Porter Tract Historic District
The Porter Tract was designated a Local Historic District by the Fresno City Council in April 2001. It was the city's first official historic district. The district's boundaries are Weldon Avenue on the south; Maroa Avenue on the west; the rear property line of Yale Avenue on the north, and College Avenue on the east (see map).
The original development of the Porter Tract began circa 1914-1915 within a portion of the College Addition. The College Adition had been carved out of the Poppy Colony and platted in November 1912. The development and ultimate construction of the Fresno Normal School campus in 1915 (today known as Fresno City College) to the south, and later the Fresno High School campus (1920-1922) to the west, contributed greatly to the residential growth of the Porter Tract.
The Porter Tract contains a diverse yet consistent collection of architectural styles. Several design traditions are represented in the area: Prairie and variations on the Prairie Box, Spanish Revival, Neoclassical, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Italian Renaissance, and Craftsman.
The bulk of the housing in the Porter Tract was developed by contractor John G. Porter (1876-1970). Porter set up strict architectural controls that required all homes in the tract to be two-story. He also appears to have exercised considerable control over the architectural design of the homes he built in the tract. Several oral histories suggest that Porter may have designed many of the homes himself, but no information has been found to indicate whether Porter had formal architectural training. It is known that he worked as a carpenter for several years before developing the neighborhood. Other oral histories suggest that Porter may have used the services of one or more architects to design the earlier homes in the tract.
Begin a tour of the Porter Tract Historic District