Remembering growing up in Fresno

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LOST FRESNO is a discussion forum that is dedicated to preserving memories of growing up in Fresno when crime, urban blight, strip malls and gang violence were virtually unknown. Those days have long since passed but we fondly remember them here at LOST FRESNO. We discuss the restaurants we used to love but have fallen into disrepair. We remember the drive-in theaters that have now been dismantled to become shopping malls. Also the TV shows on only 3 stations, that was all there were. You know that you will enjoy visiting us when the following names brings a smile to your face:

Nancy Allen's Movie Matinee on Channel 24
Perry's Boys Smorgy in Manchester Mall
White Front Discount Store on Blackstone & Ashland
Lesterburger and his flat top haircut
The Sky Slide on Blackstone
Al Radka's Fun Time with the Three Stooges
Triple J Drug Store at Ashland Park
Harpains Dairy on Cedar where you smelled fresh hay and cows


And many more that have passed into memories lost or forgotten. The inspiration for LOST FRESNO grew from a single message posting at the FresnoFamous.com web site. A gentleman by the name of Reggie Dunbar made up his "My Top 10 List" of forgotten Fresno places in 2006. Since then hundreds of replies have been added by Fresno residents or past residents. They remember their favorite LOST FRESNO place or activity. We've had so much fun with sharing and rediscovering the old hang outs, that we decided to make an official web site and discussion forum to permanently house and easily find all our great lost memories.

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Can you identify all 23 place names? Join us in our forum to view the answers.






March 13, 2005 -- Al Radka past away Thursday. Many of you dont know who Al Radka is. Many of you never heard of Mr. Fresno", or even care. Al radka was from Los Angeles when his family moved to central California. If Radka would have stayed in LA he would have been a Mr. LA". This still does not diminish the importance of Al, who began in the infancy of Television in the early 50s, and contributed extensively to its popularity. To give you some background, Al Radka was a Far Western Conference guard for the Bulldog Gridders, under Jimmie Bradshaw, for three consecutive seasons in 1937, 1938, and 1939.He spent so much of his time in his opponents' backfields that he was given the moniker "Raider Al" and was named as one the guards on the FSC all-time football team. Serving his apprenticeship in the line at the Alhambra High School, first as a center, later as a guard, Radka prepared himself for a career which continued under the coaching of Bob McNeish, who coached at Pasadena City college. Then he moved to FSC where Bradshaw's line coach Roy Niswander initiated the Red-Haired Radka in the aches and pains of college blocking.Radka graduated from Fresno State in 1941. He was Student Body President n 1940-1941; member of Blue Key, National Men's Honorary Fraternity; member of Alpha Phi Gamma, National Journalism Fraternity; Varsity Society and the Sigma Epsilon Fraternity. He wrote college sports for the Fresno Bee under Ed Orman. He also wrote, produced, directed and appeared in three annual FSC's Spring Swing Musicals, during 1939 through 1941.Radka is a past president of the Fresno Junior Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the Raisin Bowl game, past chairman of the Fresno Junior Chamber of Commerce State Convention, winner of the Junior Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Key and the Kenneth L. Hampton Award. He was named the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1963. The Fresno Hot Stove League has grown under Radka's guidance to one of the largest vital organizations of Fresno. He is married to the former Alma May Dutton, a native daughter of Fresno. Radka enlisted in the Air Corps in 1942 as a Private, discharged as a Captain in 1946 and was a reserve Major for many years. In the early 1950s pioneered early television at KFSN (Then KFRE) TV and was also on KFRE radio. After retiring from Channel 30 and KFRE in 1981, he along with Alma started their own advertising agency, "Al Radka Productions" and was one of the most successful pitchmen of his time, having clients and friends from San Franciso to LA. Remembering Old Fresno I first met Radka when I was 9 years old. My father worked as a stage director at channel 30 in Fresno, CA. I had grown up in television stations since I was from LA, and my father was a staff member at KTTV in Los Angeles. Radka grabbed me and put me on a show with my father whom was his guest since he was Butch" in the original Little Rascals". After that Al showcased me on three UCP telethons and eventually pushed for me to be a co-host on the news magazine for youngsters, Valley Mainstreet". Al was a good friend, though we lost touch in recent years. I only know that he was my friend and an endearing part of my youth that helped me along the way and strengthened my career and stability in the showbusiness world. Relics of our childhood fade away, but never die. Radka is one name that needs to be recognized as a pioneer in television, and one who was very important in the entertainment industry, and to me. Al Radka was a Far Western Conference guard for the Bulldog Gridders, under Jimmie Bradshaw, for three consecutive seasons in 1937, 1938, and 1939. He spent so much of his time in his opponents' backfields that he was given the moniker "Raider Al" and was named as one the guards on the FSC all-time football team. Serving his apprenticeship in the line at the Alhambra High School, first as a center, later as a guard, Radka prepared himself for a career which continued under the coaching of Bob McNeish, who coached at Pasadena City college. Then he moved to Fresno State College where Bradshaw's line coach Roy Niswander initiated the Red-Haired Radka in the aches and pains of college blocking. Radka graduated from Fresno State in 1941. He was Student Body President in 1940-1941; member of Blue Key, National Men's Honorary Fraternity; member of Alpha Phi Gamma, National Journalism Fraternity; Varsity :F: Society and the Sigma Epsilon Fraternity. He wrote college sports for The Fresno Bee under Ed Orman. He also wrote, produced, directed and appeared in three annual Fresno State College's Spring Swing Musicals, during 1939 through 1941. Radka is a past president of the Fresno Junior Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the Raisin Bowl game, past chairman of the Fresno Junior Chamber of Commerce State Convention, winner of the Junior Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Key and the Kenneth L. Hampton Award. He was named California State University’s Fresno Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1963. The Fresno Hot Stove League grew under Radka's guidance to one of the largest vital organizations of Fresno. He was married to the former Alma May Dutton, a native daughter of Fresno. Radka enlisted in the Air Corps in 1942 as a Private, discharged as a Captain in 1946 and was a reserve Major for many years. He was employed with KFRE and KFSN-TV for many years as well. After retiring from Channel 30 and KFRE in 1981, he along with Alma started their own advertising agency, "Al Radka Productions", with headquarters at Lamoure's Cleaners & Laundry, creating radio, TV, and newspaper ads for Lamoure's, Oberti Olives (who they represented continuously since 1957), Bargain Party Rent-All & Sales, Central Radio & TV, Dick's Menswear and Shoes, The Flower Basket, Whitie's Pet Shops, & The Old Fresno Hofbrau. Reprinted by Lost Fresno, a discussion forum that remembers growing up in the 1950's. Remembering Old Fresno The Old Fresno Water Tower is located at Fresno and O Streets in downtown Fresno. Built in the American Romanesque style, it stands 109 feet high, with a storage capacity of 250,000 gallons in its water tank. It is constructed of red brick, each layer smaller than the one below it, to produce a beehive effect. It also has a two-foot thick inner wall, and an outer wall of about fourteen inches. There is a passage, or hollow space, about three feet wide between the two walls. The outside of the tower has a painted surface over the brick construction. Original plans called for three floors to be constructed under the tank itself, but only the second floor was completed. It has subsequently been removed. This district was originally proposed as part of the 1990 Tower District Specific Plan. Its boundaries are Olive Avenue on the south; Broadway (south of Floradora) and the rear property line of Echo Avenue (north of Floradora) on the west; McKinley Avenue on the north, and Maroa Avenue on the east. A portion of this tract, known as the Wilson Island, was designated as an official local historic district in October 2009. George D. Wilson's North Fresno Tract is an eighteen-block area in the geographical heart of the Tower District. Anchored on its southeastern corner by the landmark Tower Theatre, the North Fresno Tract is a fine example of an inner suburban neighborhood whose physical fabric, still intact, evolved incrementally from the streetcar era through the postwar years. Although this addition was dedicated in 1908, widespread development did not take place in the area until later. The extent of Fresno's northward spread was largely limited, at the time of Wilson's deciation, to the land south of Belmont, although a few homebuilders had begun to venture north toward Olive. The opening, in 1912, of the Roeding line, which stretched west of Olive from Fulton to Roeding Park, helped to make development feasible in the southern portion of the