Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Fresno County, California
The area now known as Fresno County, once a dry desert, was discovered during a search by Spaniards for suitable mission sites. In 1846, this area became the property of the United States as a result of the Mexican War.
The settling of Fresno County was not without its conflicts, land disputes, and natural disasters. Floods caused immeasurable damage to the Millerton area so much so that the county seat was moved to Fresno and the little town never fully recovered. Fires also plagued the settlers of Fresno County. In 1882, the greatest of the early day fires wiped out an entire block of the city of Fresno, and was followed by another devastating blaze in 1883.
At the same time residents brought irrigation, electricity, and extensive agriculture to the area. Moses Church developed the first canals, called "Church Ditches," for irrigation. These canals transformed the barren desert of Fresno County into rich soil, thus enabling extensive wheat farming in Fresno County. Frances Eisen, leader of the wine industry in Fresno County, also began the raisin industry in 1875, when he accidentally let some of his grapes dry on the vine. A.Y. Easterby and Clovis Cole (aka the "Wheat King of the Nation") developed extensive grain and cattle ranches. These and other citizens laid the groundwork for the cultivation of Fresno County - now the nation's leading agricultural region.
To date, over thirty structures in Fresno County are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Fresno Water Tower, which once held over 250,000 gallons of water for the city of Fresno, the Meux Home, and Kearney Mansion Museum.
The county is watered by the San Joaquin River. It is bordered on the west by the Coast Range and on the east by the Sierra Nevada. It is the center of a large agricultural area, known as the most agriculturally rich county in the United States.
Fresno was actually named after two (2) particular ash trees that grew near the town of Minkler on the Kings River. One of the trees is still alive and standing.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 799,407 people, 252,940 households, and 186,669 families residing in the county. The population density is 52/km² (134/mi²). There are 270,767 housing units at an average density of 18/km² (45/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 54.30% White, 5.30% Black or African American, 1.60% Native American, 8.05% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 25.90% from other races, and 4.73% from two or more races. 43.99% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 252,940 households out of which 41.20% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% are married couples living together, 15.20% have a female householder with no husband present, and 26.20% are non-families. 20.60% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.80% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.09 and the average family size is 3.59.
In the county the population is spread out with 32.10% under the age of 18, 11.10% from 18 to 24, 28.50% from 25 to 44, 18.50% from 45 to 64, and 9.90% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 100.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 98.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $34,725, and the median income for a family is $38,455. Males have a median income of $33,375 versus $26,501 for females. The per capita income for the county is $15,495. 22.90% of the population and 17.60% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.70% of those under the age of 18 and 9.90% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Cities and towns
- Cantua Creek
- Del Rey
- Fresno (home of California State University, Fresno)
- Orange Cove
- Raisin City
- San Joaquin
- Shaver Lake
- Squaw Valley
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