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Old Posted Sep 18, 2007, 11:30 PM
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Fresno, CA

Tour of California

Part 1: Los Angeles
Part 2: Glendale, Pasadena, Hollywood
Part 3: Riverside, Long Beach, Santa Ana
Part 4: San Jose
Part 5: San Diego



Part 6: Fresno

According to wikipedia, Fresno is California's sixth largest city with 481,035 people, though it scores second compared to Sacramento in terms of metro population in the Central Valley. Fresno is one of those places that always perplexes me as to why anyone would move there (the answer of course is cheaper housing/office space). I wouldn't say that my visit there really changed my mind. But, at least Fresno does have a proper downtown with lots of potential (mostly unrealized it seems) if the powers that be would focus on downtown revival/development and not into far flung office parks like I've heard is the norm there. Nevertheless, here are my pics. I hope you enjoy.





A typical site in the Central Valley



Wasted opportunities







Downtown highrise living in Fresno



...a legacy of the sixties and seventies...







Fresno's signature tower. I read this building was to be turned into condos?





I could hear construction going on in the upper floors









The good...a long pedestrian mall in the heart of downtown, plenty of open plazas and public art





















...and there is a sizable collection of older buildings to give Fresno more character...





























Caught out of the corner of me eye, this caused me to pause...



Fresno steps into the new era with modern architecture









Parking structures rival some buildings for skyscraper space





Fresno City Hall...Not enough angles to capture this one









C'est tout!
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 2:30 AM
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who knew? actually, i got kind of an eerie vibe looking at those photos. it was a little ghost townish. thanks for the tour, though.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 2:40 AM
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I have to echo your sentiments on "why" and "potential" but your photos were very nice. Reguardless of the city as a whole, there is still a lot of great architecture.

Also, I think I like city hall. Interesting!
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 5:54 AM
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I don't think I ever seen a thread on Fresno. Thanks for the effort.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 6:02 AM
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I took a remarkably similar walk through Fresno (found here) in January and found it to be an incredibly odd place. Disfunctional in the worst of 1960's planning, underutilized pre-war commercial buildings, and essentially little in the way of 'good bones'. Reminds me alot of Tucson without the attractiveness of the mountains or desert.

Great photos though.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 6:29 AM
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who knew? actually, i got kind of an eerie vibe looking at those photos. it was a little ghost townish. thanks for the tour, though.

Thats because most of Fresno activity is several miles to the north where most of the middle-class live and everything is brand new and squeaky clean. They all hang out at River Park, a huge lifestyle center. Its as though there are two cities. The southern portion close to downtown seems down and out except a few hoods, such as the Tower District (a mixture of college, bohemian types, gays) the area around Fresno City College, and Huntington Drive (A stretch of old money where it onces housed Presidents when they visit the city). Other than that once you enter the northern part of the city which covers the majority of the city now (new growth), you would never know or see the poorer communities. As you enter Fresno city from the 41 freeway, you don't see most of these area at street level. Most people continue north into the more wealthier neighborhoods. You can live in Fresno and almost forget about the poor areas since there is really no need to visit downtown as everything one needs is on the north side of the city for the most part.

Last edited by ChrisLA; Sep 19, 2007 at 6:42 AM.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 7:06 AM
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Originally Posted by stepper77 View Post
Tour of California

Part 6: Fresno

Fresno is one of those places that always perplexes me as to why anyone would move there (the answer of course is cheaper housing/office space). I wouldn't say that my visit there really changed my mind. But, at least Fresno
Well I'm not a big fan of Fresno (I like megacities) but I have to defend it since I have some experience with living there for 5 years. Its not really that bad, and I actually found it has a look similar to the Sacramento area. Sacramento feels bigger because it has more suburbs, but the two (especially the northern part of Fresno) seems similar. The photos you posted aren't what most Fresno residents experience unless they work downtown like my friends wife (court reporter). Most of these folks live in northern neighborhoods such as Woodward Park and such. If you like that suburban style, well Fresno would be the place to live in California without the extreme housing costs of the suburbs of LA, Bay Area, and San Diego. It really is a nice place if you're into that type of living. Plus you have skiing about an hour away, Yosemite and Sequioa National Parks. There area also several lakes nearby, in fact one is about 25 mins at the most from downtown Fresno. There are also a lot of neat towns just north of the city and up in the hills such as Oakhurst. They even have some beautiful fall colors up in these towns, and get a snow every now and then. Fresno isn't a urban type city for the most part. S you won't find much of this other than downtown, Tower District, and perhaps Old Town Clovis (walkable area). Yet its a very clean city with some swanky folks living there. To me living on the north side the city always felt sort of wealthy, and somewhat flashy (homes, and fancy cars). Visit Old Fig Garden, New Fig Garden, and Woodword Lakes neighborhoods and you see what I'm talking about.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 7:53 AM
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Fresno it's a shame for the state of CA, no new high-rises,no new buildings, why is that?
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 1:23 PM
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Good shots.

This is quite the building, perhaps it's a parking garage?
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 1:39 PM
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Its a courthouse, a friend of mine wife works in that building as a court reporter.



Quote:
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Good shots.

This is quite the building, perhaps it's a parking garage?
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 3:10 PM
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BTW here are a few photos I took during my visit to Fresno Labor Day weekend. Well besides body of water, in many ways this is what much of of the homes on the north side of Fresno and the suburb of Clovis looks like. Clean, suburban, and new development.




Typical office on the north side of the city.


This is near the Fresno river, and there is a bike path that takes you over to the lake, and in the other direction over to Woodward Park (The city's main park about a mile away.


