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Hanford, California
City of Hanford
Official seal of Hanford, California
Seal
Location of Hanford in Kings County, California
Location of Hanford in Kings County, California
Country  United States
State  California
County Kings
Incorporated August 12, 1891
Area
 • Total 17.40 sq mi (45.07 km2)
 • Land 17.40 sq mi (45.07 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
Elevation
249 ft (76 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 53,967
 • Estimate 
(2019)
57,703
 • Density 3,315.69/sq mi (1,280.23/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
93230, 93232
Area code(s) 559
FIPS code 06-31960
GNIS feature ID 1660714

Hanford is a commercial and cultural center in the south-central San Joaquin Valley and the county seat of Kings County, California, United States. It is the principal city of the Hanford-Corcoran metropolitan area (MSA Code 25260), which encompasses all of Kings County, including the cities of Hanford and Corcoran. The ZIP Code is 93230 (with 93232 used for post office boxes). The city of Hanford is surrounded by communities that do not fall within the city limits but share the same ZIP Code. These communities include Grangeville, Hardwick and Home Garden.

The population was 53,967 at the 2010 census. The California Department of Finance estimated that the city's population was 57,703 as of 2019.

Geography

Hanford is located at 36°19′39″N 119°38′44″W / 36.32750°N 119.64556°W / 36.32750; -119.64556 (36.3275, −119.6457). It is situated in the south-central portion of California's San Joaquin Valley, 28 miles (45 km) south-southeast of the city of Fresno and 18 miles (29 km) west of the city of Visalia. The city is 249 feet (76 m) above sea level and has a flat terrain. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), all land. The only natural watercourse is Mussel Slough, remnants of which still exist on the city's western edge. The Kings River is about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) north of Hanford. The People's Ditch, an irrigation canal dug in the 1870s, traverses Hanford from north to south.

Climate

Weather chart for Hanford, California
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
2
 
54
37
 
 
2
 
62
41
 
 
2.2
 
67
45
 
 
0.8
 
74
48
 
 
0.4
 
82
54
 
 
0.1
 
89
60
 
 
0
 
94
65
 
 
0
 
92
64
 
 
0.3
 
87
59
 
 
0.7
 
78
52
 
 
1.2
 
64
42
 
 
1.5
 
54
36
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: Weather.com / NWS

Hanford's land was once a drainage basin for Tulare Lake. Today it has a climate typical of the San Joaquin Valley floor with hot, dry summers and cool winters characterized by dense Tule fog. The wetter season occurs from November through March. The average annual rainfall over the ten years from 1997/98 through 2006/07 was 8.97 inches (228 mm). The 30-year normal precipitation (1971–2000) is 8.29 inches (211 mm).

  • On average, the warmest month is July with a normal mean temperature of 79.2 °F (26.2 °C).
  • The highest recorded temperature was 116 °F (47 °C) on July 27, 1933.
  • On average, the coolest month is December with a normal mean temperature of 44.5 °F (6.9 °C).
  • The lowest recorded temperature was 14 °F (−10 °C) on January 6, 1913.
  • There are an average of 105.2 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher.
  • There are an average of 38.6 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower.
  • The maximum normal precipitation (based on the 30-year average) occurs in January with 1.59 inches (40 mm).
  • The wettest year was 1983 with 15.57 inches (395 mm).
  • The driest year was 1953 with 3.37 inches (86 mm).
  • The most rainfall in one month was 6.69 inches (170 mm) in January 1969.
  • The most rainfall in 24 hours was 2.44 inches (62 mm) on February 10, 1978.
  • The record snowfall was 2.0 inches (51 mm) on January 21, 1962.

The National Weather Service Forecast Office for the San Joaquin Valley is in Hanford and includes a Doppler weather radar. Weather forecasts and climatological information for Hanford and the surrounding area are available from its official website.

