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MISSION & DIVERSITY & INCLUSION STATMENT

We make history every day. Since our inception in 1919, the mission of the Fresno City & County Historical Society has been to engage, inform, and educate the public through the collection, preservation, and interpretation of the stories, images, and resources of our unique region in order to better understand our past and help shape our future. We strive to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender expression, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race, or sexual orientation has the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity. We appreciate and value the differences and similarities that we share as people and engage in an environment where we feel empowered to bring our best ideas and practices forward to make an impact within our society. Our staff and board members understand that an organization which reflects the community we serve will create a more substantial enterprise and make us better able to meet their needs.

LINKS

STAFF & 

BOARD OF

DIRECTORS

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HISTORY OF

THE 

SOCIETY

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M. THEO

KEARNEY

BIOGRAPHY

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FRUIT VALE ESTATE & 

KEARNEY MANSION

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Beginnings

OUR BEGINNINGS

FCHS Fully Organized - March 23, 1919 -

Soon after the United States entered World War I, the California State Council of Defense realized that future generations would wish to look back and understand California's part in the war. As a result, in October 1918, the Council established a War History Committee in each California county. The Fresno County Committee was led by Charles McLane, future President of Fresno State. He was joined by Frank Homan, Emory Ratcliffe, Sarah McCardle, John A. Nowell and Ben R. Walker. These six were tasked with preserving all material of historical value relating to the local war effort which could be gleaned from “commonplace material, or may be had though conversation and correspondence.
 

As the Fresno County War History Committee proceeded to collect records, biographies and photographs of local soldiers, it became apparent that a permanent organization needed to be formed to preserve historical material. In December 1918, the committee moved to initiate the formation of the Fresno County Historical Society. Under the leadership of Ben R. Walker, the Society was formally inaugurated on March 22, 1919. The purpose of the Society was to collect and preserve all written or other records and materials of historical value to Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley.
 

The early founders also knew the importance of preserving the region’s story through its architecture and landscape. They were the first advocates of historic preservation in the region and began their work by placing markers at historic sites. Their scope expanded to include saving an early piece of Central California’s architectural history, the Blockhouse of Fort Miller, built in 1851. Later, they led the effort to save and then open to the public the last pieces of agricultural pioneer M. Theo Kearney’s 19th-century estate - his Superintendent’s Lodge, its out-buildings as well as the 230-acre estate grounds that surround them.

Staff and Board

STAFF

Mother with five daughters, Hutchinson 2

Elizabeth Laval President

Candice Pendergrass VP Museum Services

Lori Hunter Office Administrator 

Cami Cipolla Educational Services Director 

Candice Calderon Tour Director

Nancy Faria Event Manager 

Shelsea Avalos Administrative Assistant/Tour Guide

Mark Pozzi Tour Guide


Humberto Guzman Tour Guide


Joshua Villanueva Tour Guide

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

Officers:

Mr. Chris Woolf, Chairman 

Mr. David Rodriguez, Vice Chair

Mr. R. Gary Renner, Treasurer

Dr. Rhonda Herb, Ph.D., Secretary 

Mr. John Chandler, Immediate Past Chairman

Members:

Mr. Greg Baxter

Dr. Lisa Benham, Ed.D.
Mrs. June Boyce

Mr. Martin Ilic

Dr. Brad Jones, Ph.D.

Ms. Sayre Miller

Mr. Nathaniel Moore, CSP  CKA

Mr. John Paul

Hon. Robert Oliver (Ret.)

Dr. Gregory Simpson, M.D. 

Mr. Nick Yovino

Mr. Darren Woo

Honorary Trustee

Mr. Vincent Petrucci*
      * In Memory

3_Enjoying a drive down Kearney Boulevar
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