Monthly news & updates

June 1, 2024

A Message from the President

Dear Members, Supporters and Friends,

June is such a busy month for families. And maybe we don’t have so many June brides here locally because the weather gets so darned hot, but we definitely still celebrate all sorts of graduations. 

Do you ever think about your high school class all forced together on the bleachers or in a dry field for one overarching snap of the camera? And you can hardly tell who anyone actually is unless you are one of the “cool” kids who got to fill the front row or sprawl on the grass? This one final act of solidarity that forever binds you as a member of the Fresno High Class of 1949 or the Kingsburg High Class of 1993 gets stashed in a drawer somewhere, usually at your parents’ house and rarely emerges again until some decades later when someone is on a cleaning binge or, sadly, preparing to move their folks. 

So, I went on a journey through Pop Laval’s collection to see if he had taken any of these photos in 1924 and uncovered quite a treasure!

I located a panoramic photo of a class that matriculated exactly a century ago from a long-forgotten institution – the Edison Technical School. First, panoramic photos of this quality from rolled-up nitro-cellulose film were a rarity. Years ago, I scanned this flammable picture in three parts and, just yesterday, using 21st century technology (boy, Pop Laval would have loved this!) I digitally stitched it back together. You would never even know where the seams were. Just one of those magical moments that demonstrates a small aspect of the restoration process that we can’t wait to share with everyone at our new Archive on Kern facility. Talk about combining the past and the present for the generations yet to come…even I am amazed!

Back to the class photo. Edison Technical was considered an Intermediate School aka a Junior High. With fanfare and a drumroll, please - ladies and gentlemen, may I present the 1924 graduating class of Edison Technical, under the leadership of W.L. Potts, Principal, and comprised 21 girls and 40 boys. My own grandfather, Daniel Trafican, Jr. just missed being in this image by a year or so. That would have been a crazy coincidence for sure. 

I was able to find a little more about the school, itself, in The Fresno Morning Republican newspaper from the early fall of 1923.


“Work Progressing on Edison, Rowell Buildings”

“Most important of the summer additions to the school properties of Fresno city are the handsome new Edison Technical school and the fine two-story addition to the Rowell school erected at a total cost of fifty thousand dollars and partly in use though not fully completed. 

“The new Edison Technical school is located at the junction of California Avenue and Kern Street. It has an imposing front with two wings extending back from each end. It is one story high and is equipped with class rooms and shop space. It is so constructed that when addition is made present class rooms can be converted into shops. It cost 40 thousand dollars. 

“Work started about the middle of last July. It will be completed in a short time but most of the building is already occupied by school classes.

“Coats and Traver designated the structure, and the Trewhitt-Shields company are managers of construction.”

Do you think any of those sixty-one young students could have dreamed of being put under our microscope 10 decades later? I do have a complete list of who made up that class – if you think you know someone, please reach out to me.

Some photos just deserve to be brought back to life for their five minutes of fame and, even just from the technological point of view, I picked this one to receive this honor. If you do the math, since this is a school picture, and these were middle school students in 1924…. well, it is unlikely we will run into any of them soon but perhaps a family member might identify their loved one.

As we wrap up our 23/24 fiscal year at the end of June, we are so proud to have finally made the leap to secure an Archive building (future updates to come), joined Art Hop at The Archive on Kern, created a Time Travelers series of days for our youngest learners and so very much more. We do have a couple of major fundraisers in play this month to “close the budget gap” – hey, we bought a building with no mortgage so no apologies here! If you would like to become an Archive Ally or join our Bid Bash Summer Auction, you can learn more below. Even better, tickets for our sure-to-sell-out Mystery at Kearney Mansion are already on sale.

In the meantime, thank you all for your continued support. We have come a long way in a short time with miles to go before we sleep…

Warmest wishes to all, including our paternal family members who get to celebrate, most likely by grilling outside in the heat.

P.S. Just for fun, I included a few photos from Fresno in mid-1924.

Warmest regards and appreciation, 

Elizabeth Laval                                               


Fresno City and County Historical Society 


Jump into Summer with our Bid Bash Extravaganza!

Now you can be a WINNER and support the your Fresno City & County Historical Society at the same time.

It is easy to register and bid in our Online Auction all month-long with the link below. Just click, sign up and start bidding. Our Auction Catalog is full of fun event tickets, luxury travel and unique gifts.

