Proposed Huntington Boulevard Historic District
The proposed Huntington Boulevard Historic District is a one-street district extending from First Street on the west to Cedar Avenue on the east. The original development of this area began circa 1910, on 190 acres of what had been an alfalfa field. The Alta Vista Tract, as the land would become known, was mapped by William Stranahan for the Pacific Improvement Corporation, and was offically platted in 1911. The tract's boundaries were Balch Avenue on the south, Cedar Avenue on the east, the rear property line of Platt Avenue (east of Sixth Street) and Platt Avenue (west of Sixth Street) on the north, and First Street on the west. The subdivision was annexed to the City in January of 1912, in an election that was the first in which women voted in the community. At the time of its admission to the City, the Alta Vista Tract was uninhabited but landscaped, although the trees had to be watered by tank wagon. In 1914 developers Billings & Meyering acquired the tract, completed street development, provided the last of the necessary municipal improvements including water service, and began marketing the property with fervor. A mere half decade later the tract had 267 homes. This rapid development was no doubt hastened by the Fresno Traction Company right-of-way along Huntington Boulevard, which provided streetcar connections between downtown and the County Hospital.
While Huntington Boulevard featured the largest and most elaborate homes in the Alta Vista Tract, its history and development is best understood as part of the tract as a whole. Other streets in the tract (Platt, Kerckhoff and Balch) contribute to one of the finest bungalow and Period Revival districts in Fresno. Even if Huntington Boulevard alone received National Historic District status, creation of a larger Alta Vista Tract District may be warranted at the local level (view map of extended boundaries for Alta Vista Tract District).
The street signs along Huntington Boulevard currently bear the words "historic district." These signs were purchased by the street's homeowners association and do not signify an official designation at either the local, county, state or national level.
Historic notes adapted from John Edward Powell's Introduction to A Preliminary Architectural Survey of Kerckhoff Avenue (1991).