Climate data for Hanford Municipal Airport, California (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1899–present )
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 95
(35)
94
(34.4)
95
(35)
100
(37.8)
107
(41.7)
114
(45.6)
116
(46.7)
115
(46.1)
110
(43.3)
101
(38.3)
94
(34.4)
80
(26.7)
116
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 54.3
(12.39)
61.5
(16.39)
68.1
(20.06)
74.9
(23.83)
84.0
(28.89)
90.7
(32.61)
95.6
(35.33)
95.4
(35.22)
90.4
(32.44)
79.2
(26.22)
64.8
(18.22)
54.3
(12.39)
76.1
(24.5)
Average low °F (°C) 36.3
(2.39)
39.1
(3.94)
42.8
(6)
46.5
(8.06)
53.5
(11.94)
58.5
(14.72)
62.8
(17.11)
61.1
(16.17)
56.3
(13.5)
47.9
(8.83)
39.1
(3.94)
34.7
(1.5)
48.22
(9.009)
Record low °F (°C) 14
(-10)
18
(-7.8)
23
(-5)
25
(-3.9)
30
(-1.1)
36
(2.2)
44
(6.7)
40
(4.4)
35
(1.7)
28
(-2.2)
18
(-7.8)
15
(-9.4)
14
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.04
(51.8)
1.73
(43.9)
1.63
(41.4)
0.79
(20.1)
0.42
(10.7)
0.15
(3.8)
0.02
(0.5)
0.02
(0.5)
0.17
(4.3)
0.50
(12.7)
1.00
(25.4)
1.63
(41.4)
10.10
(256.5)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.2 7.4 6.6 3.9 1.7 0.5 0.1 0.2 0.8 2.2 4.2 6.4 41.2
Source: NOAA (precipitation day normals at Hanford 1S COOP station 36°18′57″N 119°38′13″W / 36.3158°N 119.6370°W / 36.3158; -119.6370),
Notes

History

Tulare Lake 1874 cropped
Map of Tulare Lake in 1874

Today's Hanford was once north of Tulare Lake, historically the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi River. The area was inhabited by the Tachi Yokut Indians for several thousand years prior to Euro-American contact. They occupied locations along watercourses such as creeks, springs and seep areas (such as sloughs), along perennial and seasonal drainages, as well as flat ridges and terraces. Therefore, places along streams are considered likely locations for prehistoric cultural resources. Permanent villages were usually placed on an elevation above the seasonal flood levels. Surrounding areas were used for hunting and seed, acorn, and grass gathering.

WS1359-10-N-Downtown-HanfordCA-1877-1
Hanford in 1877. Resident J.T. Baker (far right) holds a broom in front of his drugstore. Continuing to the left is E. Schoenfeld's Peoples Store, Philips & Wilson's, and Hanford Hotel.

Since the annexation of California after the Mexican-American War, the locality was settled by Americans and immigrants as farmland, broadly referred to as "Mussel Slough". The earliest dated grave in the area was that of a young Alice Spangler who was initially buried in the Kings River Cemetery just north of her family's farm in 1860. As the settlement grew, Tulare Lake's feeding rivers were diverted for agricultural irrigation, causing it to gradually shrink and, over the 19th and 20th centuries, effectively become extinct.

From the mid-to-late 1870s, the Southern Pacific Railroad planned to lay tracks towards the developing farmland west of Visalia, spurring a growth in labor and population. Hanford's namesake was James Madison Hanford, an executive for the company. The earliest known document labeling the settlement as "Hanford" is an 1876 map of Tulare County which once included the territory of present-day Kings County. Tracks were laid through a sheep camp in 1877. According to History of Kings County: "It was but a short step from sheep-camp to village and with the railroad as an attraction the village flourished and became a town within a few historic months." Many of those working on the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

