Question: What is the history of the grand old house at 1060 T St. at the corner of Mariposa Street?
— Scott Nichols, Fresno
Answer: The Colonial Revival-style house at 1060 T St. was built in 1906 for Fresno clothier Sol B. Goodman and is listed on Fresno’s Local Register of Historic Resources.
According to historicfresno.org, a website devoted to local architectural history, the house also features Georgian detailing, and its four “decorative chimneys add an interesting note.”
The house was designed by architect Eugene Mathewson, who designed the 1905 Fresno City Hall and other historic Fresno buildings, including the 1917 Mason (later Guarantee) Building on the Fulton Mall. Mathewson also designed homes, including the 1904 Hans Graff home at 916 E. Divisadero St. The Mason Building and Hans Graff home are also listed on the Local Register.
A biography of Mathewson written for the website by John Edward Powell says the architect’s work “displayed a thorough grasp of the Beaux-arts design tradition and the goals of the City Beautiful Movement at the turn of the century. Yet he was equally comfortable working with the more humble Craftsman styles that were growing in popularity at that time.”
Mathewson had a colorful personality. “Known for his eccentricities and public bravado, he cut a dashing figure, speeding about town from construction site to construction site on his 50-horsepower National roadster, accompanied by his prize-winning Boston bull terrier Thunder,” Powell wrote.
In his 1940 history of Fresno, Ben Walker wrote that Goodman was a “successful and outstanding businessman” who “never allowed the desire for accumulating money to overshadow (his) kind and generous personality.”
Goodman was born in Nashville, Tenn., in about 1859, and his family moved to San Francisco when he was a boy. The family moved to Fresno in 1889 and Goodman went to work at the Kutner-Goldstein store.
He opened the Alexander & Goodman clothing store at Mariposa Street and Broadway in 1889 and bought out his partner a few years later. Goodman retired in 1924 but was president of the business until his death in 1938 at age 79.
According to Walker, Goodman helped establish the Liberty Cemetery for Veterans on Belmont Avenue. He built several homes throughout Fresno, including a log cabin at 565 Yosemite Ave., where he was living when he died.
The late local historian Catherine M. Rehart wrote that Goodman was a charter member of Temple Beth Israel and had a major role in the construction of the congregation’s longtime temple at Calaveras and N streets. His support of the business street earned Goodman the nickname “Mayor of Broadway.”
Goodman’s former T Street home is still a private residence.
Q: I drive through the intersection of Blackstone and Minarets several times a week and have noticed the words “J. Haro Bldg. 1956” on the side of a flower shop there. Who was J. Haro and what was this building?
— Cathy L. James, Fresno
A: John R. Haro was a local businessman who built the one-story building on the southeast corner of Minarets Avenue and what was then called Highway 41 in 1956. It was completed in 1957.
According to a Fresno Bee story, the Pinedale Drug Store operated by Gerald F. St. Louis took up most of the building. Haro and his wife, Sally, ran a “cleaning depot” in the rest of the store front. The building cost $30,000 to construct.
Haro was a native of Baja California, according to his 1971 obituary in The Bee. He lived in Fresno for 45 years and was 66 when he died.
He worked for the Sugar Pine Lumber Co. before opening the cleaning business. About seven years before his death, Haro converted the business to a liquor store. He was a member of St. Anthony’s Church and the Fresno Moose Lodge, his obituary said. He and Sally had a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.
More about: After items about the Scandinavian School District appeared on Nov. 23 and Dec. 14, Dorothy Vance of Fresno wrote to share more memories of the school district.
The approximate boundaries of Scandinavian School District were McKinley, Cedar, Shaw and Peach avenues, Vance said.
In the 1950s the district had plans for eight elementary schools and a high school, although only five elementary schools were built before the district merged with Fresno Unified School District in 1960. The high school plan was not realized.
In September 1955 due to construction delays on Norseman Elementary at 4636 E. Weldon Ave., students were sent to other locations, Vance recalled. Kindergarten and first-grade students were bused to rooms at Hammer Field (now Fresno Air National Guard Base and Fresno Yosemite International Airport). Upper-grade Norseman students attended split session classes at Viking Elementary in the afternoon.
When the main portion of the Norseman campus was complete, second- to eighth-grade students moved to the new campus.
“I can still remember the sounds of construction as crews worked at the back of the campus to complete the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms, as well as the new district office,” Vance wrote.