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Clovis, California

Coordinates: 36°49′31″N 119°42′11″W / 36.82528°N 119.70306°W / 36.82528; -119.70306
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Clovis, California
Pollasky Avenue, Old Town Clovis
Pollasky Avenue, Old Town Clovis
Flag of Clovis, California
Official seal of Clovis, California
"Gateway to the Sierras"[1]
Location of Clovis in Fresno County, California
Location of Clovis in Fresno County, California
Clovis is located in California
Location in California
Clovis is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°49′31″N 119°42′11″W / 36.82528°N 119.70306°W / 36.82528; -119.70306
Country United States
State California
IncorporatedFebruary 27, 1912[2]
Named forClovis M. Cole
Clovis Station
 • TypeCouncil–manager[3]
 • MayorLynne Ashbeck [3]
 • Mayor Pro TemVong Mouanoutoua[3]
 • State senatorShannon Grove (R)[4]
 • AssemblymemberJim Patterson (R)[5]
 • U. S. rep.Vince Fong (R)[6]
 • Total25.91 sq mi (67.10 km2)
 • Land25.79 sq mi (66.79 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.31 km2)  0%
Elevation361 ft (110 m)
 • Total120,124
 • Rank52nd in California
237th in the United States
 • Density4,657.95/sq mi (1,798.44/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
93611–93613, 93619
Area code559
FIPS code06-14218
GNIS feature IDs1656303, 2409488

Clovis is a city in Fresno County, California, United States. Clovis was established in 1890 as a freight stop for the San Joaquin Valley Railroad by a group of Fresno businessmen and Michigan railroad speculator Marcus Pollasky. The railroad bought the land from two farmers and named the station after one of them, Clovis Cole. Pollasky then developed a town on the site, also named Clovis.

The completion of the lumber flume in 1894 led to the growth of the area around Clovis Station where a lumberyard and sawmill were built. Clovis was officially incorporated as a city in 1912. Today, Clovis celebrates its heritage as an American frontier town, known for its rodeo, Old Town Clovis historic district, and its motto "Clovis – A Way of Life."

The 2020 population was 120,124.[9] Clovis is located 6.5 miles (10.5 km) northeast of downtown Fresno,[10] at an elevation of 361 feet (110 m).[8]


Clovis in 1932

The city of Clovis began as a freight stop along the San Joaquin Valley Railroad. Organized on January 15, 1890, by Fresno businessmen Thomas E. Hughes, Fulton Berry, Gilbert R. Osmun, H.D. Colson, John D. Gray, and William M. Williams, in partnership with Michigan railroad speculator Marcus Pollasky, the SJVRR began construction in Fresno on July 4, 1891, and reached the farmlands of Clovis M. Cole and George Owen by October of that year. The railroad purchased right-of-way from both farmers, half from each – the east side from Cole and the west side from Owen – and ran tracks up the borderline between the two properties. The railroad agreed to establish a station on the west side of the tracks and to call it "Clovis." The Clovis station, which was named after Clovis Cole, was positioned on the Owen side of the track.

Cole and Owen later sold land to Marcus Pollasky for the development of a townsite. Fresno civil engineer Ingvart Tielman mapped the townsite on behalf of Pollasky on December 29, 1891. The original townsite featured streets named for the officers and principal investors of the railroad: (Benjamin) Woodworth, (Marcus) Pollasky, Fulton (Berry), (Thomas) Hughes, (Gerald) Osmun, and (O. D.) Baron. The townsite, named "Clovis" after Clovis Station by Pollasky, was laid out on what was originally Owen's land.

The railroad was completed as far as the town of Hamptonville (now Friant) on the banks of the San Joaquin River, just 26 miles (42 km) from its point of origin in Fresno. Articles of Incorporation for the San Joaquin Valley Railroad indicate that the corporation intended to build 100 miles (160 km) of track, including sidings and spurs, through the agricultural acreage east of Fresno, then north to the timber and mineral resources of the Sierra foothills. At the time, Hamptonville was called "Pollasky". A celebration of the completion of track-laying was held at the Pollasky terminus on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving of 1891 with a reported 3,000 Fresnans attending. The railroad began official operation in January 1892.

The first year of operation of the railroad coincided with the beginnings of a deep national economic decline. Farmers were unable to get a profitable return on their crops, banks and railroads failed nationwide. The SJVRR was unable to generate sufficient revenues to pay its debt, was leased to the Southern Pacific Railroad and subsequently bought by SPRR in 1893. By reducing the railroad's schedule of operation and trimming costs, the Southern Pacific was able to turn a small profit in the first years after its acquisition.