Tract. Two years later, the Wishon Avenue line was opened all the way through the neighborhood; Wilson's original property was now well-served by two transportation routes that offered ready access to downtown, and development began in earnest. These streetcar links, augmented by automobile traffic, would prove essential to the growth of the North Fresno Tract; for from the start, this was a neighborhood that offered residential comforts and secondary commercial services, but still depended on a close connection with the offices, governmental functions, and primary shopping/commercial amenities of downtown. Much of the neighborhood's early residential development came in the form of modest bungalows, similar to those being built elsewhere in the Tower District. These homes, scattered throughout the Tract, are most evident in the blocks just north of Olive. The most distinctive of the early bungalows, however, is the Mosgrove Home, at the southeast corner of E. Pine and N. Linden Avenues, built in 1910. This unique residence, unlike most bungalows, was custom built as a single house for a specific client, and still stands on a large lot that evokes its original isolation, far north of what was the settled part of Fresno. On the blocks around the Mosgrove home–from N. Echo Avenue east to N. Wishon, between E. Floradora and E. Carmen Avenues–Wilson laid out wide lots, intended as substantial home sites. These lots, improved primarily in the 1920s, saw the erection of some of the finest Period Revival homes in Fresno. The stretch of homes along the west side of N. Echo is a particularly noteworthy ensemble. This sub-area provides an interesting counterpart to the earlier generations of large homes that stretched along Fulton and Van Ness: aside from the obvious stylistic differences evident in the later homes, there is also a clear transition to be seen between the "public" quality of the earlier residences, which front proudly on thoroughfares traversed daily by hundreds or thousands of people, and the deliberate seclusion of the later homes, built on small streets intended only for local traffic. This contrast is emblematic of the growing desire for seclusion in wealthier suburban neighborhoods, as American cities became increasingly divided along social lines in the twentieth century. Remembering Old Fresno. Nevertheless, the North Fresno Tract was close enough to the city that it developed at a denser, more urban scale than the typical suburban neighborhood of the same period. In residential architecture, the integration of multi-family and single-family buildings, begun tentatively in the Lower Fulton-Van Ness area, continued on and around the major thoroughfares of Wilson's addition. The four-unit apartment block, which offered the homelike amenity of a private entry and balcony to each of its units, gained popularity here through the 1910s and 1920s. Larger multi-family buildings were also, in several instances, successfully introduced into the Tract's residential blocks. The Nelsen Apartment building actually stands just east of N. Maroa Avenue, but it plays an important visual part within the Tract, since it acts as an understated, but effective terminus to the low scale of E. Carmen Avenue. It is also, with the Osage Apartments at Broadway and Belmont, significant as the only full-scale apartment house in the Tower District. In 1939, the freely-adapted Normandie Mar Apartments at the southeast corner of N. Wishon and E. Home Avenues (which features apartments with separate entries) was designed in a way that simultaneously met the demands of its large, valuable site and achieved compatibility with the residential scale and stylistic pretensions of the surrounding blocks. A good example of typical postwar apartment development in California is the building at 858 E. Carmen Avenue, which features separate units arrayed along two levels of outdoor walkways, beneath which an open area divided by simple wood partitions offers shelter for each tenant's car. Remembering Old Fresno. The other facet of the North Fresno Tract's somewhat urbanized development is, of course, its commercial architecture, which is centered chiefly around the major intersection of Olive and Wishon. Some of the storefront buildings in this area date from the streetcar era (for example, the stores at 845-861 E. Fern Avenue); however, little remains of the original design of most of these earlier structures. Instead, they tended to be re-faced–or replaced–in the flush of commercial success that surrounded the 1939 opening of the Tower Theatre, which, historically, stands out as one of the single most important structures in the the Tower District. The transformation of the strategic northwest corner of Olive and Wishon from a public playground (donated for the City's use by the owner of the property, A. Emory Wishon) to the site