In 1877, Hanford began to appear in state newspapers, giving details of events in the town's early days. In December 1877, there was a stagecoach robbery. In 1878, Hanford began running their own newspaper service and wiring called "The Public Good" which fed into other papers. In May 1878, Hanford residents drafted a resolve against the South Pacific Railroad from purchasing land with residing settlers. In June 1878, the Workingmen's Party was reported to have a majority vote over the Democrats in the town. In October, the town proposed state legislature to limit claims to land because of the railway. In November, a William Blunt was arrested for stealing several horses from the town. Later that month, masked men burned down the house of farmer Perry Commodore Phillips, retrospectively claimed because he purchased land from the railroad. On December 16, by concert of action, Phillips and J.B. Fretwell had their newly-purchased land plowed. On March 27, 1879, a fire broke out in the back of E. Schoenfeld's store which spread due to harsh winds, affecting next-door druggist J.T. Baker and burning down a saloon and a barbershop. On April 27, Hon. Creed Hammond spoke in Hanford. In May, the Upper Kings River Canal and Irrigation Company filed articles of incorporation. On August 1, California Governor candidates George Clement Perkins and Romualdo Pacheco (and on August 10, O F Thornton and W F White W P C) spoke in Hanford and Lemoore. Perkins would become California's 14th Governor on January 8, 1880.

In May 1880, a dispute over land titles between settlers and the Southern Pacific Railroad resulted in a bloody gun battle on a farm 5.6 mi (9.0 km) northwest of Hanford that left seven men dead. This event became famous as the Mussel Slough Tragedy. The next month, the town's first census was held counting some 269 residents. Forty-four of them were Chinese immigrants who resided in what's known today as China Alley.

A post office was established in 1887.

On several occasions, major fires destroyed much of the young community's business district. The need for fire protection led to the town becoming an incorporated city in 1891. Its first mayor was local resident Yamon LeBaron.

An electrical generating plant was built in 1891 by pioneering flour miller H.G. Lacey, bringing the first electric lights to the city. The Lacey Milling Company was still operating in Hanford in 2016.

The first public high school, Hanford Union High School, was started in 1892 with one teacher, W. S. Cranmer, and an average enrollment of fourteen.

When Kings County was created in 1893 from the western part of Tulare County, Hanford became its county seat.

A second railroad was laid through Hanford in 1897, which today is the main north–south line of the BNSF Railway through the San Joaquin Valley. The original east–west Southern Pacific Railroad branch line is now operated by the San Joaquin Valley Railroad.

Star 090907 1
The Star Restaurant, est. 1901

In 1901, a restaurant called the Star opened on Sixth Street across from the Southern Pacific tracks. The Star Restaurant was still doing business at the same location in 2019.

In 1903, steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $12,500 for the construction of the Hanford Carnegie Library which opened in 1906 (and is now the Hanford Carnegie Museum).

Saloons flourished in Hanford's early days despite an anti-saloon movement until the town voted to become "dry" in 1912, eight years before nationwide Prohibition was enacted.

In the 1930s, famed pilot Amelia Earhart lived in Hanford to teach flying lessons at Fresno Chandler Airport. She befriended local resident and student of hers Mary Packwood with whom she gifted a personally-designed dress and left luggage shortly before her disappearance in the Pacific Ocean in 1937. The belongings are on display in Hanford's Carnegie Museum.

Around May 1944 during World War II and shortly before running of The White Cliffs of Dover, a short color documentary called Hanford at War was made showing downtown, interiors of the Fox Theatre, and several different schools and social gatherings.

In 1962, a notable murder of 15-year-old Marlene Miller took place; it was featured in an episode of Forensic Files.

From the mid 1990s to early 2000s, the Stonecrest Subdivision was constructed on the north side of the city for modern suburban housing and cul-de-sac roads.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 269
1890 942 250.2%
1900 2,929 210.9%
1910 4,829 64.9%
1920 5,888 21.9%
1930 7,028 19.4%
1940 8,234 17.2%
1950 10,028 21.8%
1960 10,133 1.0%
1970 15,179 49.8%
1980 20,958 38.1%
1990 30,897 47.4%
2000 41,686 34.9%
2010 53,967 29.5%
Est. 2019 57,703 6.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Hanford had a population of 53,967. The population density was 3,253.1 people per square mile (1,256.0/km2). The racial makeup of Hanford was 33,713 (62.5%) White, 2,632 (4.9%) African American, 712 (1.3%) Native American, 2,322 (4.3%) Asian, 53 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 11,599 (21.5%) from other races, and 2,936 (5.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25,419 persons (47.1%).

