Fresno - Encyclopedia

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FRESNO, a city and the county-seat of Fresno county, California, U.S.A., situated in the San Joaquin valley (altitude about 300 ft.) near the geographical centre of the state. Pop. (1880) 1112; (1890) 10,818; (1900) 12,470, of whom 3299 were foreign-born and 1279 were Asiatics; (estimated 1906), 13,460. The city is served by the Southern Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railways. The county is mainly a vast expanse of naturally arid plains and mountains. The valley is the scene of an extensive irrigation system, water being brought (first in 1872-1876) from King's river, 20 m. distant; in 1905 50o sq. m. were irrigated. Fresno is in a rich farming country, producing grains and fruit, and is the only place in America where Smyrna figs have been grown with success; it is the centre of the finest raisin country of the state, and has extensive vineyards and wine-making establishments. The city's principal manufacture is preserved (dried) fruits, particularly raisins; the value of the fruits thus preserved in 1905 was $6,942,440, being 70.5% of the total value of the factory product in that year ($9, 8 49, 001). In 1900-1905 the factory product increased 257.9%, a ratio of increase greater than that of any other city in the state. In the mountains, lumbering and mining are important industries; lumber is carried from Shaver in the mountains to Clovis on the plains by a V-shaped flume 42 m. long, the waste water from which is ditched for irrigation. The petroleum field of the county is one of the richest in California. Fresno is the business and shipping centre of its county and of the surrounding region. The county was organized in 1856. In 1872 the railway went through, and Fresno was laid out and incorporated. It became the county-seat in 1874 and was chartered as a city in 1885.

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