Fulton Mall (Fresno)

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This article is about Fulton Mall (Fresno). For the street in Brooklyn, see Fulton Mall (Brooklyn).
Fulton Mall, aerial view looking south from Fresno Street intersection. 1965

Coordinates: 36°44′05″N 119°47′28″W / 36.7348°N 119.7912°W / 36.7348; -119.7912

Fulton Mall

Fulton Mall was a six-block pedestrian mall located in the central business district of Fresno, California. The Fulton mall ran from Inyo and Tuolumne Streets and was home to a wide variety of shopping, restaurants, offices and public art.[1]

Originally called J Street, it was renamed Fulton in honor of prominent local financier Fulton G. Berry after his death in 1910. As part of a major urban renewal effort in the early 1960s, Fulton was transformed into Fulton Mall under the supervision of pioneering Austrian architect Victor Gruen and American landscape architect Garrett Eckbo.[2] The mall was dedicated on September 1, 1964, to much fanfare.[3] During this time the mall contained major retailers such as Gottschalks, Montgomery Ward, Woolworth, and JCPenney.

The Fulton Mall declined in the late 1980s with the growth of the city to the north, noted example in 1988 when Gottschalks, corporate HQ moved from Downtown to Woodward Park. The Fulton Mall was nominated in 2008 to the National Register of Historic Places, but was not placed on the register due to objections from a majority of property owners. The property owner vote to not list the Fulton Mall on the National Register was not overwhelming. In fact it was 13 votes to not list and 12 votes to list. And this only happened after many delays of the National Register committee hearing by the City of Fresno in order for them to search for that last 13th building owner to vote against the listing. However, because of its eligibility, the mall is now listed on the California Register of Historical Resources.

This thwarting of the Fulton Mall National Register listing was a major victory by the City of Fresno. This was because National Register listing would have made it politically harder for the City of Fresno to destroy the Fulton Mall in order to put in a street. In fact, the whole idea that the Fulton Mall was "owned" by the building owners was created by the City of Fresno. Intuitively, Fulton Mall should be a public property owned by the City. However, by using questionable legal maneuvers in 2008, after 123 years since the city's creation in 1885, the City of Fresno changed the ownership of the Fulton Mall to the building owners. Had the City of Fresno continued to own Fulton Mall, it would have been legally obligated to accept the National Register of Historic Places listing on behalf of the citizens of Fresno.[4]

In September 2013, the City of Fresno received a $15.9 million TIGER Grant from the US Department of Transportation to reintroduce traffic to Fulton. On February 27, 2014, the Fresno City Council decided the fate of Fulton Mall with a 5-2 vote in favor of putting traffic back on Fulton street, [5][6] and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 3, 2016. On April 2, 2016 ground had been broken to reintroduce traffic to Fulton Street which will be completed in mid 2017. [7]


  1. ^ http://www.gofresnocounty.com/Fulton%20Mall/FultonIndex.htm
  2. ^ https://tclf.org/landscapes/fulton-mall
  3. ^ http://www.gofresnocounty.com/Fulton%20Mall/FultonIndex.htm
  4. ^ "Fresno Fulton Art Mall". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-04-16. 
  5. ^ http://centralvalleyresearch.com/admin/file-upload/14.02.27_Reopen_Fresnos_Fulton_Mall_to_traffic,_City_Council_says_in_historic_vote.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.fresno.gov/NR/rdonlyres/AB58F081-4EEA-4BA2-A42F-6B0E4052290A/0/February272014Actionagenda.pdf
  7. ^ "Public Press Release". http://www.fresno.gov. Retrieved 2016-03-03.  External link in |website= (help)

External links[edit]

Look Around, Follow Me: The Art, Architecture, & Politics of the Fresno Fulton Art Mall, 2016 Documentary Film Archive[edit]