We’re on to Page 15 and we get a very short paragraph about the Wine Industry and a much longer one about Public Schools in Fresno County. Maybe wine wasn’t that big of thing back then, you say?
Back on Page 6 it was all about Land Values with Vineyards having the highest values, and then on Page 7, they were teasing “Net returns of wine grape vineyards run as high as $140 per acre” – which was much higher than raisins.
The Wine Industry in Fresno County
So wine was indeed a pretty big thing. This pamphlet states that we produced around $1.5 million in wine and a low sounding $350,000 annually in brandy. But remember this is the year 1900 and if we adjust that number for inflation, in today’s dollars that’s equal to $12.5 million!
We have to remember that this pamphlet was written for the train traveler and back in 1900 and the average train traveler probably didn’t have truck loads of money to be building vineyards and wineries. What they did have, most likely, was children.
The Public Schools in Fresno County
Knowing who the intended reader was helps us understand better why they went big on touting the Fresno Public Schools. The county was growing and so was the school system with plenty of shiny new schools. No fewer than seven high schools for the county was pretty good back then.
126 School Districts? What? Remember, this was to cover the whole county. But then again, they say that there was 266 Teachers employed. That’s an average of 2.1 teachers per school district! We know schools were smaller back then but that doesn’t seem right.
11,120 students divided by the 266 teachers would give an average class size of almost 42 per! What? Something just doesn’t sound right here. Can that really be true?
They do show an image of the newly built Fresno City High School (now just Fresno High School). It was built in 1889, a few years before this pamphlet. You can see a colored postcard image of the school HERE. It’s changed dramatically since then.
We have to love the mention of Business, Music, and Art Studies at the end. You know Cher, Sam Peckinpah, and William Saroyan went here, right?