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 heritage.
A few weeks ago we received good news
about a partial victory in our effort to have the Fulton Mall listed on
the National Register of
Historic Places. The “determination of
eligibility” we won for the Mall falls short of actual listing,
but it gives the Mall the same legal protections as listing and it
automatically puts the Mall on the California Register of
Historical Resources. In case anyone has missed the news,
below is the press release.
On August 20, 2010, the National Park Service
made the following announcement:
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”
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
a letter from Milford Wayne Donaldson, State Historic Preservation
“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
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
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
interest of accuracy and objectivity.
For example, we have replaced value-laden terms "benefits"
"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.
Nomination for the Fulton Mall
Fulton Mall, a 6-block publicly owned urban park, paid for with federal
renewal funds and held in trust by the City of Fresno for the over 250
people of the United States of America, has been nominated by the
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
What is the National
Register of Historic Places?
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.
What is the History
the Fulton Mall?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
designation allows use of the California Historical Building Code,
which provides greater flexibility in meeting health and safety
values may increase for historic properties.
sites are important in heritage and cultural tourism.
Register properties are eligible for special grants and funds.
designated historic property is protected under local, state and
historical resource under CEQA (the California Environmental Quality
thorough review would be required for proposed significant changes to
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?
of the Mall would NOT extend to the buildings that line the Mall, only
the urban park, its landscape features and infrastructure.
of the Mall would permit associated buildings to advertise or identify
themselves in terms of their proximity to a nationally historic
What will be the
Economic Impacts to Downtown Development?
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
What Happens Next?
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.
nomination of the Fulton Mall to the National Register will then be
reviewed at the November meeting of the State Historical Resources
For more information
contact: 1,000 Friends of Fresno at
Cultural Landscape Foundation at
Fresno Properties on the
Fresno Sanitary Landfill
Jensen Avenues; 1937, Jean Vincenz)
Company (100 M
Street; 1907; Eugene Mathewson)
1914; Lawrence K. Cone)
P Street; 1903, 1909, 1910)
Printery (2130 Kern
Street; 1919; Edward Glass and Charles Butner)
Bank of Italy
Fulton Mall; 1917; R.F. Felchlin Co.
Charles Franklin, architect)
Tulare Street; 1889)
Tulare; 1911; Benjamin G. McDougall)
Fe Railroad Depot (2650
Tulare Street; 1899; W.B. Story, Builder)
Santa Fe Hotel
Thomas R. Meux Home (1007 R
Rehorn Home (1050 S
Street; 1906; Alexander C. Swartz)
H.H. Brix Mansion (2844
Fresno Street; 1911; Edward T. Foulkes)
Physician's Building (2607
Fresno Street; 1926; Charles E. Butner)
Fresno Street; 1930; Charles E. Butner)
Old Fresno Water Tower (2444
Fresno Street; 1894; George Washington Maher)
Fresno Street; 1936; Allied Architects of Fresno)
Fresno Bee Building (1545 Van
Ness Avenue; 1922; Leonard F. Starks)
Fulton Street; 1929; B. Marcus Priteca)
Einstein Home (1600 M
Street; 1912; Edward T. Foulkes)
C.A. Residence Hall (1660 M
Street; 1922; Julia Morgan)
Romain Home (2055 San
Joaquin Street; 1905; Eugene Mathewson)
Tower Theatre (1201 N.
Wishon; 1939; S. Charles Lee)
Home (1520 E.
Olive Avenue; R.F. Felchlin)
Fresno City College
Old Administration Building (1101 E.
University Avenue; 1916; George McDougall)
Underground Gardens (5021 W.
Shaw Avenue; 1906)
The Hotel Californian (851 Van
Ness Avenue; 1923; R.F. Felchlin Co., Raymond Shaw, architect)
Joaquin Light and Power Company Building/PGE
Fulton Street; 1923; R.F. Felchlin Co.)
Mansion (in County)
For a .pdf (printable version) of
this documentclick here
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 heritage.
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.
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
[Photographs © Hal Tokmakian 2004.]