The Census reported that 69,690 people (98.3% of the population) lived in households, 283 (0.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 616 (1.1%) were institutionalized.

There were 17,492 households, out of which 8,053 (46.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 9,088 (52.0%) were married couples living together, 2,833 (16.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,207 (6.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,315 (7.5%) unmarried partnerships, and 117 (0.7%) same-sex partnerships. 3,483 households (19.9%) were made up of individuals, and 1,405 (8.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03. There were 13,128 families (75.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.49.

The population was spread out, with 16,731 people (31.0%) under the age of 18, 5,478 people (10.2%) aged 18 to 24, 14,764 people (27.4%) aged 25 to 44, 11,647 people (21.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 5,347 people (9.9%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

There were 18,493 housing units at an average density of 1,114.8 per square mile (430.4/km2), of which 10,208 (58.4%) were owner-occupied, and 7,284 (41.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.6%. 31,109 people (57.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 21,959 people (40.7%) lived in rental housing units.

15.5% of the populace lived below the poverty line.

2000

As of the 2000 census there were 41,686 people, 13,931 households, and 10,378 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,184.4 people per square mile (1,229.6/km2). There were 14,721 housing units at an average density of 1,124.5 per square mile (434.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 64.1% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 2.9% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 20.8% from other races, and 5.7% from two or more races. 38.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Foreign-born residents accounted for 13.2% of Hanford's population and 28.3% spoke a language other than English at home.

There were 13,931 households, out of which 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.39.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 31.6% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.

Economy

Hanford is a major trading center serving the surrounding agricultural area. According to the California Employment Development Department, as of September 2012, most residents of the Hanford-Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area were employed in services (31,000 employees), government (14,400 employees) and farming (6,400 employees) as well as in some manufacturing enterprises (5,700 employees).

The heavy industry sector has declined significantly over the past 30 years. An oil refinery formerly operated in the city under several different owners (Caminol Oil Co. from 1932–1967, Beacon Oil Co. from 1967–1982 and Ultramar Oil Co. from 1982–1987) until it permanently closed in 1987. A tire manufacturing plant was built in 1962 by the Armstrong Rubber Co., which operated it until that company was purchased by the Italian manufacturer Pirelli, which eventually closed the factory in 2001. In August 2017, Faraday Future announced that it had signed a lease for the former Pirelli plant where it plans to manufacture electric vehicles. The company said that it could employ up to 1,300 people over time and build up to 10,000 cars a year.

Major employers within the city of Hanford in 2006 included the Kings County government with 1,041 employees, the Adventist Health System with 857, the Hanford Elementary School District with 520, the Del Monte Foods tomato cannery with 435 year-round and 1,500 seasonal employees and Marquez Brothers International, Inc., makers of Hispanic cheese and other dairy products. Many Hanford residents work for other nearby employers such as NAS Lemoore, the U.S. Navy's largest Master Jet Base located 15.5 mi (24.9 km) WSW of Hanford and for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which operates three state prisons in Kings County.

The city was impacted by the Great Recession (2007–09) and employment was also affected by the California drought (2012–13). The unemployment rate in January 2016 was 10.3%. However, the rate had dropped to 7.9% in February 2020 at the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate had risen to 16.0% in April of that year. According to the United States Census Bureau, median household income in Hanford was $54,767 and 18.3% of the population was living below the poverty line in 2008–2012.

The homeownership rate was 57% in 2008–2012 according to the Census Bureau.

