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Remember when Fresno looked like this? When north of Herndon was just ‘future houses’

A cartoon map of Fresno, Calif., in 1980.
A cartoon map of Fresno, Calif., in 1980. David Rumsey Map Collection

A cartoon map of Fresno from 1980 has circulated on social media, evoking nostalgia and shock how the city once looked and how much it’s changed.

The map — drawn by Timothy L. Lowry and part of the David Rumsey Map Collection — details significant landmarks in Fresno back then.

Quite noticeable in the drawing is near the top of the map, which states “future houses” on the north side of Herndon Avenue.

Palm Avenue didn’t even extend beyond Herndon Avenue back then.

North of Herndon, of course, is where much of Fresno has developed and thrived since, with the city population booming from 218,202 in 1980 to 527,438 today.

In addition, pretty much all of what’s considered northwest Fresno today was undeveloped and just fields of fig trees then.

Housing appeared to stop just a tad west of Van Ness Extension. Barstow Avenue didn’t even extend much farther west than Van Ness Extension.

There still was a Levitz furniture store in northwest Fresno off Shaw Avenue.

Also missing today, though a popular place then, was Roller Town, just west of Highway 99 on Clinton Avenue.

Sunset Drive Inn on the west side of town is also long gone. So is Bob’s Big Boy diner on Blackstone Avenue, which closed after 43 years in 2005.

bob big boy.JPG
Bob’s Big Boy, once located at 5610 N. Blackstone Ave., closed in Fresno after 43 years. MARK CROSSE The Fresno Bee

Another interesting note on the map is a drawing at Clovis and Shaw avenues, titled “Future Super Mall.”

That’s where Sierra Vista Mall is now located.

There’s also a marking on the map that states “Future Freeway 41,” which eventually became a full-on freeway later in the 1980s.

The cartoon map had been re-tweeted 359 times and liked 784 times as of Wednesday night, and was popularly discussed on Reddit.com.

Miss the old days? Or glad Fresno has changed?

Bryant-Jon Anteola: 559-441-6362, @Banteola_TheBee
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