos by Darrel Wong.

For more information about Eaton Plaza, please see the Downtown Fresno Coalition page.


You can park in one of several garages and lots nearby – just look for the big white
"P" on blue signs, or the City's downtown parking guide at

Chinatown Revitalization

Fresno's Historic Chinatown was established in 1885 and was the central hub for Fresno for many years. In fact, most of Fresno's cultural and ethnic communities can call Chinatown their original home. From the late 1880s to the mid 1950s, it was not unusual to find a Japanese newspaper publisher next door to an Italian market. Walking down the streets of Chinatown, one could find a German feed shop, a Chinese herbalist, an African-American blacksmith shop, an Armenian hotel and a Basque restaurant and ball court. One could enjoy the tradition of Japanese Sumo Wrestling or see a live theater show and movie at a Mexican theater. (Continued, with photos, at Fresno's Chinatown.)

Historic Architecture in Fresno

A Guide to Historic Architecture in Fresno, California

Dedicated to providing information about historic architectural resources in Fresno, California, and encouraging their preservation. This site was created and is maintained by Kevin Enns-Rempel, with assistance from John Edward Powell and others. Please direct e-mail comments about this site to Kevin Enns-Rempel at link given above.

Also provided at this link:

  • Buildings in the National Register of Historic Places
  • Buildings in the Local Register of Historic Resources
  • Historic Districts
  • Historic Architecture Tours
  • Historic Building Surveys of Selected Areas
  • Biographies of Prominent Architects, Designers and Builders
  • Historic Preservation Organizations
  • A Guide to Local Historic Preservation Research Resources
  • Historic Residence Research Resources:
    A Guide for the Layperson to Sources of Building Data in Fresno

Copyright 2008 1000 Friends of Fresno