Fresno boxing legend, Young Corbett III (Ralph Giordano) in dark suit at center left, stands in front of his Young Corbett's lounge in 1939 at Mariposa and Broadway streets.
Fresno boxing legend, Young Corbett III (Ralph Giordano) in dark suit at center left, stands in front of his Young Corbett's lounge in 1939 at Mariposa and Broadway streets.

Young Corbett’s lounge was a place the Champ welcomed friends and strangers alike

Young Corbett III was Fresno’s homegrown boxing world welterweight who never forgot his roots Young Corbett’s lounge was probably a lot like the “Cheers” bar run by fictional bartender and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Sam Malone, a place “where everybody knows your name.” Patrons entering Young Corbett’s in downtown Fresno greeted the friendly bartender […]

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The legacy of the Brix Mansion

German-born Herman H. Brix, oil magnate and land speculator, was the owner of a true rags to riches story. The wealthy pioneer county resident made a statement in 1909 that he’d build the finest residence in the city, and it still stands a little over one hundred years later as a testament to his industry, […]

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Workmen pose for a photograph in the summer of 1892 on the wood face of the rock-filled Shaver sawmill dam.
Workmen pose for a photograph in the summer of 1892 on the wood face of the rock-filled Shaver sawmill dam.

The old Shaver dam

The draining of Shaver Lake for repairs this winter presented a once-in-a-lifetime chance to revisit history. The old Shaver dam, hidden from sight for decades, was fully exposed for a few weeks. It was a reminder of the lumber trade and ingenuity that helped shape the development of the Central Valley. Before Fresno County was […]

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The bustling trade center of Kingston circa 1873, the year the town was raided by outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez and his gang.
The bustling trade center of Kingston circa 1873, the year the town was raided by outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez and his gang.

Kingston

Almost nothing remains of ghost town of Kingston, but it lives on in history largely because of an event that broke the a quiet of a Christmas season evening, nearly 140 years ago. The settlement, on the south bank of the Kings River near present-day Laton, was founded around 1855 by pioneer L.A. Whitmore, who […]

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Fresno Bee library
Fresno Bee library

Southern Pacific depot

Built on the birthplace of Fresno, the Southern Pacific Railroad depot represents the city’s transition from a dusty plains outpost to the West’s leading agribusiness center. The 1889 depot is the city’s oldest commercial building. Railroad officials were so impressed by the success of pioneer rancher A.Y. Easterby, who grew 2,000 acres of grain on […]

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Youths escape the summer heat at the popular Zapp's Park swimming pool, circa 1912, with some of the venue's rides in the background. Thousands would gather here for the most popular day of the season: 4th of July.
Youths escape the summer heat at the popular Zapp's Park swimming pool, circa 1912, with some of the venue's rides in the background. Thousands would gather here for the most popular day of the season: 4th of July.

Zapp’s Park

Decades before today’s water-themed amusement parks, Zapp’s Park was the place to be on the 4th of July. Fireworks lit up the north Fresno sky. The Fresno Portuguese community used the holiday to put on their annual feed. Kids would stand in line for a block for free refreshments.

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The 1889 Temple Bar Building sat at Mariposa and K (now Van Ness) streets, a building in which many Fresno lawyers and judges had offices.
The 1889 Temple Bar Building sat at Mariposa and K (now Van Ness) streets, a building in which many Fresno lawyers and judges had offices.

Temple Bar Building

A pair of enterprising developers saw an opportunity in Fresno's early downtown and seized it. S.N. Griffith and R.B. Johnson paid $41,000 for a site facing the courthouse, and built what would become one of Fresno's crown jewels, a veritable temple of law called the Temple Bar Building.

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The intersection of Mariposa and Fulton streets in the fall of 1938 shows autos jostling for position in traffic alongside electric streetcars.
The intersection of Mariposa and Fulton streets in the fall of 1938 shows autos jostling for position in traffic alongside electric streetcars.

Fresno street cars

Fresno's first endeavor into mass transit began in the late 1880s, a period of boom in the region. It didn't take long for entrepreneurs to realize a system of streetcars and trolleys would fill the need for easy travel within the city and attract business to the area.

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The New Dexter Livery Stables was described as a business that offered every convenience that money could buy in 1897.
The New Dexter Livery Stables was described as a business that offered every convenience that money could buy in 1897.

McKay & Wilbur Stable

In 1897, the New Dexter Livery Stables — not to be confused with the old Dexter Stables — was something of a wonder for Fresno and the central Valley. The Fresno Morning Republican described it this way: “The building contains every convenience that taste could suggest and money could buy.”

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A view down Visalia's dusty Main Street in 1863. This is believed to be one of the earliest known photos of the Tulare County seat. The crossstreet in foreground is Court Street, with the townÂ’s water pump seen at center right.
A view down Visalia's dusty Main Street in 1863. This is believed to be one of the earliest known photos of the Tulare County seat. The crossstreet in foreground is Court Street, with the townÂ’s water pump seen at center right.

Visalia

The distinction of the oldest Valley city between Los Angeles and the small Mother Lode town of French Camp, near Stockton, belongs to Visalia. In 1852, a hardy group of settlers led by Nathaniel Vise established a community where Visalia is today.

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Jacob & Co. was the second store established in the area in 1872, also serving as a post office and Wells Fargo & Co. Express location.
Jacob & Co. was the second store established in the area in 1872, also serving as a post office and Wells Fargo & Co. Express location.

Jacob & Co.

This scene captured in the summer of 1874, one of the earliest known photographs of Fresno, shows the small wood-frame building of Jacob & Co. at the southeast corner of Mariposa and H streets, which was a general merchandise store, a post office and a Wells Fargo & Co. Express office. The business had an essential piece of technology for the Wells Fargo service attached to the building: a telegraph pole.

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Looking north on Fulton Street, the city's main commercial corridor, in 1936 before Fulton Mall. Gottschalks is on the right, at Kern Street, with the Helm and Security Bank buildings, background right. Many visitors used electric streetcars to get through Fulton Street.
Looking north on Fulton Street, the city's main commercial corridor, in 1936 before Fulton Mall. Gottschalks is on the right, at Kern Street, with the Helm and Security Bank buildings, background right. Many visitors used electric streetcars to get through Fulton Street.

Before Fulton Mall

Before there was a Fulton Mall, Fresno's main commercial thoroughfare was Fulton Street, and for decades it bustled with business and traffic. First known as J Street, it was renamed Fulton Street by city leaders in 1910, after the death of financier Fulton G. Berry, who owned the Grand Central Hotel at J and Mariposa streets.

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

Clovis Avenue

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.

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This 1893 photo shows the northeast view down the once-grand Mariposa Street leading to the old Fresno County Courthouse.
This 1893 photo shows the northeast view down the once-grand Mariposa Street leading to the old Fresno County Courthouse.

Mariposa Street

It's not a view down an elegant avenue of a major metropolis such as San Francisco, but instead it is a vista circa 1893 up Fresno's once-grand Mariposa Street, with its lavish, opulent three-story brick and stone buildings that lead down to a proud seat of government, the Fresno County Courthouse.

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