Clovis Avenue

October 19, 2009

FRESNO BEE FILE

Then: In 1909, Clovis was a community of 500. Front Street, now known as Clovis Avenue, included saloons, restaurants and a hotel.

Even before its Old Town was old enough to be called Old Town, Clovis had a bustling central business district.

In 1909, three years before Clovis became an incorporated city, horse-drawn wagons made their way along muddy Front Street, now Clovis Avenue, at Fourth Street, looking south along the business district.

Brothers J.E. Good (far end of photo) and Robert E.L. Good operated general merchandise stores at opposite ends of the block. All four Good brothers were Clovis merchants. The block of Front Street included a lodging hall above J.E. Good’s, three saloons, a livery stable and feed store, a restaurant and a shoe shop.

Back then, Clovis had about 500 people — much less than the population of nearly 100,000 the city has now.

Clovis got its start in 1891 as a freight station on the San Joaquin Division of the Southern Pacific Railroad, which ran 26 miles between Fresno and Hamptonville (now Friant). Banker and lawyer Marcus Pollasky, representing the railroad, secured right of way from landowners.

He bought land from farmer Clovis Cole and his wife, Elizabeth, for $4,000 in gold coin. The railroad named the townsite after Cole, who was known as “Wheat King of the Nation.” The restored 1892 Tarpey station is the only surviving structure built by the railroad.

JOHN WALKER/ THE FRESNO BEE

Now: The view on Clovis Avenue in the aptly named Old Town Clovis district, looking south from Fourth Street. Many of the area\'s early buildings are still standing. Down the street is The Clovis Museum, housed in the old First State Bank building, established in 1912.