Indroduction Overview and History
Fresno is a proud city… proud of its past, its present and what it is doing for its future. It’s also proud that it has been designated a “Preserve America Community” by the White House.
One of only 20 cities nationwide to earn this distinction, Fresno was chosen as part of a White House initiative to support community efforts to preserve cultural and national heritage. Fresno earned this honor by meeting the initiative’s goals of greater shared knowledge regarding the nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride; greater local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets; and support for the economic vitality of our communities.
Fresno is rich in history, and thanks to the vital role played by the Fresno City and County Historical Society (which was founded in 1919), much of this region’s unique history has been collected, preserved and interpreted for the generations to come. Through its educational programs, the Historical Society hopes to instill an interest in the history of the Fresno area as well as the state and country.
Museums throughout the area are brimming with collections that tell story upon story of the humble beginnings of Fresno and the pioneers who, in a sense, gave birth to this burgeoning community.
The city has come a long way from its early days when it was primarily known for being a stop on the rail line. Today, Fresno is a vibrant community that has progressed from its humble beginnings but still takes the time to proudly remember its past.
Hsitory of the Fresno Water Tower
Built in 1894 at the corner of Fresno and O Streets, the Fresno Water Tower is a striking historic landmark. Chicago architect George Washington Maher designed the Water Tower. It stands at 100 feet high, with a double round interior wall that supports a storage tank that held 250,000 gallons of water. The Water Tower was shut down in 1963 when the structure was no longer adequate for the increasing needs of the community. However, the Water Tower remained a prominent fixture in Fresno and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and declared an American Water Landmark one year later. The Fresno Convention & Visitors Bureau, with help from the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, Downtown Rotary Club, and numerous private individuals, spent two years and more than $500,000 to renovate the structure and convert it into a visitor center.
Fresno is also proud that it has been designated a “Preserve America Community” by the White House.