Posted by John Rupe
This is my journey to bring awareness to Fresno’s oldest structure, the Expositor building. It all began with an idea to recreate how Fresno once appeared at the turn of the century. While studying photographs I noticed the particular structure in the distance for which I had to recreate. There seemed to be no photographs good enough for details,so in May of last year my journey began, with a trip to the library archives.
I went to the sanborn fire insurance maps, where it stated it was the Expositor. After research I discovered it was Fresnos first newspaper, relocating here from Millerton in 1874, at today’s Bank of Italy site. In 1881 they moved to today’s site, 1027/31 Fulton Mall. They added the top floor in 1888, as business was booming. While researching I discovered another column had the location next door, and demolished years ago. After I gave my evidence, the article was changed to reflect its existence.
12 months later after I had teamed up with Fresno’s Past, a Facebook group, we decided that we need to get some activity going. Spearheaded by group members, Mark, Kevin, Michael, and myself, among others, we banded and took this to the Historic Preservation Committee. Group member Kevin had made contact with the owner whom was very intrigued, and surprised with the whole ordeal. It is currently in the beginning process of its next chapter.
Yesterday, Kevin, the business owner, members of the committee, and myself went inside the second floor, for which we had to use a ladder. The staircase had been removed and sealed off years ago. We were also intrigued to finally find out if indeed it contained a basement.
It took awhile but we found the entry, back in time. Wow, wow, wow, is all I can say. The place is an archeological site. There were newspapers dating back to 1892 still intact. Remnants of the first remodel appeared to have been dumped into the basement. This story will continue. Have a great day.
Watch video of our journey into the expositor here: