history

The San Joaquin Valley is home to two of the nation's 100 largest cities with Fresno and Bakersfield. But it's the small towns like Kerman that make this part of the state such a unique place. Now Kerman farmer and community leader Paul Betancourt has written a new book about the history of this small farm town. He joined us to talk about the town's origins and unique history in the days of riverboats and steam engines. 

Michael J Semas

Michael J. Semas has an interesting perspective into valley history thanks to his collection of thousands of rare postcards, many more than 100 years old. Real photo postcards captured everyday life in Central California, and in many cases, they may be the only images remaining of certain communities, people or buildings. 

Joe Moore - Valley Public Radio

Downtown Hanford is known for several things, like its historic town square, and ice cream sundaes at Superior Dairy. But one big part of the town's civic identity has been dark for two years - the historic Hanford Fox Theatre. Now the Fox is back, with a new ceiling and other features after structural problems closed the venerable landmark. Dan Humason joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the renovations, the theatre's history and some of the shows that are coming up at the venue. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Most valley residents didn’t know the name Bill Patnaude. But it’s likely that many if not most, have experienced his work. From the shimmering stainless steel of Fresno’s City Hall to the massive concrete forms of the Fresno State Madden Library and the university's student union, his works stand out as iconic buildings on the valley landscape. His legacy is in the minds of many who knew him, as he passed away last Friday at the age of 78.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/boyce-d/2854694049/
Flickr user Boyce Duprey / Creative Commons

Today, Mussel Slough doesn't show up on many maps of the San Joaquin Valley. But in 1880, this small settlement northwest of Hanford was the site of one of the bloodiest gunfights in the Old West. It pitted a group of Kings County farmers against the powerful Southern Pacific Railroad in a fight for their land. 

nickchapman / Flickr - Creative Commons

Can you imagine Southern California without Hollywood? Or the Bay Area without Silicon Valley?

No? History suggests that the identities of cities and regions are more fragile, and their central industries more perilous, than we care to admit. (Just ask former Detroit autoworkers.)

Freedmen's Bureau Project

Black History Month can be a hands on experience this year, thanks to an effort called the Freedmen's Bureau Project. It's a campaign to digitize and archive millions of records generated 150 years ago by the government agency tasked with helping former slaves begin their lives as free citizens. The group is seeking the help of volunteers to help clear through a backlog of documents so they can reach a goal to complete the project by June 19th, historically known as Juneteenth Day.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

A few weeks ago we brought you a report about how rare maps are shedding new light on the history of racial discrimination in Fresno. In the 1930’s many neighborhoods with high minority populations were frozen out of government backed home loans by the federal government, in a practice called redlining. But that wasn’t the only government backed segregation that happened in the San Joaquin Valley. In fact, decades ago, in some prestigious Fresno neighborhoods being white was a requirement. FM89’s Diana Aguilera visits one of them with this special report. 

For Fresno natives of a certain age, Al Radka, the Fulton Mall, Lesterburger and parties in "the figs" all are cultural touchstones that bring back memories of a simpler time. They're also the subject of a new book by journalist Steven H. Provost titled "Fresno Growing Up: A City Comes of Age: 1945-1985." From historic photos of long lost Fresno landmarks to stories about life in the 50's and 60's, the new book seeks to capture the essence of an era when so many baby boomers grew up.

Ronald Reagan's Nuanced Legacy as California Governor

Jun 19, 2015

A statue of Ronald Reagan will be unveiled in the California state Capitol rotunda on Monday. It’s funded by private donations under a law signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. Much has been said of Reagan’s legacy as president – but as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, his time as California governor often goes overlooked.

Reagan in 1966 campaign video: “As of now, I am a candidate seeking the Republican nomination for governor.”

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