All of the proceeds will benefit the Fresno City & County Historical Society in this time when it's so important for us. We are working on bringing the entire Archive to the community, and we need your help to do that. We have a range of fun and exciting items that support our organization in more ways than one and we look forward to seeing you all join in this effort with us!



June 6, 2024 - 4PM - 8PM

This month's Art Hop promises an enriching blend of cultural exploration and community engagement at The Archive on Kern! Attendees are encouraged to immerse themselves in a variety of activities, including our Making History Every Day! oral history studio, offering a unique opportunity to contribute to the documentation of our collective heritage. Wander through our gallery spaces to discover what's on the horizon for The Archive on Kern, while enjoying libations and the works of this month’s featured artist and collections from our Archives.


We invite you to delve into the vibrant artistic world of Kambrya Bailey, a California-based artist, who epitomizes the essence of creativity and community engagement. Born and raised in Southern California, she now calls the Central Valley home, where her artistic journey unfolds. Her current season sees her delving into the realms of surrealism and abstraction, which manifests through various mediums such as painting, mixed media, and digital design. Bailey's artistic toolkit comprises a diverse array of materials, including ink, acrylic, oil, canvas, paper, felt, yarn, and gold. This versatile approach allows her to explore a multitude of artistic forms, ranging from traditional paintings and collages to digital portraits, photography, sculpture, jewelry making, and weaving.

Yet, Bailey's art transcends mere aesthetic expression; it serves as a conduit for cultural, spiritual, and emotional connection both to herself and her community. Through her art, she extends a heartfelt invitation to explore the depths of intimacy and shared experience. Moreover, Bailey actively collaborates with community organizations, leveraging art as a catalyst for innovative cultural dialogue and engagement.

In essence, Kambrya Bailey is more than an artist—she is a storyteller, a curator of emotions, and a bridge-builder within her community. Her dedication to forging connections and making history through her art resonates as a testament to the transformative power of creativity.

The Paul Hutchinson Collection, comprising 337 glass negative images, offers a poignant glimpse into Fowler circa 1914, highlighting the lives and stories of African American families in this farming community—an essential reflection of our collective history often overlooked in mainstream narratives.

Furthermore, don't miss the opportunity to engage with oral histories of community members, sharing poignant tales of African American experiences in the Central Valley. From migration narratives to discussions on social, political, and cultural organizations, these narratives offer invaluable insights into the fabric of our community.

Join us on June 6th for an unforgettable evening of art, history, and community connection, as we come together to celebrate our cultural heritage—past, present, and future. It's sure to be a hopping good time


June 19, 2024 - 2PM to 7PM

The Fresno City & County Historical Society (FCCHS) belongs to all Fresno County residents and visitors. One of the great benefits of working for the FCCHS is that we have the ability and desire to preserve all cultural stories in our county and we are not limited to which ethnic groups we can reach. With this scope in mind, I am glad to have the privilege to moderate the FCCHS's first Juneteenth panel to be held at our new Downtown location at The Archives on Kern (AoK) in conjunction with the Fresno Juneteenth Committee on Wednesday, June 19th. The panel discussion will begin at 5 pm - 6:30 pm with the theme: "Black Fresno Today." Come hear the local perspectives of African Americans who are up-to-date on what's going on in today's local Black community. 

Speakers will include:

  • Instructor Karla Kirk - Social Science Division at Fresno City College. 
  • Mr. Eric Payne - Former State Center Community College District Trustee. 
  • Pastor DJ Criner - Saint Rest Baptist Church (one of the oldest Black churches in Fresno). 
  • Dr. Cassandra Little - CEO/President Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce and Instructor at CA State University-Fresno. 
  • Mr. Chris Fields - Farmer with the African American Farmers of CA 
  • Mr. James O'Donnell - Partner of Kocky's Bar & Grill in Downtown Fresno. 

Earlier that day at The Archives on Kern, residents will have an opportunity to share their oral history accounts for recording from 2PM - 5PM right before the afternoon panel begins. Did you know that last year the Fresno Juneteenth Festival attracted 5,000 (five thousand) people during their one-week celebration? This is a family festival for all to attend. Each day starting Thursday, June 13th - June 19th, Juneteenth events will be held in various locations from City Hall, the African American Historical and Cultural Museum, the Valdez Hall (Sat-Sun), the new Fresno City College campus in Southwest Fresno (FCCHS will present), and lastly at our Archives on Kern. For details on each event location and schedule visit As supporters and members of the Society, you don't want to miss the Juneteenth celebration, especially on the historical Federal holiday, Wednesday June 19th from 2PM - 7PM at our Archives on Kern Street, Fresno CA, 93721.