Old Town Clovis, a small walkable western style downtown. The city of Clovis is a suburb of Fresno.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 5:09 PM
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We court reporters always have to work in the oddest buildings. Civic architecture -- especially from the '60s and '70s -- is so strange!

The face of that courthouse looks like decorative cinder block or something. Who knew?

I have a lot of extended family in Fresno. I visited once and just remember my them living in a shack-like house with chickens and roosters. I later told this to a friend who was from Fresno and he said "Oh.... they must have lived on the *other* side of town..."

That river area looks nice, though.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 5:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RAlossi View Post
I have a lot of extended family in Fresno. I visited once and just remember my them living in a shack-like house with chickens and roosters. I later told this to a friend who was from Fresno and he said "Oh.... they must have lived on the *other* side of town..."
Yeah that sound like perhaps the area west of The 99. That side is like the saying other side of the tracks. I think only west Fresno past 99 is the only part that is within the city limits. I've only ventured into that area twice, one time for some BBQ in what is a mostly African American neighborhoods. Past this area, its mostly rural, and it sounds like this could have been where your family may have lived. Living there for a few years, my experience was of a decent size middle-class city, with a lot of college students. Not quite a Madison, but Fresno State was a major part of that city.

I've read a lot of young people don't stay, but when you look around (especially Woodward Park area, and Clovis) there is still a lot of young families all around. I guess most of these young families move from other California cities because housing is cheaper (well by California standards its cheaper).
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  #14  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 6:28 PM
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Reminds me alot of Tucson without the attractiveness of the mountains or desert.
I thought the same thing but only about the heart of "downtown" Tucson. Tucson has active, vibrant and increasingly affluent fringes and suburbs. I don't think Fresno has anything like that. Tucson is practically drowning in the history of the Spanish exploration and settlement of the southwest. I don't know of much similar in Fresno. Fresno's economy is agriculture-based. Tucson's is based on the U. of AZ, golf and other tourism and some high tech (Raytheon esp.). You won't find a Ventana Canyon, a Canyon Resort, a Miraval "Life in Balance" or an Omni National Golf Resort in Fresno nor will you find a Sabino Canyon, a Desert Museum or any art colonies like Tubac. Outside of the heart of downtown: different worlds.

Anyway, enjoyed the pictures of what was labeled in some other thread California's worst downtown.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 6:28 PM
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Where are all the people at? It's a ghost town. I do see similarities to Sacramento, especially the north part, but Sac looks like the New York City of the Central Valley compared to Fresno. BTW good shots of Fresno, its hardly ever in the forum.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 6:39 PM
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I thought the same thing but only about the heart of "downtown" Tucson. Tucson has active, vibrant and increasingly affluent fringes and suburbs. I don't think Fresno has anything like that. Tucson is practically drowning in the history of the Spanish exploration and settlement of the southwest. I don't know of much similar in Fresno. Fresno's economy is agriculture-based. Tucson's is based on the U. of AZ, golf and other tourism and some high tech (Raytheon esp.). You won't find a Ventana Canyon, a Canyon Resort, a Miraval "Life in Balance" or an Omni National Golf Resort in Fresno nor will you find a Sabino Canyon, a Desert Museum or any art colonies like Tubac. Outside of the heart of downtown: different worlds.

Anyway, enjoyed the pictures of what was labeled in some other thread California's worst downtown.
I meant downtown Tucson specifically, the two are remarkably similar in feel and infrastructure. I am familiar with Tucson's amenities outside DT. I lived in Arizona for 15 years.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 8:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisLA View Post
Thats because most of Fresno activity is several miles to the north where most of the middle-class live and everything is brand new and squeaky clean. They all hang out at River Park, a huge lifestyle center. Its as though there are two cities. The southern portion close to downtown seems down and out except a few hoods, such as the Tower District (a mixture of college, bohemian types, gays) the area around Fresno City College, and Huntington Drive (A stretch of old money where it onces housed Presidents when they visit the city). Other than that once you enter the northern part of the city which covers the majority of the city now (new growth), you would never know or see the poorer communities. As you enter Fresno city from the 41 freeway, you don't see most of these area at street level. Most people continue north into the more wealthier neighborhoods. You can live in Fresno and almost forget about the poor areas since there is really no need to visit downtown as everything one needs is on the north side of the city for the most part.
I only had about an hour and a half, so, I didn't get to explore some of the other areas of the city I would have like to (such as the Tower District). I just stayed downtown. But, I went to Fresno one other time many years ago for work. I believe it was off of Hwy 41, in the building with State Comp Insurance Fund. Anyway, the area was very nice, though rather nondescript. No more or less appealing than the typical office park you'd see in Sacramento or any number of places in the Bay Area. For suburban living, I'm sure it is as good a place as any. Though, I think the heat in Fresno would drive me crazy. Even in Sac, you get a reprieve from the Delta Breezes every now and then.

While I can't comment on what downtown is like normally, to be fair, I was there on Friday afternoon, Memorial Day weekend, so, I'm sure a lot of the businesses had closed early. Perhaps more why it appeared like a "ghost town". It could be that way all the time though, I don't know.
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  #18  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 10:45 PM
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never heard of Fresno before.nice old buildings there.
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2007, 3:02 AM
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Hmm... Interesting. The Fresno City Hall is pretty badass though.
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2007, 3:14 PM
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Some of those buildings are really ugly, some are nice, but all of them have the feel of not being used to their potential. Maybe Fresno will see lots of life when people continue moving away form L.A. and into the Central Valley.

Fresno looks like it belongs as much in west Texas as it does in California.
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