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Clovis, California
City
City of Clovis
Pollasky Avenue, Old Town Clovis
Pollasky Avenue, Old Town Clovis
Official seal of Clovis, California
Seal
Motto: "Gateway to the Sierras"
Location in Fresno County and the state of California
Location in Fresno County and the state of California
Country United States
State California
County Fresno
Incorporated February 27, 1912
Area
 • Total 23.278 sq mi (60.289 km2)
 • Land 23.278 sq mi (60.289 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation 361 ft (110 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 95,631
 • Estimate (2014) 102,189
 • Density 4,108.21/sq mi (1,586.210/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 93611–93613 and 93619
Area code 559
FIPS code 06-14218
GNIS feature IDs 1656303, 2409488
Website www.ci.clovis.ca.us

Clovis is a city in Fresno County, California, United States. The 2014 population was estimated to be 102,189. Clovis is located 6.5 miles (10.5 km) northeast of downtown Fresno, at an elevation of 361 feet (110 m).

History

The city of Clovis began as a freight stop along the San Joaquin Valley Railroad. Organized on January 15, 1890, by Fresno businessmen Thomas E. Hughes, Fulton Berry, Gilbert R. Osmun, H.D. Colson, John D. Gray, and William M. Williams, in partnership with Michigan railroad speculator Marcus Pollasky, the SJVRR began construction in Fresno on July 4, 1891, and reached the farmlands of Clovis Cole and George Owen by October of that year. The railroad purchased right-of-way from both farmers, half from each – the east side from Cole and the west side from Owen – and ran tracks up the borderline between the two properties. The railroad agreed to establish a station on the west side of the tracks and to call it "Clovis". The Clovis station, after which the town was named, was positioned on the Owen side of the track.

Cole and Owen later sold land to Marcus Pollasky for development of a townsite. Fresno civil engineer Ingvart Tielman mapped the townsite on behalf of Pollasky on December 29, 1891. The original townsite featured streets named for the officers and principal investors of the railroad: (Benjamin) Woodworth, (Marcus) Pollasky, Fulton (Berry), (Thomas) Hughes, (Gerald) Osmun, and (O. D.) Baron. The townsite, named Clovis by Pollasky, was laid out on what was originally Owen's land.

The railroad was completed as far as the town of Hamptonville (now Friant) on the banks of the San Joaquin River, just 26 miles (42 km) from its point of origin in Fresno. Articles of Incorporation for the San Joaquin Valley Railroad indicate that the corporation intended to build 100 miles of track, including sidings and spurs, through the agricultural acreage east of Fresno, then north to the timber and mineral resources of the Sierra foothills. At the time, Hamptonville was called "Pollasky". A celebration of the completion of track-laying was held at the Pollasky terminus on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving of 1891 with a reported 3,000 Fresnans attending. The railroad began official operation in January 1892.

The first year of operation of the railroad coincided with the beginnings of a deep national economic decline. Farmers were unable to get profitable return on their crops, banks and railroads failed nationwide. The SJVRR was unable to generate sufficient revenues to pay its debt, was leased to the Southern Pacific Railroad and subsequently bought by SPRR in 1893. By reducing the railroad's schedule of operation and trimming costs, the Southern Pacific was able to turn a small profit in the first years after its acquisition.

At the same time that the railroad was being planned, a group of Michigan lumbermen began acquiring thousands of acres of timber in the Sierra Nevada about 75 miles northeast of Fresno. A dam was built across Stevenson Creek to create a lake that would enable them to move freshly cut timber to a mill beside the lake. They then constructed a 42-mile (68 km), 25-foot-high (7.6 m), V-shaped flume that started at the foot of the dam. As lumber was rough-cut at the mill, it was loaded into the flume and propelled by water to a planing mill east of the Clovis railroad station. The lumber mill and yard had its own network of rails to move lumber around the yard and to connect with the SJVRR just south of Clovis station.

The completion in 1894 of the lumber flume and commencement of mill operations provided the impetus for further development of the area around the Clovis Station. The town began to take shape as lumber yard employees built homes close to their employment. Service businesses, churches, and schools became necessary, and the town was begun. Clovis's first post office opened in 1895. An 1896 newspaper article describes the town as having a population approaching 500 citizens.

Clovis was incorporated as a city in February 1912. Principal streets in the town center were named for the railroad's officers. Fulton Street, was later named Front Street, then Main Street, and is now Clovis Avenue.