The Society would like to thank the Fresno Juneteenth Chair, Mrs. Janice Sumler, for inviting the FCCHS to join the Juneteenth's education committee. We look forward to a lasting relationship. 


By Cami Cipolla, Director of Educational Services

Hello Friends of the Archives!

Every day, we believe we are making history, and the Fresno City & County Archives' relocation is a pivotal process in that ongoing narrative! We welcome you to join us in this monumental journey by becoming an Archives Ally. Housing over a century of Fresno's history, the Archives are a treasure trove of artifacts, images, ephemera, and collections. The task of relocating these invaluable pieces is no small feat.

By sponsoring an item, you'll contribute directly to its restoration, re-accessioning, and relocation. This is your chance to play a vital role in safeguarding our past for our present and future generations. With each sponsorship, Archives Allies will receive detailed information about the collection including images, recognition in our newsletter and at The Archive on Kern.

Here's a breakdown of the financial needs:

● $100: Preservation Partner-

Documentation, scanning, accessioning, and proper storage for 25 images or ephemera.

● $400: Artifact Architect-

Cleaning, preservation, documentation, accessioning, and proper storage for historic items.

● $800: Relic Rescuer-

Cleaning, preservation, documentation, accessioning, and proper storage for furniture items.

Each collection requires specific resources for relocation, including shelving, containers, scanning and collection materials, plexi-cases, unbuffered tissue paper, and deacidification materials. While the task may seem daunting, with support from Archives Allies like you, we're confident in our ability to tackle this endeavor head-on.

You can also sponsor a specific collection with a monthly sponsorship. These collections are large and will take more time, materials, and preservation care.

Monthly Sponsorship Opportunities:


●     $20: Image Investor- Photo Collections

●     $50: Memoir Mogul- Scrapbooks, diaries, image, and ephemera collections

●     $85: Grandeur Giver- Large estate collections


Cheers friends and thank you for your interest in being an Archives Ally!

For more information, please contact Cami Cipolla, email or by phone at 559.777.4092.


Where are our Kearney Kids? Camp Kearney starts in FOUR WEEKS! Register while there are still spots available!  

This will be unlike any summer camp you’ve seen before. There will be costumed historical reenactors, amazing animal encounters, walking field trips, visits from local museums, Frisbee golf and so much more! Best of all, the indoor activities will take place inside the beautiful, historic Kearney Mansion.

Do you want to learn how to grow your own vegetable garden? The African American Farmers of California will show you how. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fireman, or a mounted police officer? The firemen of Station 56 and the Mounted Sheriff’s Patrol can tell you what it’s like. Maybe you’ve been curious about how Fresno came to be. A representative from the Millerton Courthouse Museum can tell you how it happened. 

Find out more and ask questions! Just email Nancy Faria at for further information! 


Future U.S. Army Caption, Alex Laval at his pre-K graduation.

In June 1924, The Fresno Morning Republican proclaimed:

“Old Glory Will Be Honored Flag Day Exercises in City Parks”

“History of Banner Sketched”

“The Stars and Stripes will be signally honored by Flag Day exercises in Courthouse Park, where the Elks will conduct a ceremony, in Roeding Park where the G.A.R. will hold a picnic, and probably in the city schools.

The American flag was ordained by Congress, June 14, 1777. One year after the Declaration of Independence. The first observance of Flag Day was held June 14, 1897, in New York state by proclamation of the governor.

“Before the Declaration of Independence, the flags of the colonies were various. During the first days of the Revolution, most of the states adopted their own flag. A committee was appointed in 1775 to consider adoption of a single flag for all 13 states.

“It was on June 14, 1777, that Congress resolved ‘that the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.’

“Since the first Flag Day observance in New York state in 1897, the custom has spread throughout the country until it is now nationally observed.

“The Flag Day service to be conducted by the Elks will be held at the base of the flagstaff in Courthouse Park. Members of the American Legion and American Legion auxiliary will participate individually. The service will start at eight o’clock. Arthur Allyn is in charge of arrangements. 