of one of the most prominent buildings in Fresno, signalled the coming-of-age of the Tower District as a commercial center, and helped to guarantee its vitality in the following generation. Ironically, this boost came just as the Olive and Wishon streetcar line–ventures once commandeered by Wishon's father, and vital contributors to the neighborhood's earlier growth and character–were being removed to make way for automobile traffic. The large parking lot behind the Theatre is, in this way, as important a symbol of the district's changing urban pattern as is the Theatre itself. Although the Theatre's opening served symbolically as the key event in the creation of a new suburban shopping district, it actually came in the midst of a general rush of commercial construction in the immediate area–spurred, perhaps, by the slow economic upturn that followed the worst days of the Depression, and by the prospect of the pending removal of the aging streetcar tracks. One notable example of the contemporary, automobile-oriented architecture that had appeared within the North Fresno Tract before completion of the Tower Theatre was the Safeway Grocery Store–now the Grandmarie's Chicken Pie Restaurant–one block to the east. After the Second World War, distinctive glass-front commercial buildings began to appear along Olive, Wishon, and Fern–as they did on other streets in the Tower District. Retail commercial architecture of this period often is referred to as Showcase architecture, based on its extensive use of storefront glazing and display areas to "showcase" merchandise in a most prominent manner. Few of the District's postwar commercial buildings were better-designed or better-preserved than the one at 1296-1298 N. Wishon. This small building ably captures the commercial aesthetic of the era. The care with which it was designed is evident in dozens of small details: in the heavy, frameless doors with their clear, tubular handles; in the subtle, cornerless sloping of the lower walls into the sidewalk pavement; and in the recessed cove lighting of the protective overhead canopy. Its presence–and the nearby presence of other buildings like it–bespeaks the continued vitality of the North Fresno Tract, some fifty years after it was first opened to development. This area, better than any other, encapsulates and preserves the evolving landscape and the architectural legacy of the Tower District across the entire period of its growth. Reprinted by Lost Fresno, a discussion forum that remembers growing up in the 1950's. Forestiere Underground Gardens. The Underground Gardens are the life-long devotion and hobby of Baldassare Forestiere, a Sicilian immigrant who came to America in 1901 to escape the iron rule of his wealthy father and pursue his own dreams. The Gardens are a subterranean complex of patios, grottos, and garden courts interconnecting with passageways that encircle the living quarters of the self-taught artist and builder who sought to escape the brutal heat of Fresno summers. Forestiere patterned his underground world after the ancient catacombs, which he so admired as a boy. Arches and passageways dominate the underground landscape while the stonework provides stability and beauty. But unlike the dark catacombs that protected the remnants of the lifeless, Forestiere designed well-lit courtyards and grottos to bring forth the radiance and vitality of life. Forestiere Underground Gardens No plans were put on paper; each room and passageway originated in Forestiere’s mind as he went. With the simple tools of a farmer—a pick, a shovel, and a wheelbarrow—the young immigrant dug, chipped, and carved the unforgiving hardpan land for 40 years in his spare time. By the time he was 44 years-old, he had excavated and planted over 10 acres. Forestiere Underground Gardens. But the humble immigrant’s genius did not stop there. Incredibly, Forestiere planted multiple varieties of fruit-bearing plants at different underground levels. Oranges, lemons, grapefruits—many on a single tree—as well as more unusual varieties like kumquat, loquat, jujube, strawberry, quince, and dates could be easily plucked from the surface by simply bending down. Wine and table grapes also grace this sanctuary, and dangle lusciously in great clumps every- where---truly an oasis in a modern-day desert of pavement. Reprinted by Lost Fresno, a discussion forum that remembers growing up in the 1950's. Remembering Old Fresno. Fresno's Fulton Mall is a six block long outdoor pedestrian mall, and is the centerpiece of Fresno's Central Business District. On the Fulton Mall you'll find a wide variety of shopping, services and offices. The Fulton Mall stretches from Tuolumne Street at its northen end, to Inyo Street at its southern end. From the earliest days of Fresno, this corridor, once "Fulton Street" has been the heart of the city's downtown. The