In 1844, when John C. Fremont crossed the valley near Fresno, he noted in his diary great herds of elk, antelope and wild horses. Back then, the Native American Yokuts were masters of the Valley.
      Fresno County has several unique features which combine to make it outstanding. In a period of 100 years, it grew from a soggy marsh in spring and a summer barren wasteland into a garden of Eden. This growth was possible due to rich soil, the genius of those who realized the possibility of irrigation, the managerial skill of several early leaders, and the brawn and hard work of average farmers who came from all corners of the world. This combination has made Fresno the agribusiness capitol of the world.
      The town of Fresno Station was established in 1872 when the Central Pacific R.R. pushed south across the San Joaquin River. The first commercial district was on H Street, between Fresno and Tulare streets, across from the train station, and consisted of a tent store, a board shack for a restaurant, and the first well. Horses were as important as people so a shack for hay and water featured a sign, "Horse Restaurant."
      From that modest beginning Fresno has grown. By 1877, J Street (Fulton Mall) was a dirt road with wooden sidewalks. Calvin Jones built a flour mill where the Mason Building now stands and his wife kept cows behind it.
      Between 1874 & 1884, Fresno almost burned to the ground several times for lack of a fire department. In 1885, the townspeople finally voted to incorporate and things began to happen. A general countywide economic boom caused a rush of immigration and development. By 1894, J Street (Fulton Mall) with Mariposa Street made Fresno a beautiful Victorian town.
      In 1884, the flamboyant Fulton G. Berry bought the Grand Central Hotel at J Street and Mariposa and it became the social center of Fresno. Mr. & Mrs. Berry reigned as gracious host and hostess at special events at their hotel. Fulton Berry led the town parades seated on his dashing white stallion, dressed in his white Spanish Don's costumes with huge sombrero trimmed in red. After his death in 1910, J Street was renamed Fulton Street in his honor.
     As the new century progressed, there began another building boom, incorporating new technology, which replaced the two and three-story Victorian brick buildings with ten and twelve-story reinforced concrete buildings. Between 1913 and 1925 our handsome classic revival downtown skyline emerged. This "Roaring Twenties" silhouette with Beaux Arts classical details was not interrupted with new construction for 50 years. It still is very much intact after 80 years.
      After World War II, the move to the suburbs saw the downtown start to decline. A plan to revitalize the downtown turned Fulton Street into Fulton Mall, a beautifully designed and landscape pedestrian mall. complete with electric mini trolleys. It opened September 1, 1964. However, nothing could stop the flow away from downtown, a nationwide problem.

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