“Members of the G.A.R. and auxiliary organizations will observe the day with a picnic in Roeding Park. Miss Ida C. Moody, a high school teacher, will deliver an address.”

When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, the colonists weren’t fighting united under a single flag. Instead, most regiments participating in the war for independence against the British fought under their own flags. In June of 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to create the Continental Army—a unified colonial fighting force—with the hopes of a more organized battle against its colonial oppressors. This led to the creation of what was, essentially, the first “American” flag, the Continental Colors.

For some, this flag, which was composed of 13 red and white alternating stripes and a Union Jack in the corner, was too similar to that of the British. George Washington soon realized that flying a flag that was even remotely close to the British flag was not a great confidence-builder for the revolutionary effort, so he turned his efforts towards creating a new symbol of freedom for the soon-to-be fledgling nation.

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress took a break from writing the Articles of Confederation and passed a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Over 100 years later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary of that decree by officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day. 

Facts About the U.S. Flag

  1. Bernard Cigrand, a small-town Wisconsin teacher, originated the idea for an annual flag day, to be celebrated across the country every June 14, in 1885. That year, he led his school in the first formal observance of the holiday. Cigrand, who later changed careers and practiced dentistry in Illinois, continued to promote his concept and advocate respect for the flag throughout his life.
  2. It is widely believed that Betsy Ross, who assisted the Revolutionary War effort by repairing uniforms and sewing tents, made the first American flag. However, there is no historical evidence that she contributed to Old Glory’s creation. It was not until her grandson William Canby held an 1870 press conference to recount the story that the American public learned of her possible role. It has since been confirmed that Francis Hopkinson, a delegate from New Jersey who signed the Declaration of Independence, designed the American flag.
  3. The lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” America’s national anthem since 1931, are taken from a patriotic poem written by Francis Scott Key after he witnessed the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. His words were set to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular British drinking song.
  4. In the 1950s, when it seemed certain that Alaska would be admitted to the Union, designers began retooling the American flag to add a 49th star to the existing 48. Meanwhile, a 17-year-old Ohio student named Bob Heft borrowed his mother’s sewing machine, disassembled his family’s 48-star flag and stitched 50 stars in a proportional pattern. He handed in his creation to his history teacher for a class project, explaining that he expected Hawaii would soon achieve statehood as well. Heft also sent the flag to his congressman, Walter Moeller, who presented it to President Eisenhower after both new states joined the Union. Eisenhower selected Heft’s design, and on July 4, 1960, the president and the high school student stood together as the 50-star flag was raised for the first time. Heft’s teacher promptly changed his grade from a B- to an A.5.
  5. Unlike setting an intact flag on fire, flying one upside-down is not always intended as an act of protest. According to the Flag Code, it can also be an official distress signal.
  6. The Flag Code stipulates that the Stars and Stripes should not be used as apparel, bedding or drapery.
  7. The practice of draping coffins in the American flag is not reserved for military veterans and government officials. On the contrary, any burial may incorporate this tradition.

8.Etiquette calls for American flags to be illuminated by sunlight or another light source while on display.

9.During the Vietnam War era, some demonstrators burned American flags as an act of protest. The Flag Protection Act of 1968 was enacted in response, making it illegal to burn or otherwise deface the Stars and Stripes. In two landmark decisions 20 years later, the Supreme Court ruled that the government couldn’t curb individuals’ First Amendment rights by prohibiting desecration of the U.S. flag. Respectful burning of damaged flags according to established protocol has always been acceptable.

10.When flags are taken down from their poles, care must be taken to keep them from touching the ground. In fact, the American flag should always be kept aloft, meaning that rugs and carpets featuring the Stars and Stripes are barred by the Flag Code.

11.When the flags of cities, states, localities or groups are flown on the same staff as the American flag, Old Glory should always be at the peak. When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they should be of equivalent size and flown from separate staffs of the same height.

12.The Flag Code strictly prohibits adding an insignia, drawing or other markings to the Stars and Stripes. Some American politicians have been known to defy this regulation by signing copies of the U.S. flag for their supporters.

13.Ever wondered how to correctly fold an American flag? First, enlist a partner and stand facing each other, each holding both corners of one of the rectangle’s shorter sides. Working together, lift the half of the flag that usually hangs on the bottom over the half that contains the blue field of stars. Next, fold the flag lengthwise a second time so that the stars are visible on the outside. Make a triangular fold at the striped end, bringing one corner up to meet the top edge. Continue to fold the flag in this manner until only a triangle of star-studded blue can be seen.

