Proposed North Park Historic District
The North Park Historic District was proposed in John Edward Powell and Michael J. McGuire's Supplementary Historic Building Survey of the Ratkovich Plan Area. The approximate boundaries of this district are Divisadero Street on the south, Blackstone Avenue on the east, Freeway 180 on the north, and Roosevelt Avenue on the west. The boundaries of this proposed district overlap in part with the proposed Lower Fulton-Van Ness Historic District.
Although the construction of Freeway 180, known as "the Gap," has largely altered the integrity of Fresno's most significant concentration of turn-of-the-century downtown historic building stock, this elevated connector between Freeways 99 and 41 forced a formal reevaluation of the area in 1990-1991. Completed by architectural historian Karen Weitze, Ph.D., this enormous study meticulously documented remnants of the early northern expansion of the city, now bisected diagonally by the freeway. Weitze's analysis of the Area of Potential Effects (APE) corridor for Caltrans supplies ample groundwork to support designation of the greater area through which the freeway cuts as a potential historic district.
A permit-by-permit review of this area was not possible under the scope of Powell & McGuire's survey, but statistics calculated from preliminary worksheet field assessments support district designation. This 643-property district appears to meet a 67.5 percent compliance rating, suggesting that a close monitoring of the neighborhood will be required to preserve its potential district status. Unsympathetic infill development, primarily in the form of two-story Utilitarian Tract-style multiplex units, has grossly compromised the area. A comprehensive historic survey of this district would be a massive undertaking, but totally justifiable as a method of stabilizing the sizeable portion of the Lowell/Jefferson Neighborhood section of downtown Fresno.