Tour de Fresno: Downtown
by Rainbow Bobbins
Ma braved the 103 degree heat to join me on my tour de Fresno. Our first stop was downtown Fresno where we visited the Fulton Mall, The Buddhist Temple, the water protest at city hall, the Santa Fe Rail Depot, the Basque Hotel and other sites. The Fulton Mall is a neglected Fresno treasure. One of the nations first pedestrian malls, its midcentury architecture and landscape has gone untouched and sadly, the mall has fallen short of its mission to build community and serve as a destination spot in downtown Fresno. What could be thriving spot for arts, cafes, clubs and restaurants is now home to vacant store fronts, ammo shops, and retail outlets pushing polyester dresses. The mall was completed in 1964 and features modernist sculptures, tile mosaics, tiered garden beds and water fountains. Amazing. I did not take many photos but if you want to read more about the history and the art, the downtown association of Fresno has put together an excellent website and walking tour.
Across from Fresno’s City Hall is the old Santa Fe Rail Depot The rail depot still serves as the Amtrak station and was beautifully restored a few years ago with nice tile work and wood details. Shepherds Inn, just across the street is a Fresno classic – an old hotel that served Fresno’s Basque community — you can still get a traditional Basque meal in the restaurant and Picon Punch at the bar. Meals are served family style at community tables with red checkered table clothes