Did Betsy Ross Really Make the First American Flag?

The well-known story that Ross sewed the country's first flag at the behest of George Washington may be apocryphal. Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross is famous for making the first American flag. But is the account of her contribution to the American Revolution simply a legend?

Although she purportedly sewed the first flag in 1776, Ross wasn’t credited with this work during her lifetime. In fact, her story was first publicly relayed to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania nearly a century later, in 1870, by her grandson, William Canby.

According to Canby, Ross had often recounted a visit she had received in late May or early June of 1776 from three men: General George Washington, financier of the Revolutionary War Robert Morris and Colonel George Ross, a relative. During this meeting, she was allegedly presented with a sketch of a flag that featured 13 red and white stripes and 13 six-pointed stars and was asked if she could create a flag to match the proposed design. Ross agreed, but suggested a couple of changes, including arranging the stars in a circle and reducing the points on each star to five instead of six. 

The following year, on June 14, 1777, Congress officially adopted the Stars and Stripes as the national flag.

Canby’s claim (which was supported by affidavits from Ross’s daughter, niece and granddaughter) was published in “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine” in 1873 and soon became part of the United States history curriculum taught to millions of elementary-aged school children every year.

No official documentation has been found to confirm that Betsy Ross was responsible for creating the very first flag, but it is conceivable that Colonel George Ross—a signer of the Declaration of Independence and her deceased husband's uncle—recommended her for the job. Betsy may also have been acquainted with both Washington and Morris, who were reported to have worshiped at the same church she attended. It has also been established that Ross did indeed make flags, as evidenced by a receipt for the sum of more than 14 pounds paid to her on May 29, 1777, by the Pennsylvania State Navy Board for making “ships colors.”


Some historians attribute the design of the first flag to Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, who also played a role in designing seals for various departments within the U.S. government. In 1780, Hopkinson sought payment from the Board of Admiralty for his design of the “flag of the United States of America.” However, his petition for payment was denied on the grounds that “he was not the only one consulted” on the design.



July will be here before you know it. Don't forget to register for our special Ag Tour that will show you HOW Fresno is the bread and fruit basket of the world. This is part of our heritage! Learn by taking a tour with us of the Oakland Port Authority in Jack London Square with their Commodities Representative, Ron Brown. Lunch will be provided in Jack London Square. Be prepared to be amazed when experiencing how Fresno exports its agricultural products around the world.

Book your seat on Fresno's Global Ag Impact Tour and RSVP TODAY!


Tour Itinerary:

6:30AM - Arrive at Kearney Mansion for breakfast burritos and a look inside of Kearney Mansion.

7:15AM - Board our luxury motorcoach.

7:25AM - Departure.

7:30AM to 11:40AM - Travel to Jack London Square. The trip includes Ag Trivia with Prizes & History Presentation on the Roots of Fresno's Ag Industry.

Noon - Hosted lunch in Jack London Square (included with ticket).

1:00PM - Port Authority Tour.

5:30PM - Dinner - on your own during rest stop during the return journey.

7:00PM - Arrive back at Kearney Mansion.

This extended Ag Tour Excursion is made possible by Kool Breeze Solar Hats.


MAKING HISTORY EVERY DAY: Fresno County Sheriff’s Memorial To Begin Construction

Reprinted from May 14, 2024, Isaiah Varela

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for their future memorial site to honor the fallen.

On May 22 at 9 a.m., a groundbreaking ceremony will be the beginning of what deputies call “a historic moment.”

That Wednesday will officially mark the beginning of construction on the Fresno County Sheriff’s “one of a kind” memorial that will honor all of the employees who have died while in the line of duty.

Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni initially proposed the idea along with an education center to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in November 2023 at a public hearing.

“It absolutely will be used to honor the mission of Fresno County, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, and to ensure we have a first-class memorial,” Sheriff Zanoni said.

In that forum, he went on to explain the fully completed memorial and education center would have hands-on activities and about 20 exhibits. County documents stated that over $1 million was received for the project, with pledges reaching almost $2 million.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the memorial will take place at the Fresno County Area Two Substation located at 1129 N. Armstrong Avenue.

Anyone seeking more information or wanting to get involved can visit the Fresno County Sheriff’s Memorial Foundation website.