WHAT WE ARE ABOUT | OUR GOALS | A SIGN OF THE TIMES
HEALTHY STATS | TOURISM | LOCAL HISTORIC DISTRICTS | CONTRIBUTORS

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Fresno Water Tower
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 What we are about--

Heritage Fresno is dedicated to preserving historic sites, districts, buildings and objects. We will promote research and education in the field of historic preservation. We will work toward seeing that preservation laws are upheld and promote historic Fresno as a tourist destination.

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 If you agree with our goals--

We would appreciate your active interest and financial support to preserve and promote historic Fresno. You will find membership information below. If you have already joined our organization, we thank you for your assistance! Please tell your friends about us.

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A Sign of the Times?

Imagine a visit to San Antonio only to find a sign describing the Alamo. Would a stroll along Miami's South Beach be as festive if a sign replaced its colorful Art Deco structures? Could New York still be the Big Apple minus the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building or Central Park?

Authentic sites or destinations tell a distinctive story of our nation's development. In many situations, the visual vestiges of the past help interpret the people and places that have shaped that particular site or destination. Visitors are drawn to the "real feeling" that historic, cultural, and natural resources offer. (Cheryl Hargrove, Authenticity: The Essential Ingredient for Heritage Tourism, Forum Journal, Summer, 1999, Vol. 13, No. 4.) Authentic historic sites can build pride in one's community, foster a positive community image, and promote economic development.

Fresno's landmarks tell the story of our unique role in history--but we are losing valuable pages of the story each year. Our history is one of an arid desert settled quickly by people of many different nations, customs, religions and tongues who together would build the largest agricultural industry in the world. (Note: the story is much more interesting in its long form.) To accomplish the task, Lady Liberty would beckon to Fresno a remarkable cast of very ordinary immigrants surprisingly capable of accomplishing the extraordinary... under the hot, burning sun!

We hold a valuable history that is worth remembering. Today, during this period of intense downtown development pressure, it is very appropriate to ask what Fresno would be without its Armenian Town, Chinatown, Bank of Italy, Alamo house, St. John's Cathedral, German Town, Warnor's Theater, Warehouse Row, Santa Fe Station, Buddhist Temple, Jefferson District, Hotel Fresno, Southern Pacific Station, St. Genevieve's Church, Lowell District or the stately homes on S, T, and U Streets... The list could go on. Like fingerprints, our historic structures set our unique identity apart from all other cities in our nation, keeping us from lapsing into the ranks of the "Anytowns, USA." "Historic preservation is a necessary element in the heart and soul of any community." (Joyce Meskit)

Scattered signs noting sites which once held evidence of Fresno's role in history are poor substitutes for the real thing. Please join us in encouraging Fresno's leaders to adopt a creative new change of direction for our community- one that provides the opportunity for new development while retaining, preserving and rehabilitating its historic resources. "There may be arguments that, from a bottom line perspective, conflict with the idea of preserving an area's historic places.

But preservation is far broader than those discussions--it is a long-term investment in a community." (Joyce Meskit) Many cities have already proven that economic development and historic preservation are not mutually exclusive efforts. Greater success in revitalization can be found when allowing them to work hand in hand.

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Healthy Stats--

The Federal Tax Incentives for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings, administered by the National Park Service, is the nation's most effective Federal program to promote urban and rural revitalization. This 26 year-old program encourages the rehabilitation of historic buildings as it stimulates major private investment in our nation's older communities. During the fiscal year of 2002, the National Park Service approved projects that provided $3.2 billion in private investment at a cost of less than $520 million in the form of taxcredits! The effort created 50,484 jobs and provided 5,673 low and moderate income housing units across the country. Taking into account the new construction which often takes place in conjunction with approved rehabs, the program leveraged a ratio greater than 5:1 in private investment to public investment in the preservation and renewal of our old communities. If you'd like more information about this hardworking and successful program, visit: http://www2.cr.nps.govtps

(Source: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Federal Tax Incentives for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings-Statistical Report and Analysis for Fiscal Year 2002.)

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Heritage Tourism--

In 1997, the Travel Industry Association of America conducted its first survey to measure how many Americans were visiting "historical" and "cultural" attractions in the United States.

Using the standard TravelScope sample of 250,000 households, TIA found that 53.6 million Americans, or one-fourth of U.S. adults, visited "an historic place or museum" in the past year. When expanded to include cultural events and festivals, the numbers increased to 65.9 million, or one-third of U.S. adults.

Moreover, TIA found that these historic/cultural visitors spent an average of $615 per trip, compared to $425 for all U.S. travelers; stayed, on average, 4.7 nights away from home, compared to 3.3 nights for all travelers; and are more likely to stay in a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast than in private homes. No wonder entertainment giants like Disney want to replicate historic sites!

(Source: Peter H. Brink, Experiencing, America through Heritage Tourism. Forum Joumal, summer 1999, Vol. 13, No. 4.)

Local Historic Districts

Do you live or work in an area that might be eligible for historic district designation? If so, you might want to take a look at some of the benefits a historic district designation can provide.

1. Local Districts protect the investments of owners and residents. Studies throughout the country, in areas of varied population, location, and economic health have all demonstrated that local historic designation typically leads to property value appreciation rates that are consistent with, and more often greater than, appreciation rates of non-designated areas. Historic district designation encourages reinvestment and protects the architectural and historic character of buildings and neighborhoods.

2. Local Districts encourage better quality design. Local districts adopt their own design review guidelines to provide guidance for significant activities like demolitions, major alterations, and new construction in order to restrict incompatible development and protect an area's historic appearance and character. Historic districts often display a greater sense of relatedness, and greater public appeal than areas without historic designations.

3. Local Districts help the environment. As our resources become more limited, it is irresponsible to waste the built environment. The demolition of historic core neighborhoods encourages suburban sprawl and the decentralization of a city. It adds to landfill problems, creates greater dependence on the automobile, contributes to increased pollution, promotes the decay of inner cities and the unwise use of infrastructure, land, and other nonrenewable resources. Historic district revitalization should be a part of a comprehensive community recycling effort and environmental Policy.

4. Local Districts provide educational benefits. Historic districts provide a tangible link to the past and bring meaning to history and people's lives. Districts help explain the development of a place and serve as a record of ourselves and our communities.

5. Local Districts can enhance business and recruitment potential. Vibrant commercial cores and historic neighborhoods attract new business and quality industry. Companies continue to relocate to communities that offer their workers a higher quality of life, which is greatly enhanced by successful local preservation programs and stable historic districts.

6. Load Districts provide social and psychological benefits. The comfort found in human-scale environments, the desire to live and work in attractive surroundings, the emotional stability gained by maintaining a recognizable and walkable neighborhood, and the galvanizing effect of community-based group action are all direct results of most local historic district ventures.

In summary, local districts have proven to be a valuable tool in providing an improved quality of life for citizens across the country. While local historic districts will not automatically produce clean, beautiful and vital places, the district design regulations may help avoid an unplanned atrocity as the area is renewed. Historic districts serve to protect investments and spur revitalization. They continue to make it possible for countless people to enjoy, appreciate, and learn from our past. Meanwhile, they have helped parts of America become destination spots rather than places to bypass!

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Larry Balakian
Fred M. Bologna
Chuck & Midge Barrett
George Bursik
Chris Campbell
Tony & Juliet Campos
Lilyan Choo1jian
Val Comegys
A. Ben Ewell, Jr.
Lucille J. Gahveiian
Judy Ganulin
Coke & James Hallowell
Linda Hamilton
Mary Ann Hendrickson
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Heslin
Pat Hunter
 James McClatchy
Hygo 0hannessian
Mabelle & Harold Selland
Marilynn Shiner
Wendell Stephenson
& Annie-Claude Villegas
Janice Stevens
Eva K. Tremper

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HERITAGE FRESNO

Membership Form
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(Please print name as you wish to have it appear in the newsletter.)

Address: ____________________________________________

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 Please make check payable to:

1000 Friends Fresno
(Heritage Fresno)

Mail to:
Heritage Fresno
1483 E. Portals Ave.
Fresno, CA 93710

1000 Friends of Fresno is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. All donations are fully tax-deductible.

Thank you for your contribution to HERITAGE FRESNO.

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Related links:

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

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