Ask Me: Fresno trash collection was mechanized in 1990

The Fresno BeeOctober 26, 2013 

Cecil McAlexander carries a sack of garbage from his home to a waiting garbage truck.


Question: How was trash pickup different in the 1970s than it is now and why did the service change?

-- John Holmes, Fresno

Answer: Up until 1990, Fresno residents put their garbage out in their own galvanized metal or plastic trash cans with lids, said Chris Blair with the city's Solid Waste department.

In the 1980s, Blair said, trash was picked up twice a week and residents could put out up to 15 cans per week, all on one day or spread out over the two days in any configuration they wished.

In those days, garbage truck workers had to lift the cans over their heads to dump them into the trucks. The city changed to garbage trucks with mechanized lifts because it was more cost-effective and to reduce back and shoulder injuries to workers, Blair said.

In 1991-92, residents got one covered plastic bin per household, which was picked up by city trucks, and two open plastic crates for recyclables, which were picked up by a private contractor.

The familiar blue, gray and green plastic bins with lids came into use in 2001, the year the service went to once weekly.

Question: As a child in the 1960s, my mom used to take me shopping at Hedrick's Department Store. What is the history of the store?

-- Bruce Owen, Sanger

Answer: Joseph W. Hedrick and his wife Kathryn opened a variety store in 1947 at 1205 N. Fresno St. on the northeast corner with Olive Avenue, according to Fresno city directories.

The 1951-1952 city directories list Kathryn Hedrick as a widow operating the store.

In an advertisement in the Fresno Police Department's 1955 annual report, Hedrick's billed itself as "the store of friendly service."

By 1963 the Hedricks' son, Joseph W. Hedrick Jr., was managing Hedrick's Department Store. By 1965 the family had opened a second store at 629 W. Dakota Ave. near Fruit Avenue.

The Fresno Street store was sold to Jones Ambulance for $85,000 in 1974, according to a Fresno Bee story. According to a city directory, the Dakota Avenue store was gone by about 1975.

Question: What is the history of the building in downtown Dinuba that used to be the J.C. Penney store?

-- Linda Faust, Dinuba

Answer: The building was built as a J.C. Penney store in 1934. A photo taken during the 1948 Raisin Day parade through downtown Dinuba shows the store between a theater and the Baby Bee Sweet Shop. A few people can be seen sitting on a sturdy awning over the store's front windows and watching the parade.

The department store closed in about 1994. Since 1997 the brick building has housed furniture store businesses.

Farmers began settling the Dinuba area in the late 1800s, and by at least 1888 a small city had been established. The city of Dinuba was incorporated in 1906.

Ask Me publishes on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Paula Lloyd is a freelance writer. Send questions to or by mail to Paula Lloyd, c/o The Fresno Bee Newsroom, 1626 E St., Fresno CA 93786. Please include your name, city of residence and a phone number.

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