mall is bisected by three "cross malls" along Merced, Mariposa and Kern Streets. The mall was built in 1964 as part of a major urban renewal project and was designed by noted modernist landscape architect Garrett Eckbo. Many of Fresno's most historic buildings are located along the mall, which itself is recognized internationally as an important modernist landscape design. The mall also is home to a world-class public art collection. It was the nation's second downtown pedestrian mall. Fresno's Fulton Mall. Today the mall is home to a diverse community, representing Fresno's rich cultural heritage. Many of Fresno largest office towers are on the mall, and its central location means it is close to many downtown government offices. You'll find many dining options along the mall, from corner cafes to friendly restaurants. The Fulton Mall is also home to Fresno's new downtown baseball stadium Chukchansi Park, home of the Fresno Grizzlies, the AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, as well as the Fresno Fuego soccer team. The mall is also home to a twice weekly Farmers Market near the mall clock tower at Fulton & Mariposa, on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Reprinted by Lost Fresno, a discussion forum that remembers growing up in the 1950's. Remembering Old Fresno Fresno Famous is a web site dedicated to cataloging, exploring, and discovering life in Fresno. We love Fresno, and we know you do too. Well, parts of it anyway. Fresno Famous is a place for people who care about Fresno to share news, opinion, and information. Our goal is to capture and organize all the good things about Fresno, in one easy-to-find location. From taco stands to local bands, we want to hear all about your Fresno experiences. Ours is a community that is rapidly changing. How we change is up to us. Want a city with cleaner air, better schools? Let's share our visions and talk about how we get there. Let's share news related to our goals. Let's comment on what our leaders are doing. Let's share our knowledge and engage each other in conversation. Want a city with more entertainment? Let's share all the fun events organized by our bands, businesses, and friends by adding them to the calendar. Let's share a quick review of the great band/dance/theater/film/sports team we saw last night. Let's share the interview we do with our favorite local artist, musician, or dancer, so everyone can get clued in. Want a city with more culture? Let's share our picks for best Thai food, best Mexican bakery, and favorite shish kebab. Let's share the news of the latest gallery opening, or the hottest new club. Let's keep everyone informed about what's going on in our various communities. We know our users know more than we do. By pooling our knowledge, we'll discover and explore more. And who wouldn't love that? How it Works All the content on Fresno Famous is created by a combination of users and Famous staff. All users are welcome to post comments, stories, images, blog posts and more. Tags Content is organized around tags (think keywords), so you'll always find what you're looking for. Some tags, like neighborhood and topic, are created by Famous. Every time you post content, you'll be asked to select a relevant neighborhood (where the restaurant is, what part of the city your post talks about, where you live). You'll also be asked to chose which broad topic your post applies to- like Food and Drink, or Music. Then you'll be able to create as many tags as you would like. Tags help other people find your content, so it's best to be as specific as possible. Let's say for example you're making a blog post about a new produce market, Avocado Corner. You'd select "Chinatown" for the neighborhood, "Food and Drink" for the topic, and then add some descriptive tags to help people find your post. You'd start with the name of the new market, Avocado Corner, and add tags like farmer's market and produce. Your post will automatically display whenever someone searches for any of those tags. Content Types When you are ready to share your content with the site, you must first decide which content type to use: article, blog, event listing or forum topic. Article is a content type best suited for an interview or a story. You can upload an image that corresponds to your article, create a subtitle, and offer any relevant disclosures (for example, if you write a rave review of the restaurant your brother owns, you owe it to the community to disclose that). Articles show up at the top of the homepage, and the top of all the tag pages. Blog posts are great for when you want write a quick review, share your opinion, or link to another page and add your commentary. You can link to images hosted elsewhere in blog posts. Forum topics are best suited to asking questions of the Famous community, short announcements, and technical help. If