THE FOUNDING OF FRESNO, ANDI'S HOME TOWN
Many of Andi’s readers are familiar with Fresno, the city near the Circle C. As Andi is a tween and teenager, Fresno is a thriving, bustling city. But it was not always that way. In fact, when Andi was born in 1868, Fresno didn’t even exist. Here is the story of how this city got its surprising start:
|The red arrow points to Fresno|
Long ago, Spanish explorers came to the San Joaquin Valley. They named an area “Fresno,” which is the Spanish word for “ash tree.” They called it this because of the abundance of white ash trees growing near the San Joaquin River. But these early explorers didn’t think that a town could ever be founded in this area called Fresno.
For a long time, no one disproved the explorers’ predictions – largely because of the Yokut Indians living in the valley. Even during the California Gold Rush, while many towns were being founded by the prospectors and others who came during the 1840s and 50s, the modern town of Fresno remained unsettled.
In the 1860s, a Holland immigrant, along with a few others, supposedly settled modern-day Fresno. But their settlement wasn’t big enough to be considered a town.
|Leland Stanford around 1870|
Finally, in 1872, the Central Pacific Railroad decided to set up a station for their railroad in the area called Fresno. Railroad officials mapped out a town, which they called Fresno Station, to be founded at this station. The credit for choosing the location for this town is given to Leland Stanford, who worked for the Central Pacific RR. He supposedly saw A.Y. Easterby’s wheat field and determined that this was where he would build his town. His exuberance over the location of Fresno Station very much went against the Spanish explorers’ dire predictions.
In 1874, the people of Millerton, a town about 25 miles northeast of Fresno Station, made the decision to move the county seat to Fresno Station. They kept getting flooded out every winter, so the entire population of Millerton left to go to the new town closer to the railroad.
There was an issue with Western towns back then, however, that brought devastation to the town of Fresno. Many of the buildings in these towns were made of wood, which is easily destroyed by fire. In 1882, a fire ravaged an entire block of Fresno. Another destructive fire occurred in the next year.
|The Fresno Flood of 1884|
Since then the city of Fresno has, overall, thrived. In their lifetime, the Carters would have seen Fresno grow from nothing to prosperous city. This is the place Andi grew up near: a place which, despite early setbacks, rose to become the large city of Fresno, California.