The lumber mill burned in 1914 and was not rebuilt. The grounds are now occupied by Clark Intermediate School and the Clovis Rodeo Grounds. Clovis has a long history as a western town known for its slogan, "Clovis – A Way of Life". Since 1914, the Clovis Rodeo has been held on the last weekend in April, with a parade on Saturday morning, followed by the rodeo that afternoon and all day Sunday. Also contributing to the "Clovis way of life" are a number of street festivals, including Big Hat Days, ClovisFest, and the weekly Friday Night Farmer's Market held between mid-May and mid-September every year.

The last surviving structure built by the railroad is a depot now located near the site of the original Clovis Station. Earliest photos, from about 1910, show the depot situated in front of the Tarpey winery south of the intersection of Ashlan and Clovis Avenues. In 1999 it was moved to its present location in the town's center, at the northeast corner of Clovis Avenue and Fourth Street, and was restored by the Clovis Big Dry Creek Historical Society with financing, labor, and materials donated by local businesses and contractors.

Marcus Pollasky was a lawyer, born in Michigan, living in Chicago just before he came to Fresno. Throughout his life he tried to create several projects similar to the SJVRR, including projects in Eureka, California, Virginia, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Few were ever actually built. In 1896, Pollasky sued Collis P. Huntington in Los Angeles courts over the money he lost in Fresno, "while engaged in a joint venture with the defendant, Huntington". It has long been speculated that Pollasky was an agent of the Southern Pacific, and this "joint venture" suit seems to prove that point.

Many buildings in the town core have been renovated. Older storefronts on Clovis Avenue, the main street running through town, have been restored and new buildings have been designed with facades that resemble those found in the early 20th century. The historic center has been reborn as "Old Town Clovis".

Geography

Weather chart for Clovis, California
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temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: Weather.com / NWS

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.28 square miles (60.29 km2), all of it land.

Clovis is situated midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, bordering Fresno, in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley. Lying at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, which includes Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks, Clovis has been known as "Gateway to the Sierras" since its incorporation in 1912.

The formation of alluvial fans in this part of the San Joaquin Valley has led to a rather flat regional geography. The Clovis area has active and potentially active seismic fault zones. The elevation of Clovis is approximately 355 feet (108 m) above mean sea datum According to the Flood Hazard Boundary Map produced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, part of Clovis is within the 100-year flood zone, such as some of the area near the Clovis Towne Center. The groundwater flow in Clovis is generally to the southwest.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 1,157
1930 1,316 13.7%
1940 1,626 23.6%
1950 2,766 70.1%
1960 5,546 100.5%
1970 13,856 149.8%
1980 33,021 138.3%
1990 50,323 52.4%
2000 68,468 36.1%
2010 95,631 39.7%
Est. 2015 104,180 8.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Clovis had a population of 95,631. The population density was 4,108.2 people per square mile (1,586.2/km2). The racial makeup of Clovis was 67,758 (70.9%) White, 2,618 (2.7%) African American, 1,320 (1.4%) Native American, 10,233 (10.7%) Asian, 218 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 8,857 (9.3%) from other races, and 4,627 (4.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24,514 persons (25.6%).

The Census reported that 95,243 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 130 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 258 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 33,419 households, out of which 13,718 (41.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 17,975 (53.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,554 (13.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,889 (5.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,985 (5.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 198 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 7,008 households (21.0%) were made up of individuals and 2,721 (8.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85. There were 24,418 families (73.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.32.

The population was spread out with 26,851 people (28.1%) under the age of 18, 9,572 people (10.0%) aged 18 to 24, 25,542 people (26.7%) aged 25 to 44, 23,559 people (24.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 10,107 people (10.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.1 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

There were 35,306 housing units at an average density of 1,516.7 per square mile (585.6/km2), of which 20,804 (62.3%) were owner-occupied, and 12,615 (37.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.4%. 60,767 people (63.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 34,476 people (36.1%) lived in rental housing units.

2000

As of the census of 2000, there were 68,468 people, 24,347 households, and 17,675 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,000.2 people per square mile (1,544.1/km2). There were 25,250 housing units at an average density of 1,475.2 per square mile (569.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.8% White, 1.9% Black or African American, 1.5% Native American, 6.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 9.5% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. 20.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 24,347 households out of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the city, the population was spread out with 30.7% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,283, and the median income for a family was $50,859. Males had a median income of $39,630 versus $28,072 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,690. About 7.6% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.1% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.


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