At the same time that the railroad was being planned, a group of Michigan lumbermen began acquiring thousands of acres of timber in the Sierra Nevada about 75 miles (121 km) northeast of Fresno and founded the Fresno Flume and Irrigation Company in 1891. A dam was built across Stevenson Creek to create a lake that would enable them to move freshly cut timber to a mill beside the lake. They then constructed a 42-mile (68 km), 25-foot-high (7.6 m), V-shaped flume that started at the foot of the dam. As lumber was rough-cut at the mill, it was loaded into the flume and propelled by water to a planing mill east of the Clovis railroad station, where the Clovis Rodeo and Clark Intermediate School sit today.[11] The lumber mill and yard had its own network of rails to move lumber around the yard and to connect with the SJVRR just south of Clovis station.

The completion in 1894 of the lumber flume and commencement of mill operations provided the impetus for further development of the area around the Clovis Station. The town began to take shape as lumber yard employees built homes close to their employment. Service businesses, churches, and schools became necessary, and the town was begun. Clovis's first post office opened in 1895.[10] An 1896 newspaper article describes the town as having a population approaching 500 citizens.

Clovis was incorporated as a city in February 1912. Principal streets in the town center were named for the railroad's officers. Fulton Street was later named Front Street, then Main Street, and is now Clovis Avenue.

The lumber mill burned in 1914 and was not rebuilt. The grounds are now occupied by Clark Intermediate School and the Clovis Rodeo Grounds. Clovis has a long history as a western town known for its slogan, "Clovis – A Way of Life". Since 1914, the Clovis Rodeo has been held on the last weekend in April, with a parade on Saturday morning, followed by the rodeo that afternoon and all day Sunday. Also contributing to the "Clovis way of life" are a number of street festivals, including Big Hat Days, ClovisFest, and the weekly Friday Night Farmer's Market held between mid-May and mid-September every year.

The last surviving structure built by the railroad is a depot now located near the site of the original Clovis Station. The earliest photos, from about 1910, show the depot situated in front of the Tarpey winery south of the intersection of Ashlan and Clovis Avenues. In 1999 it was moved to its present location in the town's center, at the northeast corner of Clovis Avenue and Fourth Street, and was restored by the Clovis Big Dry Creek Historical Society with financing, labor, and materials donated by local businesses and contractors.

Marcus Pollasky was a lawyer, born in Michigan, living in Chicago just before he came to Fresno. Throughout his life he tried to create several projects similar to the SJVRR, including projects in Eureka, California, Virginia, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Few were ever actually built. In 1896, Pollasky sued Collis P. Huntington in Los Angeles courts over the money he lost in Fresno, "while engaged in a joint venture with the defendant, Huntington".[12] It has long been speculated that Pollasky was an agent of the Southern Pacific, and this "joint venture" suit seems to prove that point.[13]

Many buildings in the town core have been renovated. Older storefronts on Clovis Avenue, the main street running through town, have been restored and new buildings have been designed with facades that resemble those found in the early 20th century. The historic center has been reborn as "Old Town Clovis".


Clovis, California
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
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Source: Weather.com / NWS
Metric conversion
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According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.28 square miles (60.29 km2), all of it land.

Clovis is situated midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, bordering Fresno, in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley. Lying at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, which includes Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks, Clovis has been known as "Gateway to the Sierras" since its incorporation in 1912.

The formation of alluvial fans in this part of the San Joaquin Valley has led to a rather flat regional geography. The Clovis area has active and potentially active seismic fault zones.[14] The elevation of Clovis is approximately 355 feet (108 m) above mean sea datum[15] According to the Flood Hazard Boundary Map produced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, part of Clovis is within the 100-year flood zone, such as some of the area near the Clovis Towne Center. The groundwater flow in Clovis is generally to the southwest.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[9]


At the 2010 census Clovis had a population of 95,631. The population density was 4,108.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,586.2/km2). The racial makeup of Clovis was 67,758 (70.9%) White, 2,618 (2.7%) African American, 1,320 (1.4%) Native American, 10,233 (10.7%) Asian, 218 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 8,857 (9.3%) from other races, and 4,627 (4.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24,514 persons (25.6%).[16]

The census reported that 95,243 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 130 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 258 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 33,419 households, 13,718 (41.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 17,975 (53.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,554 (13.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,889 (5.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,985 (5.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 198 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 7,008 households (21.0%) were one person and 2,721 (8.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.85. There were 24,418 families (73.1% of households); the average family size was 3.32.

