FRESNO, California (KGPE) – The giant abacus that was once outside the Citibank building at Ashlan and Blackstone avenues in Fresno is no longer there. It was taken down, dismantled, and hauled away over the weekend without warning.
The final destination of the abacus remains a mystery.
Local architect Paul Halajian weighs in on the significance of the Fresno landmark.
“Stevens has designed some of the most notable buildings throughout Fresno and the Central Valley and this is probably at the top of the list — the best of Bob Stevens work,” says Halajian.
The architect of the structure was Robert Stevens. He was hired by the founder of the guarantee savings and loan association — Louis Eaton who had the vision to set his banks apart from all others — adding the giant, functional abacus back in 1957.
“It was part of the mission of the bank and taking the abacus of the building would be like removing the end from an iconic movie–it just kind of doesn’t make sense anymore,” said Halajian.
The community agrees–as a picture of it being dumped into a trailer on Facebook gained attention and started an outcry about why the iconic abacus was taken away. City of Fresno District 7 Councilmember Nelson Esparza responded with this statement:
“We have been in the process of collecting more information on this incident and are advocating to Citibank for the restoration of the abacus. It’s important to preserve these community treasures that have meant so much to our city.”
Fresno city’s former historic preservation officer says this could have been prevented.
“We are behind. People don’t begin to see the 50s and 60s buildings as important as things from the 20s or the teens or whatever, so we really need to start doing a better job of landmarking our 1950’s 1960’s buildings. They’re really important,” said Karana Hattersley-Drayton, a Preservation Consultant.”
The construction company contracted to take away the abacus has yet to respond to the incident.