Fresno Flats Townsite (No. P845 California Point of Historical Interest)
California Points of Historical Interest
California Points of Historical Interest are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of local (city or county) significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value.
Points of Historical Interest designated after 1997 are recommended by the State Historical Resources Commission, and are also listed on the California Register.
Historical resources that are designated as Points of Historical Interest are not designated as Landmarks. Points of Interest are of local significance, while Landmarks are of statewide significance. Points that are granted Landmark status are retired from their Points of Interest designation.
To be designated as a Point of Historical Interest, a resource must meet at least one of the following criteria:
1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type within the local geographic region (City or County)
2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of the local area
3) A prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement, or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in the local region of a pioneer architect, designer, or master builder.
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Fresno Flats was founded in 1856 as a farming town and supply center for lumber and mining. It is located in eastern Madera County, at the southern-most edge of the Mother Lode region.
In 1912, the name of the town was changed to Oakhurst. The Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park contains a museum built around two restored homes from the 1870s, the Fresno Flats Historical Research Library, and several restored buildings including one-room schools and a two 19th Century jailhouses. The museum and park are dedicated to preserving the memory of Oakhurst's origins.On May 14, 2002, the museum and the buildings were designated California Points of Historical Interest.
In 1997, the Grub Gulch Chatper 41-49 of E Clampus Vitus dedicated a marker memorialize the townsite. The marker reads,
"Fresno Flats was a farming and supply center for the mining and lumber industries. The local blacksmith was known throughout the area as the only one able to fabricate and repair large wheels. The oldest still-operating post office in Madera County opened here in 1874. Tired of hearing, 'Fresno Flats, that's where Charlie robbed the Yosemite Stage!', Mrs. C. Meyers circulated a petition among newcomers to change the name to Oakhurst. Without the knowledge or consent of the pioneer families it became Oakhurst in 1912. The disgruntled old timers nicknamed it 'Oh, cursed!' The Old Missouri Saloon is to the East and the blacksmith barn to the West."
The E Clampus Vitus monument is located on Road 425B off of Crane Valley Road in Oakhurst. The Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park is located at 49777 High School Road in Oakhurst, 16 miles south of Yosemite National Park on Highway 41 and 46 miles north of Fresno on Highway 41.
Natural sloughs and mud flats made the going tough, but Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson, and John C. Fremont, in different expeditions, all passed through Madera’s borders in the San Joaquin Valley. Madera County is also the site of the Fresno Indian Reservation, which was established during the 1850’s when the gold rush provoked resistance from numerous local tribes.
Time Period Represented
The village and park are open from dawn to dusk for self-guided tours. The museum and guided building tours are availble from 10 am to 2 pm daily. The Research Library is open by appoinment only.