Fresno considers identifying historic properties in industrial area

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A lot of Fresno's history can be discovered in the old industrial and warehouse district south of downtown.

The former Fresno Brewery now known as the Mingle Warehouse stands out. It's been in Pat Haun's family since 1949.

"It's a very interesting building and at one time was the largest employer in Fresno." Haun said.

From 1900 to 1948, with a break during prohibition, a thousand workers produced a variety of beers under several labels. The larger brewery building was torn down in the 50's but the offices remain, much as they were when the place closed. Haun says she doesn't mind showing folks around now and then.

Haun said, "You'd be amazed at the people who come and say my grandparents used to work here, my parents, somebody."

The old buildings aren't all beautiful, but Karana Hattersly-Drayton, Fresno's Historic Preservation Specialist says that doesn't mean they shouldn't be protected.

Karana Hattersly-Drayton explained, "It's also about the significance to the community, who lived there who built it, what the business was. And Fresno was put on the map for fruit and vegetables and packing so that's why many of these are important."

The city has completed a survey of the more than 300 parcels in the more than 200 acre area south of Highway 41 and east of Highway 99. 16 are already on the register of local historic places and four more are under consideration. Jennifer Clark, the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Fresno says the goal of the survey is to identify all the historic resources so new development can be directed around them.

Clark added, "With the access to the rail with the access to the highway it is an important industrial area and there are structures suitable for industrial development."

And Pat Haun, the owner of one of the oldest buildings in Fresno would like to see some new development in the area.

Haun said, "I think it's a good idea and hopefully we can maintain some of these buildings down here, because there is a lot of history, this was the heart of town and it's a shame that we've let it all go north."

The Fresno City Council is expected to approve the survey of the South Van Ness Industrial area at their next meeting.

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