There came a man from the Indian battles of Montana, a gambler of sorts, who gambled big and left us with the city we know today….late 1872, making purchases of dry goods and whiskey he gambled in bribing the railroad conductor to be let off at the new location of Fresno Station. This was forbidden at the time as no freight had yet been allowed south of Merced. When the train neared the stop it slowed but did not stop! Faber rushed to get his supplies as the bribed conductor began tossing everything from the train just north of what we know today as Belmont. This pioneer gathered up everything scattered over a half mile and set up shop in a tent next to the soon to come official train stop becoming the first merchant and resident of Fresno Station, soon joined by others.
This humble stop sprouted dirt roads and a few buildings of wood frame. By 1877 it had been named J street. On the corner of Tulare & J stood the office of the Expositor, next door, the boarding house soon named the Jones Hotel.
Just north of the Expositor, an oddly shaped building emanating loud, unusual noises within. Stepping inside one found the source of the strange emanations; a boiler engine powering a millstone crushing grain for feed stock. Soon it was perfected and began producing fine flour for the town’s new citizens known as Church’s Champion Mill and later relocated further along Fresno Street. Today, this original site is home to the Mason building currently vacant on the upper floors, while retail shops occupy the ground floor. The Mason Building is listed on the Local Register of Historic Places and awaits renovation.
Yale Prof. Vincent Scully states “Architecture is a continuing dialogue between generations which creates an environment across time.” The pioneers who came before us and built our city demonstrate the continuing dialogue of our environment across the pages of time. Join About Town Taste on its next adventure through the streets of our pioneers on the Downtown Art & Architecture adventure January 8th 10a. Call to reserve your spot today: 559.392.4471 $15pp
Photos Courtesy Fresno Co Library & UC Callisphere