The Coalition's brochure
describing a walking tour of the Fulton Mall may be obtained by calling
Essays and Historical Information About the Fulton Mall
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.
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
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 Association of
Fresno 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.
AROUND THE WORLD
St. Petersburg, Russia
Steve Geil, left, works with Del
Estabrooke of the city's Public Works Department to determine the
feasibility of renovating the city-owned Hobbs-Parsons Building. Geil
is negotiating with Fresno's Redevelopment Agency to buy the
103-year-old produce warehouse at Tulare and H streets.
Christian Parley / The Fresno Bee
The Fresno Bee
August 21, 2006
Excerpts from the article:
historic building remodeled for new generations to enjoy.
A business created with jobs to fill.
A big stride taken in downtown revitalization.
And profits for investors.
Call it the grand slam of hopes for the 103-year-old Hobbs-Parsons
Building at the corner of H and Tulare streets in downtown Fresno,
across from Grizzlies Stadium.
officials say they're confident the hopes will come true now that
businessman Steve Geil and the Redevelopment Agency have begun talks on
a deal that would transform the weathered former produce warehouse into
a downtown jewel.
Geil, who calls himself a "redeveloper" with a half-dozen successful
downtown rehab projects under his belt, wants to turn the long, narrow
building into offices and a restaurant. The City Council, sitting as
the agency board, directed staff Tuesday to negotiate the sale of the
building to a company headed by Geil.
Council Member/agency Chairwoman Cynthia Sterling says Geil's project
will be the catalyst for more development around the stadium.
"We're so supportive of what Steve is doing," Sterling said. "He is
showing what we can do with historic buildings. This is the start."
Geil promises to retain the building's architectural heritage even as
he frees it from decades of grime, neglect and muddled remodeling...
report from Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Marlene Murphey
shows Geil has a record of downtown success. It includes the remodel of
three buildings on Van Ness Avenue, two occupied by federal workers and
the third by city construction management employees.
> "I've never lost money on a downtown project," Geil said.
Geil's challenge is taking a building listed on the Fresno Local
Register of Historic Resources, retaining an architectural charm
protected by law and producing a safe building ready for the Internet
Constructed in 1903, the building for years was home to the
Hobbs-Parsons Company, a fruit and produce wholesaler. In a 1978 review
of the building for the city, architect William Patnaude wrote that
"only two or three buildings of this era still stand in the city..."
...Geil said he
hired Johnson Architecture, which did designs for the renovated Santa
Fe Depot, to bridge past and present...
Geil said he
sees potential. Armed with designs from Johnson Architecture's Brian
Gallo, he leads a tour of the building at a double-time clip.
The building's south end is a large cold-storage area. The fans still
work and signs on the wall identify where produce was to be stored:
baby bok choy, lemongrass, yuchoy, sugar peas, to name a few...
east wall once had large, arched openings so trucks hauling produce
could drive inside. The openings were filled in, but Geil wants to turn
them into large windows with Grizzlies Stadium as a backdrop.
Said Geil: "I like bringing old buildings back and making them useful.
The reporter can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 441-6272.
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
The Grand Opening of the Eaton Plaza Amphitheater was held on August 3,
2006. The Fresno Bee Article about the event is here.
debut kicks off renovation at Fresno's Eaton Plaza.
George Hostetter / The Fresno Bee
Friday, August 4, 2006
Excerpt from the
It took nearly six
decades, but downtown Fresno's Eaton Plaza is finally looking like a
> City officials celebrated the opening of Eaton's new amphitheater
Thursday evening, marking completion of the first phase in the park's
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
The reporter can be
reached at email@example.com (559) 441-6272.
article, with photos by Darrel Wong.
For more information about
Eaton Plaza, please see the Downtown
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
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 www.fresno.gov/downtown/parking.
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.)
Architecture in Fresno
A Guide to Historic Architecture in
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
- Historic Building
Surveys of Selected Areas
- Biographies of
Prominent Architects, Designers and Builders
- Historic Preservation
- A Guide to Local
Historic Preservation Research Resources
- Historic Residence
A Guide for the Layperson to Sources of Building Data in Fresno