A 101-year-old house that is perhaps the centerpiece of Huntington Boulevard living with pool, sleeping porches and a cage elevator is for sale. The price: $650,000
The grand 6,220-square-foot Arts and Crafts-style A.G. Wishon Home, 3555 Huntington Blvd., sits among large Tudor revival and Italian renaissance houses and small craftsman bungalows and cottages where Fresno’s elite once lived and the trolley ran.
If it wasn’t the size of the house or the picturesque plantation-like setting of the property that you remember from a stroll down street with its grassy median, then it’s got to be memories of the house lit up for the holidays.
“I remember walking down the street when it was (Candlelight Christmas),” said Realtor Don Scordino of Realty Concepts. “This was the house that was the highlight of the walk.”
The 88-foot evergreen tree that stands in front of the house was honored in the past by the National Christmas Tree Association as the Nation’s Tallest Living Lighted Decorated Christmas Tree.
Walk inside the house and there’s more – much more.
Albert Graves Wishon, pioneer of the electric power industry in the San Joaquin Valley, built the house in 1915. Wishon was credited with helping to develop Huntington Boulevard.
According to documents from the Fresno Historic Preservation Commission, Wishon convinced Los Angeles investors A.C. Balch, W.G. Kerckhoff and Henry E. Huntington in 1902 to buy the floundering San Joaquin Power Company, later named the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation. Wishon was named general manager.
Included in the company’s holdings was the Fresno City Water Company and the Fresno City Railway, which controlled the streetcar system.
Wishon bought Recreation Park, which was located near the old University Medical Center at Cedar and Kings Canyon Road, but needed a way to transport people there. He got permission to lay tracks down from First Street, along Mariposa which is now Huntington Boulevard. Then, the land immediately near the tracks became prime residential development area. The area was mapped and annexed to the city.
Wishon bought the first few lots and the four-bedroom, four-bathroom Wishon Home was born. It was the second house built on the street.
The current owners, a pair of doctors moving out of state, bought the house four years ago out of foreclosure and restored it. The house was dusty and kitchen fixtures were missing, Scordino said.
The front door opens into a large foyer with a wide, romantic staircase leading to the upper floor. The living room and dining room flank the foyer and both have wide crown molding and wainscoting on the walls. The dining room ceiling is dome-shaped.
A parlor in the rear of the home has a fireplace and built-in bookcases still holding books owned by Wishon. Sunlight streams in through the back den which has white wicker chairs also believed to have been owned by Wishon.
Take the stairs up to the second floor or catch a ride on the cage elevator (yes, it’s still working). The master bedroom has a fireplace, a dressing room that is certain to be popular with the ladies and a bathroom. Two of the bedrooms have sleeping porches – a screened-in deck or balcony with windows, for sleeping in warmer months.
The house keeps its old world charm with push button light switches and radiators in every room. Don’t worry, the radiators don’t work anymore. The house has a heating and cooling system.
“This is a treat,” Scordino said about representing the sellers of the house.
“This home holds a lot of Fresno history,” he said. “It’s a home that when you mention it, people can picture it.”
A.G. Wishon Home
Address: 3555 Huntington Blvd., Fresno
Size: 6,220 square feet, four bedrooms, four bathrooms
Details: A dome-shaped dining room ceiling, butler’s pantry, maid quarters, two sleeping porches, elevator, pool, on Local Register of Historic Resources