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Century-Old Historic Tract Housed Early Fresno Socialites

Laura Tsutsui
Valley Public Radio
Jeannine Raymond shows a reprint of a twentieth century map announcing a tract of homes in Fresno that still exist today in the Tower District. Some of those homes turn 100 years old this year.

We’ve looked at how redlining has influenced the development of certain regions in the city of Fresno, but what about the history of a particular neighborhood? One tract of homes in the Tower District is turning 100 this year. Those homes, in the so-called “Wilson Island”, have been recognized for their architectural significance and the social influence of their early inhabitants.

Jeannine Raymond lives in the Tower District today, and just published a book about those homes called “Fresno's Wilson Island, and Rosanna Cooper Wilson, the Woman Behind It.”

Listen to the interview above to hear how Wilson developed the neighborhood, and why the area remains a fixture today. There will also be a centennial celebration of the Wilson Island on May 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Fresno High School.

Credit Laura TSutsui / Valley Public Radio
Valley Public Radio
Many of the homes developed in the "Wilson Island" tract still stand today. Jeannine Raymond says these homes housed prominent Fresno figures throughout the years like local businessmen and judges.

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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