Well, today’s story starts like a lot of stories in the Central Valley… with the railroad. There was quite a large ranch here in 1876 owned by a California State Senator (a cattle ranch). And the railroad made a stop so they could pick up the cattle for transport, et cetera.
The town grew up around it. The first building was actually a residence built by a guy named John Gentry, and that residence actually became the first general store. He became the town’s first postmaster.
This town was known for slow growth. They were also known for ethnic diversity. They had substantial and well established Japanese, African American, and Armenian communities. The town was ahead of its time.
The name, though, went to the original owner of that ranch back in 1876, the state senator, Mr. Thomas Fowler… on the map, of Fresno County.
Oh, by the way, the pictures we used for today’s story came from a collection of 337 glass negatives that were taken in the early part of the 20th century. They were donated to the Fresno Improvement Association by Paul Hutchinson. They, in turn, donated them to the Fresno County Historical Society. But who took the pictures? No one knows.
With Emily Lucas behind the camera… I’m A.J. Fox.