The Rich History and Culture of Hanford, California

Currently the county seat of the Kings County, Hanford is an important commercial and cultural center in the south central San Joaquin Valley, California. The city is surrounded by communities like Grangeville, Hardwick and Home Garden that do not fall within the city limits but use the same zip code.

Hanford Climate

In Hanford CA, the climate typically has hot, dry summers and cool winters. After the first significant rainfall in the Great Valley area, Tule fog forms usually from late fall through early spring. Tule fog, named after the tule grass wetlands (tulares) in the Central Valley, is characteristically confined mainly to the Great Central Valley due to the mountain ranges surrounding it.

This is due to the high pressure of the warm air above the mountains that presses down on the cold air trapped in the valley. The dense, immobile fog can last for days (or weeks) which contains light drizzle or freezing drizzle that is sufficiently cold.

Hanford History and Its People

hanford californiaThe original inhabitants of the area were the Tachi Yokut Indians for several thousand years prior to Euro-American contact. The Indians occupied areas along creeks and springs, perennial and seasonal drainages, as well as flat ridges and terraces. Permanent villages were usually placed on an elevation above the seasonal flood levels while the surrounding areas were used for hunting and seed and grass gathering.

In 1877, Southern Pacific Railroad tracks were laid through a sheep camp. The railroad tracks became an attraction and the village flourished to become a town within a few historic months. The community then got its name from a railroad executive named James Madison Hanford.

In 1880, a bloody gun battled on a farm northwest of Hanford due to a dispute over land titles between the settlers and the Southern Pacific Railroad left seven men dead. In history, this is known as the Mussel Slough Tragedy. Three years later, a post office was set up.

The business district had been destroyed several times by major fires which led to the town becoming an incorporated city in 1891. Yamon LeBaron, a local resident, became the first mayor of the town.

Progress continued and in 1891, an electrical generating plant was built by pioneering flour miller H.G. Lacey which brought the first electric lights to the city. In 1892, Hanford Union High School was the first public high school in the city which started with one teacher and an average enrolment of fourteen students.

By 1893, Kings County was created from the western part of Tulare County and Hanford became the county seat then. In 1897, a second railroad was laid through the city which today is the north-south line of the BNSF Railway through the San Joaquin Valley.

Hanford Culture and Historic Places

Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture – Clark Center housed works of fine art, primarily the arts of Japan and a specialist library for Japanese art and culture. When it closed 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 – The Carnegie Museum was built in 1905 as one of the many Carnegie libraries that were funded by the steel industry magnate, Andrew Carnegie. In 1968, a new building replaced the old library while the old library was being renovated. In 1975, the museum reopened with displays of furniture and photos describing the history of the Hanford area.

Truly, this city is rich in culture, history, and people with many great stories to tell. The same goes for air conditioning in Hanford, where quality and efficiency is a priority. This is also true for Fresno, Clovis, and Dinuba, California.