The age distribution was 26,851 people (28.1%) under the age of 18, 9,572 people (10.0%) aged 18 to 24, 25,542 people (26.7%) aged 25 to 44, 23,559 people (24.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 10,107 people (10.6%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 34.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

There were 35,306 housing units at an average density of 1,516.7 per square mile (585.6/km2),of which 33,419 were occupied, 20,804 (62.3%) by the owners and 12,615 (37.7%) by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.4%. 60,767 people (63.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 34,476 people (36.1%) lived in rental housing units.


At the 2000 census there were 68,468 people in 24,347 households, including 17,675 families, in the city. The population density was 4,000.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,544.5/km2). There were 25,250 housing units at an average density of 1,475.2 per square mile (569.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.8% White, 1.9% Black or African American, 1.5% Native American, 6.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 9.5% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. 20.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[17] Of the 24,347 households 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 22.3% of households were one person and 8.1% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.29.

The age distribution was 30.7% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,283, and the median family income was $50,859. Males had a median income of $39,630 versus $28,072 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,690. About 7.6% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.1% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.


Top employers[edit]

According to the city's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[18] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Clovis Unified School District 5,263
2 Clovis Community Hospital 1,994
3 Alorica 720
4 City of Clovis 671
5 Walmart 620
6 Wawona Frozen Foods 540
7 Anlin Industries 400
8 Costco 354
9 Target 325
10 Save Mart 234


The Sierra Vista Mall is a 78-acre (32 ha) enclosed regional shopping center anchored by Target, Kohl's, Sierra Vista Cinemas 16, and MB2 Indoor Raceway.[19][20][21]

Public transportation within the city is provided by Clovis Transit; some areas also are served by Fresno Area Express, providing connections to Fresno.


Clovis Unified School District[edit]

  • Elementary schools:
    • Boris, Bud Rank, Cedarwood, Century, Clovis, Cole, Copper Hills, Cox, Dry Creek, Fancher Creek, Fort Washington, Freedom, Fugman, Garfield, Gettysburg, Jefferson, Liberty, Lincoln, Maple Creek, Mickey Cox, Miramonte, Mountain View, Nelson, Pinedale, Red Bank, Reagan Elementary, Riverview, Sierra Vista, Tarpey, Temperance-Kutner, Valley Oak, Weldon, Harold L. Woods, Red Bank
  • Middle schools:
    • Clark Intermediate, Kastner Intermediate, Alta Sierra Intermediate, Reyburn Intermediate, Granite Ridge Intermediate
  • High schools:


Public libraries[edit]

Fresno County Public Library operates the Clovis Regional Library.[22]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "City of Clovis, California". City of Clovis, California. Archived from the original on August 4, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  2. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Clovis City Council". Clovis California. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  4. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  5. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  6. ^ "California's 22nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  7. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Clovis". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  9. ^ a b "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1018. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  11. ^ Bos, Peg (July 10, 2018). "Let's Talk Clovis: Heroic pioneers and their amazing flume". clovisroundup.com. Archived from the original on March 12, 2021. Retrieved March 12, 2021. The flume dropped 4,900 feet (27 ½ feet per mile) as it descended 42 miles to the property now occupied by the Clovis Rodeo Association and the C. Todd Clark Intermediate School.
  12. ^ Los Angeles Herald article, March 28, 1896
  13. ^ San Francisco Call article, December 24, 1896
  14. ^ Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, Clovis Towne Center, Clovis, California, Earth Metrics Inc report 10283, October 1989
  15. ^ U.S. Geological Survey, Clovis, California, 7.5 Minute Quadrangle, 1964, (photorevised 1972).
  16. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Clovis city". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  18. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020" (PDF). City of Clovis. November 10, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 12, 2021. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  19. ^ "Sierra Vista Mall Clovis California. About us". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. Sierra Vista Mall is a 78-acre regional shopping center...
  20. ^ Marybeth Nibley (November 25, 1989). "Customers cram into stores, malls". The Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, VA. Associated Press. Retrieved July 13, 2014. Thousands stopped by the 59-store Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis, Calif.,
  21. ^ Chuck Harvey (March 13, 2014). "Go-karts near green flag at Sierra Vista Mall". The Business Journal. Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. The Clovis City Council last year approved the...construction of the racecourse... ...general manager of the Sierra Vista Mall...said the go-kart facility will attract people from as far away as Bakersfield...
  22. ^ "Clovis Regional Library". Fresno County Public Library. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  23. ^ "Chris Colfer's Gaga Gaffe". The Advocate. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2011.

External links[edit]