Hanford had a large cluster of COVID-19 cases when about 150 coworkers were tested positive in a local poultry packing plant in May 2020. This places them as of California's highest numbers per community in a rural county like Kings. At the time, California itself had over 60,000 cases with an estimated 300 in Hanford alone.

Hanford shopping

Hanford Mall – A 625,580 square foot indoor mall, and another adjacent shopping center with a number of major national retailers.

Hanford Historic Downtown – Home to restaurants, events, stores and the historic Superior Dairy and Fox Theater.

Transportation

Air

The Hanford Municipal Airport serves general aviation and has a 5,175 feet (1,577 m) paved runway.

Bus

Kings Area Rural Transit (KART) operates regularly scheduled fixed route bus service, vanpool service for commuters and Dial-A-Ride (demand response) services throughout Kings County as well as to Fresno. Hanford is also served by Orange Belt Stages.

Rail

Seal of Hanford, California
City Seal

Existing: Amtrak provides passenger rail service from Hanford station to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, and service to Southern California by a combination of rail and bus. Freight service is available from both the BNSF Railway and the San Joaquin Valley Railroad.

Proposed: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009-funded California High-Speed Rail has proposed a station. However, the proposed station on the eastern outskirts of Hanford is listed as "optional" and will not be built without matching local funds or in-kind support. Greg Gatzka, Kings County's Community Development Director, was quoted in a June 2011 newspaper story that "the real question is whether high-speed rail is going to authorize a station there. They have a priority list and this station is at the bottom of the list."

Major highways

California 43.svg Highway 43: Connects to Selma to the north and Corcoran to the south.

California 198.svg Highway 198: Connects to Lemoore to the west and Visalia to the east.

Utilities

Water

The city's water system is supplied by a network of 14 active deep wells and one standby well ranging in depth from 600 feet (180 m) to 1,700 feet (520 m) with 203 miles (327 km) of main lines and serves 15,900 water connections.

Formerly, the water had contained naturally occurring arsenic in excess of the maximum contaminant level adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, according to the Consumer Confidence Report issued by the city of Hanford in March 2010 for calendar year 2009, since November 2009, the city has supplied water that is below the federal standard of 10 micrograms of arsenic per liter of water. The city's mitigation project consisted of reducing the arsenic content in two existing deep water wells, drilling five replacement wells, and eliminating eight wells that produced water that exceeded standards.

Although it does not pose a health hazard, Hanford's drinking water also naturally contains hydrogen sulfide, which caused the water to have a noticeable "rotten egg" odor. In 2014, the city began chlorinating its water for the first time, which eliminates the hydrogen sulfide odor. In February 2015, the city completed a project to chlorinate all of its water.

Wastewater

The city's sanitary sewer system consists of 212 mi (341 km) of collector lines and 22 pump stations.

The wastewater treatment plant is in the southern part of the city on Houston Avenue and treats 5,000,000 U.S. gallons (19,000,000 liters) of sewage per day. The treated effluent is used to irrigate non-food crops.

Electricity and gas

Southern California Edison provides electricity to most of Hanford. However, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company serves the industrial park area in the city's southernmost part.

The Southern California Gas Company supplies natural gas.

Telephone and cable television

AT&T provides landline telephone service. Comcast has the cable TV franchise for Hanford.

Government

Hanford is incorporated as a general law city under the California Constitution. The city has a council-manager government with a city manager appointed by the city council.

The city council is made up of five members elected by districts for four-year terms. There are no term limits in effect. The mayor and vice mayor are elected annually by the city council from among its members. In December 2019, the city council elected John Draxler as mayor and elected Francisco Ramirez as vice mayor. Other council members include Art Brieno, Sue Sorenson, and Martin Devine.

Hanford's city manager is the chief administrative officer of the city and is responsible for the overall administrative direction of the city. The city manager's duties include development and implementation of the annual budget for approval by the city council. Mario Cifuentez II was appointed as the city manager in 2019.

