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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fresno in Fresno County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Site of Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch

 
 
Site of Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, circa January 9, 2009
1. Site of Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch Marker
Inscription.  Built in 1883 by Moses J. Church, Fresno's first flour mill operated with Fancher Creek water run through Mill Ditch and down Fresno Street. The original wooden structure was replaced in 1892 by a brick building and was sold to the Sperry Flour Company in 1893, The mill operated until 1927 when it was remodeled as an automobile showroom. After much litigation, the Mill Ditch, a foul-smelling stream, was filled in by irate citizens one Sunday in 1887 and steam engines were used thereafter. The building was razed in 1960 to make way for Fresno's Civic Center.
 
Erected 1960 by Jim Savage Chapter No. 1852, E Clampus Vitus. (Marker Number 2.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1883.
 
Location. 36° 44.355′ N, 119° 47.237′ W. Marker is in Fresno, California, in Fresno County. Marker is on Fresno Street, 0.1 miles north of O Street, on the right when traveling
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north. The marker was moved from its oritginal location at the intersection of Fresno and N Streets (36° 44.317′ N, 119° 47.25′) Win Eaton Plaza to the back door of the Fresno Water Tower. It was originally located in a flower bed within a grove of trees near the corner. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2444 Fresno Street, Fresno CA 93721, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Fresno Water Tower (here, next to this marker); George M. Bowman (here, next to this marker); Fresno Corridor of Flags Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Fresno Memorial Auditorium (within shouting distance of this marker); Via Liberation (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fresno (approx. 0.2 miles away); David of Sassoon (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fresno Technical School (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fresno.
 
More about this marker. The marker was brass set on a small piece of granite. The City of Fresno indicated in 2009 that they were going to level the area the monument was located in, so E Clampus Vitus removed the marker in 2009 and re-installed it 437 feet away in 2013. The brass plaque has now been inlaid into the granite rock.
 
Regarding Site of Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch. The Church ditches brought water to downtown, but
Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch Marker as it sat in the flower bed image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, January 8, 2009
2. Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch Marker as it sat in the flower bed
also carried tainted water away from downtown. The ditches were narrow enough to jump across, but not every jump was successful. Many residents walked home from downtown reeking of smelly ditch water.
 
New Site of Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, September 6, 2013
3. New Site of Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch Marker
Marker was rededicated on September 6, 2013 just outside the back door of the Fresno Water Tower. A second re-dedication stone tells the story that the mill stood 437 feet west of the water tower.
Church-Sperry Mill Pumping Station image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Unknown, circa 1900
4. Church-Sperry Mill Pumping Station
The pumping station as it looked in 1900.
Mill Ditch image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Unknown, circa 1886
5. Mill Ditch
Mill Ditch can be seen in front of the Fresno Methodist Church. The support slats for the ditch can be seen clearly in this 1886 picture. Judging but the proximity to the church, it is understandable why the ditch was filled in on a Sunday in 1887.
Church-Sperry Mill building image. Click for full size.
circa 1900
6. Church-Sperry Mill building
Re-Dedication stone for the Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, June 15, 2013
7. Re-Dedication stone for the Church-Sperry Mill and Mill Ditch Marker
Re-dedication stone set in June with the August 1st date, but the dedication was moved to September 6th so descendants of the Church family could attend.
Back of Marker with the Back Entrance to the Fresno Water Tower in View image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Lester J Letson, July 24, 2013
8. Back of Marker with the Back Entrance to the Fresno Water Tower in View
A picture taken during installation shows the back door of the Fresno Water Tower. The marker faces the door so anyone visiting the Water Tower can read the history of the mill.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 31, 2019. It was originally submitted on December 24, 2012, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. This page has been viewed 970 times since then and 126 times this year. Last updated on October 29, 2013, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 24, 2012, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.   3. submitted on October 29, 2013, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.   4, 5. submitted on December 24, 2012, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.   6. submitted on October 20, 2014, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.   7, 8. submitted on October 29, 2013, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 21, 2024