Len & Kit's Missionary Adventures in California

Fresno, California

A few facts about Fresno:

In 1867, Anthony "McQueen" Easterby purchased land for a farm in the San Joaquin Valley. He could not grow wheat there due to lack of water, so he hired someone to build an irrigation system. Within a short time, Easterly had a very successful operation.

Fresno was founded in 1872 by the Central Pacific Railroad Company. Although the area was flat and barren, a Company Director for the railroad was so impressed with Easterly’s wheat field he saw in the distance, he decided that was the best spot for a new railroad station.

The Central California Colony formulated a pattern for land development in 1875 that was used throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Twenty- to forty-acre irrigated tracts of land, often with boulevards of palms or eucalyptus, proliferated over the following decades and drew farming families from across the United States and Scandinavia. Today, water again threatens the future of this region, which is part of California’s premier food-producing area.

Fresno (Spanish for “ash tree,” many of which lined the San Joaquin River) is now the fifth largest city in the state of California and 34th largest city in the U.S. Fresno is the financial, industrial, trade, and commercial capital in the Central San Joaquin Valley. The city is very cosmopolitan, with a mixture of more than 80 different nationalities. With a population of about 520,000, Fresno is large enough to offer urban amenities and opportunities while retaining the character and easy living of a small town.

Fresno is close to the geographical center of California, and thus quite near several of the state's major recreation areas. It is just 60 miles south of beautiful Yosemite National Park, 40 miles from Sierra National Forest, 60 miles from Kings Canyon National Park, and 75 miles from Sequoia National Park (which boasts the largest tree on earth). It is also well-located at approximately 170 miles from San Francisco and 200 miles from Los Angeles.