Yes the last one was Page 17. That’s very smart of you! We skipped Page 18 because it was a full page picture of “Fruit Cutting and Drying“. Really! So we’re on Page 19 which is much more interesting as it’s going to start breaking down the towns around Fresno.
To begin, there is a short paragraph setting up this section – calling each town “enterprising”, with each one somewhat competitive with the others in upholding the good name of Fresno County.
We jump right to Sanger. The population of 2,000 in 1900 is now more than 26,000 according to the 2020 Census. The Sanger Lumber Company looked to be the largest employer in the area, but they don’t say how many men, just the 65 acres. How big was the lumber business in Sanger – we actually found a video! Yes it’s corny, but it is educational! This touted Sanger Lumber Company soon went bust and was replaced with a new Hume Bennett Lumber Company. In reality, things were not as rosy as this pamphlet might suggest. Thank you Fresno Public Library!
Reedley, sitting alongside the Kings River, just a little further out from Downtown Fresno than Sanger. They talk of Reedley’s “wealth of water”, it’s large stores, good hotels, warehouses, newspaper, packing houses and wineries. They dip into it’s great educational facilities and of course the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads.
The town is named after Thomas Law Reed, who was growing wheat at the time for Gold Miners. He donated the land for the Railroad Station. Of course the station was named after him, and when it came time to name the city, they naturally followed suit.
An interesting fact. When the gold mining faded, so did the demand for wheat. It was then that much of the water from Kings River was diverted and used for irrigation of fruit trees, grapes and figs.
The page starts with half of the description of Selma.
For the sake of continuity, we’ll cover that and the start of Page 20 which looks like this:
In 1900, Selma is described as the oldest and largest town next to Fresno City. Population today is just about the same as Sanger or Reedley (in the mid 20,000 range). Selma is yet another town that owes a great deal of it’s success to it’s proximity to the railroad.
We’re not sure if that’s a compliment when they say that “Few, if any, districts in California could point to a greater number of people who have risen from a condition of moderate means to actual opulence…” What do you think?
We do like that in 1900, Selma is up-to-date and enterprising! 8 churches and two weekly newspapers? The stores, banks, hotels, light and power company, the creamery and packing houses – all places that would be offering good jobs.