The Construction of the Fulton Mall

Do you remember the Country Boys Market with its wooden floors? Walter Smiths was the place to go for clothes on the Fulton Mall. Penny Candy had great blacklight posters and don't forget Whitie's Pet Store on Blackstone. What vintage retail do you remember growing up in Fresno?
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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:29 am

The Construction of the Fulton Mall

Postby kid1955 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:37 am

My Grandfather drove down from Corning, just south of Reading for the big event. That’s how I knew that something big was up. As a young kid, I remember nothing of the politics of the time in regards to tearing up Fulton Street and putting in a pedestrian mall. All I knew is that there was a weeklong celebration downtown and my grandfather was going! During high school, the Fulton Mall was only 5 years old and everything was still new looking. In fact, the little trams were still operated by ladies in Stewardess type uniforms (as in a little pill box hat).

Because it was new and a happening place back then, my friends and I would often drive downtown and hang out on the mall. It was actually a lot of fun there. To that end, I’ve been interested in how the Fulton Mall came about, its rise to fame and later, its decline. I found this interesting youtube video that has footage of the actual construction!

It’s starts off kind of slow with a lot of background to why the mall was built in the first place. If you want to just view the construction, move the slider to the 11:00 minute mark. Below is what youtube says about the film maker.

This short documentary film was commissioned by Victor Gruen Associates to document Fresno's groundbreaking urban renewal campaign of the 1960s, which led to the construction of the Fulton Mall. The film contains a wealth of rare color footage of Fresno of the 1960s, and paints Fresno as a national model for solving the "urban crisis" of the post-war era. In 1968, the film was screened at the White House for an audience that included First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, as part of her national beautification campaign.

The film dates from the era of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" and a time when Fresno was seen as leading the way in creating innovative solutions to urban decay and suburban sprawl, with a community united behind a plan devised by the best and brightest urban planners of the day. While Fresno abandoned its downtown plan in the 1970s, and experienced the very sort of "urban crisis" that the plan was supposed to prevent, the film remains a fascinating historical document, a reminder of a Fresno which no longer exists.

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Re: The Construction of the Fulton Mall

Postby LN09 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:19 pm

The link below will take you to a short article on the history of the Fulton Mall.

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