you think you've encountered a bug or an error, the forums are the place to report it and get help. Event listings are for events! Be sure to fill out the complete address so it can be featured correctly on the map. Event listings are displayed on the home page and tag pages, so be sure to add helpful tags. You maintain ownership and control of all your content, so don't be afraid to start sharing! Reprinted by Lost Fresno, a discussion forum that remembers growing up in the 1950's. Remembering Old Fresno. Roeding Park - 890 W. Belmont, Fresno CA 93728 Whatever you have in mind for fun or relaxation, Roeding Park is just the place to spend the afternoon! Beautifully landscaped with cool blue lakes, huge groves of trees, rolling green lawns, and dotted by flower gardens, the park contains eight championship tennis courts, two dance pavilions, horseshoe pits, slides and playgrounds, and many picnic areas, complete with picnic tables, and barbecue pits. Parks Hours and Entrance Fees: The park is open April through October, 6am to 10pm and November through March, 6am to 7pm. ADMISSION is $3 per vehicle. This 159 Acre Regional Park is located on Belmont Avenue next to Freeway 99 and attracts 600,000 visitors annually. It's grassy acres include a lake, several ponds, and groves of ash, cedar, pine, and eucalyptus, maple, and redwood trees. There are numerous children's playgrounds and 96 picnic tables and 9 picnic shelters scattered throughout the park. For Picnic Shelter Reservations call the Parks Division at (559) 621-2900 Scattered picnic tables located throughout the park need no reservations. Reprinted by Lost Fresno, a discussion forum that remembers growing up in the 1950's. Remembering Old Fresno. California State University, Fresno was founded as Fresno State Normal School in 1911, became a teacher's college in 1921, and has offered advanced degrees since 1949. The university's popular nickname is "Fresno State." Our mascot is the Bulldog. Affiliation Fresno State is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University, one of the largest systems of higher education in the world. Accreditation The university is accredited by the California Board of Education and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It has 26 nationally accredited departmental programs, among the highest number within the CSU system. Enrollment (2006-07) The university enrolled more than 22,000 students, and approximately 5,000 students completed work for bachelor's, master’s and doctoral degrees by Commencement 2007. Faculty 1,100 full- and part-time; 96 percent of the tenured faculty hold doctoral or other terminal degrees in their areas of study. Location Fresno State's 388-acre main campus and its 1,011-acre University Farm are located at the northeast edge of Fresno, California, at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range. The surrounding San Joaquin Valley is one of the richest agricultural areas in the world, and Fresno is the sixth largest city in California. The university is within an hour's drive of many mountain and lake resorts and within a three- or four-hour drive of both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Academic Schools and Divisions Agricultural Sciences and Technology; Arts and Humanities; Craig School of Business; Kremen School of Education and Human Development; Engineering; Health and Human Services; Science and Math; Social Sciences. Graduate Studies; Continuing and Global Education. Reprinted by Lost Fresno, a discussion forum that remembers growing up in the 1950's. Remembering Old Fresno. Fresno is a city in California, USA, the county seat of Fresno County. As of February 27, 2009, the population was estimated at 500,017,[5] making it the fifth largest city in California and the 36th largest in the nation. Fresno is located in the center of the wide San Joaquin Valley of Central California, approximately 200 miles (322 km) north of Los Angeles and 170 miles (274 km) south of the state capital, Sacramento. The city is part of the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area, which, with a population of 1,002,046, is the second largest metropolitan area in the Central Valley after Sacramento. The name Fresno is the Spanish language word for the ash tree and an ash leaf is featured on its flag. It is prominently featured in Cajas de Carton, a short story by famed author Francisco Jimenez. The original inhabitants of the region were the Yokuts. The County of Fresno was formed in 1856. It was named for the abundant mountain ash trees lining the San Joaquin River. Fresno is the Spanish word for white ash trees. The county was much larger than it is today as part of Tulare County, comprising its current area plus all of what became Madera County and parts of what are now San Benito, Kings, Inyo, and Mono counties. Millerton, then on