In the state legislature, Hanford is in the 14th State Senate District, which is represented by Democrat Melissa Hurtado, and in the 32nd State Assembly District, represented by Democrat Rudy Salas. Federally, Hanford is in California's 21st congressional district and is represented by Republican David Valadao.

Education

Hanford has 15 elementary schools, three junior high schools, four high schools with a total of 8,464 Kindergarten through 8th grade students and 3,522 high schoolers. The United States Census of 2000 reported that 74.5% of Hanford residents aged 25 and over were high school graduates and 14.4% had bachelor's degrees or higher.

The Hanford Elementary School District provides kindergarten through eighth grade education for most of the city. It operates the following elementary and junior high schools:

  • Hamilton Elementary
  • Jefferson Elementary (houses the Full Language Immersion program (FLI) and the Community Day School)
  • Lee Richmond Elementary
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
  • James Monroe Elementary
  • Roosevelt Elementary
  • Simas Elementary
  • George Washington Elementary
  • John F. Kennedy Jr. High
  • Woodrow Wilson Jr. High

The Pioneer Union Elementary School District serves much of the northern part of Hanford and operates Pioneer Elementary, Frontier Elementary and Pioneer Middle Schools.

Part of north Hanford is served by the Kings River-Hardwick School District. A small area in southwest Hanford is served by the Armona Union Elementary School District, which operates Armona Elementary and Parkview Middle schools in the nearby community of Armona.

The Hanford Joint Union High School District provides public secondary education. It operates Hanford Union High School, Hanford West High School, Sierra Pacific High School as well as Earl F. Johnson High School, which is a continuation high school. The District also operates the Hanford Adult School. A new state-of-the-art comprehensive full-service high school, called Sierra Pacific High School opened on August 13, 2009 with the first class graduating in 2013. Sierra Pacific is part of the Hanford Joint Educational Center, which is a joint use project of the Hanford Joint Union High School District, the College of the Sequoias and the City of Hanford. The Hanford Joint Educational Center is on 13th Avenue 1/4 of a mile north of Lacey Blvd.

The College of the Sequoias (COS) community college based in Visalia, California operates an education center in Hanford as part of the Joint Educational Center that includes Sierra Pacific High School.

Brandman University, part of the Chapman University System, has a Hanford campus for adult students.

Private elementary schools in Hanford include Hanford Christian School and St. Rose-McCarthy School.

Culture

The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture

The former Clark Center had the mission of collecting, preserving and exhibiting works of fine art, primarily the arts of Japan. The Center also housed a specialist library for Japanese art and culture. The Clark Center closed permanently on June 30, 2015. The art collection was moved to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the bonsai collection was transferred to the Shinzen Friendship Garden at Woodward Park in Fresno, California.

Hanford Carnegie Museum

Carnegie 090907 2
Hanford Carnegie Museum

The Hanford Carnegie Museum was built in 1905 as one of the many Carnegie libraries that were funded by the steel industry magnate, Andrew Carnegie. The library was replaced by a new structure at a different location in 1968. The old library was later renovated and re-opened as the Hanford Carnegie Museum in 1975. The building is of Romanesque architecture with displays of furniture and photos describing the history of the Hanford area.

Kings District Fair

The Kings District Fair is a traditional county fair held on four days in mid-June at the Kings Fairgrounds.

Renaissance of Kings Cultural Arts Faire

The Renaissance of Kings Cultural Arts Faire is held the first weekend of October at Courthouse Square in Hanford's city center. The Faire recreates the period during the reign of King Henry VIII of England. There is no admission charge and the event typically attracts 15,000 people over the two-day period. The event was cancelled in 2012 but returned in 2013.

Kings Art Center 090907 1
Kings Art Center

Kings Art Center

The Kings Art Center was opened in 1989 to be the premier visual arts gallery and art training center of Kings County. Gallery shows are changed approximately every four weeks. Typical shows include photography, pottery, water color, mixed media, prints, textiles and fibers. Art classes for adults and children are scheduled throughout the year.

Kings Symphony Orchestra

The Kings Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1963 and draws musicians from throughout the central and southern San Joaquin Valley. The orchestra generally performs four times a year with a variety of classical and "pops" repertoire.

Hanford in literature

William Saroyan's short story, "The Journey to Hanford" that appeared in My Name Is Aram is a comic account of two characters from Fresno – a boy and his wastrel uncle – who share a single bicycle as they travel the approximately thirty-mile route between Fresno and Hanford, taking along a sack of rice to feed them through what turns out to be a largely pointless summer.

Hanford's Chinese community

Chinese immigrants arrived in the late 19th century to build railroads and work on farms. They created a thriving Chinatown in Hanford in the neighborhood around China Alley. China Alley was the site of the famous but now closed Imperial Dynasty restaurant. Hanford's Taoist Temple (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) built in 1893 is also there. A Moon Festival is held in China Alley in early October. In July 2011, Hanford city council commissioned a study of China Alley with the hope of revitalizing it. The China Alley Preservation Society is a non profit organization dedicated to preserving and revitalizing China Alley.

Hanford's African American community

While the black community has long played an important role in the city, the City of Hanford only began to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 15, 2007 after a long battle led by the local branch of the NAACP. The City Council then recognized the day as an official holiday with a resolution honoring Dr. King, read by then Mayor Joaquin Gonzales. The most prominent African-Americans living in the community include

  • Chris Jordan, almost 30-year veteran City of Hanford Police Captain, then elected in 2006 as the first black Sheriff of Kings County.
  • The late civil rights activist, Wanda Williams-Hinton, turned the Black History Month celebration into an annual citywide tradition; that has since been carried on by community leader Gerry Young.

Sister city

  • Japan Setana, Hokkaido, Japan

Hanford is a sister city with Setana, a small town on Hokkaido, Japan. The program is known for promoting international friendship. Both cities send a delegate group of both prominent city citizens and high school students. For the city of Hanford, high school students are selected from both high schools through an application and interview process for delegate spots. The Setana high school provides a student delegate position for their entire upper class. Hanford delegates travel to Setana, Japan in the summer. Setana delegates travel to Hanford in the winter.

Sites of interest

Fox 090907 1
Hanford Fox Theatre
Kings County Courthouse 090407 1
Kings County Courthouse
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The Bastille
  • The Hanford Fox Theatre was constructed in 1929 and is on Irwin Street in Hanford's city center. It is regularly used for live concerts. Featured artists in 2006 and 2007 included the Charlie Daniels Band, Dwight Yoakam, Kathy Griffin and George Jones. In the past, the Hanford Fox Theater hosted benefit performances by Bob Hope, Red Skelton and John Denver.
  • The Kings County Courthouse was erected after Kings County was formed; it opened in 1896. Constructed in an eclectic mix of styles in a park in the center of Hanford, it was expanded in 1914. The building was the county's courthouse until 1976 when it was replaced by the new Kings County Government Center on West Lacey Boulevard. The old courthouse was remodeled in the early 1980s and now houses offices, small shops and restaurants.
  • The building now known as The Bastille just north of the old courthouse was the Kings County Jail from 1898 until 1964. Constructed in Romanesque style, it is notable for its crenellated octagonal tower. It is closed and boarded up.
  • Superior Dairy is a classic 1920s ice cream parlor that is well known in the Hanford area. The business makes all of its ice cream on-site. Superior Dairy is across the street from the Civic Auditorium and The Bastille.
  • Fort Roosevelt was a well-known environmental education and wildlife rehabilitation center at the Roosevelt Elementary School until it was closed and demolished in 2005. It was a 1-acre (4,000 m2) fort surrounded by almost 1000 telephone poles in the style of a fort from the Old West. Outdoor education was delivered there and Fort Roosevelt became a nationally recognized model for environmental education in schools. The fort included a wildlife rehabilitation center that served the entire San Joaquin Valley. As a tourist attraction, it drew 30,000 visitors a year. The facility was started by then-principal Jim Parks beginning in the late 1960s. In 2005, the Hanford Elementary School District's board of trustees decided not to make needed repairs to Fort Roosevelt and the fort was demolished despite public opposition. A film called Fort Roosevelt Requiem has been made by filmmaker David Dibble who had experienced the fort as a child.

Sports

Hanford is the site of the Hanford Criterium bicycle races held on a Sunday in late March or early April. The 0.9-mile (1.4 km) hourglass style loop course is run on downtown streets. The Criterium is held under USA Cycling racing rules and permit.

Dirt track auto racing takes place at the Kings Speedway from March through October. The track is a 3/8-mile semi-banked clay oval and is at the Kings Fairgrounds.

Notable people

  • Leslie Bassett was a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who was born in Hanford.
  • Ryan Bowen was a baseball player for the Houston Astros and Florida Marlins who was born in and attended high school in Hanford.
  • Ken Caminiti was a Major League Baseball player and National League MVP who was born in Hanford.
  • Tyson Chandler is a basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) who was born in Hanford and grew up on a small farm there.
  • Chris Cohan, a Cable TV Mogul and former owner of the Golden State Warriors, born in Hanford
  • Calvin M. Dooley graduated from Hanford Union High School in 1972 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2005.
  • Dameane Douglas was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) who was born in Hanford.
  • Harlan F. Hagen lived in Hanford and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1953 to 1967.
  • Jermaine Haley is a football player who was born in Hanford.
  • Tyler Henry, a self-proclaimed psychic medium with a 2016 E! reality series, grew up in Hanford.
  • Ed Hill, songwriter and musician
  • Tamara Keith, radio reporter, host and producer, was raised in Hanford.
  • Bill Landis was a baseball player born, raised in, and still lives in Hanford. He played on the 1967 American League champion Boston Red Sox.
  • Mark Lee was a cornerback in the National Football League who played for the Green Bay Packers and was born in Hanford.
  • Melinda Lira, American Idol season 5 semi-finalist, was born in Hanford.
  • Pauline Lord, actress, was born in Hanford.
  • Ruth MacLeod, writer, born in Hanford.
  • Chad Mendes, UFC fighter.
  • Richard C. Miller, famous photographer, was a native of Hanford.
  • Lorenzo Neal, a 3-time Pro Bowl fullback in the NFL, was born in Hanford.
  • Scott Parker, one of the few California-born hockey players to play in the NHL.
  • Sean Parnell, former Governor of Alaska, was born in Hanford.
  • Steve Perry is a rock singer with the band Journey who was born in Hanford.
  • Slim Pickens, cowboy and actor, grew up in Hanford.
  • Phillip Pine, actor, was born in Hanford.
  • J. G. Quintel, creator of Regular Show, was born in Hanford and went to Hanford High School.
  • James Rainwater, physicist and co-winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physics, lived in Hanford as a child and graduated from Hanford High School.
  • Matt Shively, actor on True Jackson, VP, was born and grew up in Hanford.
  • Bill Simas, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, was born in Hanford.
  • Jewerl Thomas is a former professional National Football League football player who played running back for five seasons for the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Diego Chargers He graduated from Hanford High School.
  • David Valadao, elected to the U.S House of Representatives in 2012, was born and raised in Hanford.
  • Andy Vidak, State Senator from the 16th district, currently lives in Hanford.
  • Jan-Michael Vincent, actor, moved to Hanford with his family as a teenager, and graduated from Hanford High School.
  • Cornelius Warmerdam, longtime pole vault world record holder, grew up in Hanford.
  • Darrell Winfield is an actor who played the Marlboro man and was born in Hanford.
  • Delbert Wong (1920–2006), first judge of Chinese-American descent in the continental United States, was born in Hanford.
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