Interested in Fresno?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Fresno each week.
Fresno’s history is built on the history of Fresno County which was named for Fresno Creek which was named for the vast number of ash trees in the area (“fresno” is Spanish for “ash tree”). Whew! But it was another creek—okay, a river—that really shaped the city’s history. On Christmas Eve in 1867, the San Joaquin River flooded the city of Millerton, located in the northeast corner of Fresno County. When the flood waters receded, the citizens moved back . . . but they didn’t forget.
In 1872, the Central Pacific Railroad added a station for its Southern Pacific line to service a large farm in Fresno County; it was called the Fresno Station and was later shortened to just Fresno. Eventually, a store was added to the farm and the station and the first seeds for a town were planted. Many Millerton residents, still remembering the flood, literally packed up and moved together to Fresno. In no time, Fresno displayed the accoutrements of a typical western town, like saloons; it also displayed the effects of a typical wild western town, with a busy sheriff, frequent fires and even its own damaging flood in 1884. Before the century was over, Fresno was incorporated as a city.