the banks of the free-flowing San Joaquin River and close to Fort Miller, became the county seat after becoming a focal point for settlers. Other early county settlements included Firebaugh's Ferry, Scottsburg and Elkhorn Springs. The San Joaquin River flooded on December 24, 1867, inundating Millerton. Some residents rebuilt, others moved. Flooding also destroyed the town of Scottsburg that winter. Rebuilt on higher ground, Scottsburg was renamed Centerville. In 1867, Anthony Easterby purchased land bounded by the present Chestnut, Belmont, Clovis and California avenues. Unable to grow wheat for lack of water, he hired Moses J. Church in 1871 to build an irrigation canal. Church then formed the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Company, a predecessor of the Fresno Irrigation District. In 1872, the Central Pacific Railroad established a station near Easterby's farm for its new Southern Pacific line. Soon there was a store. Around the station and the store grew the town of Fresno Station, later called Fresno. Many Millerton residents, drawn by the convenience of the railroad and worried about flooding, moved to the new community. Fresno became an incorporated city in 1885. An 1897 photo of K Street High School, which was replaced by Fresno High School in 1896. The school later became Emerson Elementary School and was demolished ca. 1930. Two years after the station was established, county residents voted to move the county seat from Millerton to Fresno. When the Friant Dam was completed in 1944, the site of Millerton became inundated by the waters of Millerton Lake. In extreme droughts, when the reservoir shrinks, ruins of the original county seat can still be observed. In the nineteenth century, with so much wooden construction and in the absence of sophisticated firefighting resources, fires often ravaged American frontier towns. The greatest of Fresno's early-day fires, in 1882, destroyed an entire block of the city. Another devastating blaze struck in 1883. In 1909, Fresno's first and oldest synagogue, Temple Beth Israel, was founded. The population of Fresno proper soared in the second half of the 20th century. It entered the ranks of the 100 largest United States cities in 1960 census with a population of 134,000. In the 1990 census it moved up to 47th place with 354,000, and in the census of 2000 it achieved 37th place with 428,000, a 21 percent increase during the preceding decade.[6] The Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill was the first modern landfill in the United States, and incorporated several important innovations to waste disposal, including trenching, compacting, and the daily covering of trash with dirt. It was opened in 1937 and closed in 1987. Today, it has the unusual distinction of being a National Historic Landmark as well as a Superfund Site. Before World War II, Fresno had many ethnic neighborhoods, including Little Armenia, German Town, Little Italy, and China Town. During 1942, Pinedale, in what is now North Fresno, was the site of the Pinedale Assembly Center, an interim facility for the relocation of Fresno area Japanese Americans to internment camps. The Fresno Fairgrounds was also utilized as an assembly center. Row crops and orchards gave way to urban development particularly in the period after World War II; this transition was particularly vividly demonstrated in locations such as the Blackstone Avenue corridor. In September 1958, Bank of America launched a new product called BankAmericard in Fresno. After a troubled gestation during which its creator resigned, BankAmericard went on to become the first successful credit card; that is, a financial instrument which was usable across a large number of merchants and also allowed cardholders to revolve a balance (earlier financial products could do one or the other but not both). In 1976, BankAmericard was renamed and spun off into a separate company known today as Visa Inc. The dance style commonly known as popping evolved in Fresno in the 1970s. Fictional residents of the town were portrayed in a 1986 comedic mini series titled "Fresno", featuring Carol Burnett, Dabney Coleman, Teri Garr and Charles Grodin, along with numerous other celebrities. The mini series was presented as a parody of the prime time soap operas popular in the 1980s. In 1995, the FBI's Operation Rezone sting resulted in several prominent Fresno and Clovis politicians being charged in connection with taking bribes in return for rezoning farmland for housing developments. Before the sting brought a halt to it, housing developers could buy farmland cheaply, pay off council members to have it rezoned, and make a large profit building and selling inexpensive housing. Sixteen people were eventually convicted as a result of the sting. Reprinted by Lost Fresno, a discussion forum that remembers growing up in the 1950's.