I Crawled All Over the Old Sun Maid Raisin Plant

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Come back with us now to those hot summer nights when half of Fresno's teens were driving up and down Belmont. Or remember what it was like on Fulton St. before Belmont took the title of "Fresno's Main Drag" Remember the Rainbow Ballroom? Post you night life memories here.
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I Crawled All Over the Old Sun Maid Raisin Plant

Postby Lost Fresno Guest » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:11 am

It was 1969 and me and a buddy headed to the outskirts of downtown Fresno to a transmission repair shop. It wasn’t on our itinerary but nearby was a 4 story brick structure that was clearly in the process of falling down because of neglect. I suggested that we go over and investigate and as we got closer we could read the faded letters on its water tower: SUN-MAID RAISINS. I grew up all my life in Fresno but this was my first glimpse of the old Sun-Maid Raisin plant built in 1918. There wasn’t a soul around and an easy hop over the crumbling fence lead us inside. It seemed like every one of the many factory windows had been broken out.

There was twisted metal girders lying here and there and piles of bricks that had fallen from above. We were amazed at all the rooms, staircases and abandoned facilities and began exploring every room we could get into. We were having the time of our lives investigating this old structure, never mind that it could of ended at any moment with something falling on us. When you are 18, you feel invincible and looking back now and was incredible foolish. Apparently the structure had been abandoned in 1965 when Sun-Maid moved their factory to Kingsburg. Did anybody else take a tour of the plant before it was razed?
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sun-maid_plant4.jpg
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Re: I Crawled All Over the Old Sun Maid Raisin Plant

Postby fresno103 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:26 am

Thanks for sharing. If it only had been 30 years later that they moved, developers would of turned in into a fancy shopping center like Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. Here is a shot of the water tower before the words started to fade. I miss that place.
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rasins_sign.jpg
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Re: I Crawled All Over the Old Sun Maid Raisin Plant

Postby Lost Fresno Guest » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:21 pm

Check out this great lien postcard of the old Sun-Maid Raisin plant. It never looked this good when I saw it in the good 'ol days. I guess that is the raisins drying in the sun in front of the structure. It should go full size when you click on it, if I did it right. I have it as my computer desktop.
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sunmaid_postcard.jpg
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Re: I Crawled All Over the Old Sun Maid Raisin Plant

Postby Lost Fresno » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:46 pm

I loved that old plant too, sorry to learn that it is gone. Here are some black and white shots of the old plant before it shut down.
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plant.jpg
plant.jpg (119.11 KiB) Viewed 2577 times
plant2.jpg
plant2.jpg (57.08 KiB) Viewed 2577 times
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Re: I Crawled All Over the Old Sun Maid Raisin Plant

Postby Lost Fresno » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:50 pm

The Sun-Maid Raisin Plant as seen from a downtown high rise and looking directly over the Hotel Californian. You can see the water tower on the horizon to the right.
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plant3.jpg
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Re: I Crawled All Over the Old Sun Maid Raisin Plant

Postby Big J » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:17 am

Great stuff.

I remember the building well. Back in the early to mid 80's my dad's printing equipment dealership was in a building that woulda been just off screen on the left of the first pic in this thread.

Being a big fan already of Fresno history and old buildings, I was always amazed by the run down plant next door.

Anyone else remember the channel 30 report from the day they knocked it down, showing the tower fall and leave a seconds long impression/ghost of its outline and the words on the screen after it fell?

I have a couple bricks from the building to this day. My dad snuck on the site and grabbed them for me - they're in my garden.
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Re: I Crawled All Over the Old Sun Maid Raisin Plant

Postby contrygal » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:20 pm

Thank you... who ever put the photos on of the Old Sun Maid factory.!!!
For personal reasons i wanted a couple of photos. My Grandfather was a custodian there,
i believe in the late 1930's and 40's.
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