Local Register of Historic Resources

Twining LaboratoriesH.P. #58
Twining Laboratories (1930)

2527 Fresno Street
Charles Butner, Architect
Mediterranean Revival

The Twining Laboratories Building is significant as a Depression-era work of regionally important architect Charles E. Butner. It is a solid example of a small commercial office designed in a variation of the Mediterranean Revival style not otherwise seen in downtown Fresno.

The building also is associated with the scientific contributions of Frederick E. Twining (1874-1945), a prominent pioneer chemist in Fresno and the greater San Joaquin Valley. The firm's slogan was "We Test Anything," and Dr. Twining was widely consulted on such diverse subjects as food and drug testing, sobriety testing, and the analysis of California brandy quality compared to imported products. At the time of Frederick Twining's death in 1945, the lab he founded was described as "the most diversified laboratory for scientific research and testing in the United States." Twining's son, Frederick W. Twining (1895-1976), also a chemist with vast experience in the petroleum industry, managed the business after his father's death. He expanded the operation into Bakersfield, Visalia, Modesto, Stockton, and Long Beach. Twining Laboratories continues today to be a major source for the testing of soils and materials in the central San Joaquin Valley.

The Twining Laboratories represents a fine example of Depression-era construction in a modestly-scaled and detailed Mediterranean idiom. Although this genre was quite popular in the design of schools and residences in the Fresno area during the 1910s and 1920s, it was not widely adopted for commercial buildings. Much of that original but small resource has been lost to urban renewal, making the Twining Laboratories a rare example of a stylistic type commonly seen in other California communities.

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