Ask Me

‘Jeopardy’ category: Fresno street names starting with letter V

Q: How did Verrue, Vagedes and Voorman avenues in Fresno get their names?

Phil Tavlian, Fresno

A: These three streets all start in older historic parts of Fresno and were named after men who played a part, large or small, in the city’s history.

Verrue Avenue runs east and west one block south of Tulare Avenue between Sixth Street and Cedar Avenue. It was named for Harry R. Verrue, a native of France who immigrated to the Bay Area in 1904. Verrue was a supervisor with the Pacific Improvement Co., a land developing firm that promoted subdivisions in early-day Fresno.

A two-line mention in the Aug. 27, 1910, Fresno Morning Republican says, “H.P. Verrue of the Pacific Improvement Co. is stopping at the Hughes (Hotel).” Among the company’s projects was the Alta Vista Tract in 1911 that included Verrue Avenue.

Verrue also promoted the Del Monte Forest Camp in the Monterey area in 1918. The Red Bluff Daily News called the camp “a charming auto mobile (sic) camping spot.”

Verrue said: “We have provided a place where a man can bring his family in his car and camp, in seclusion and privacy, among the delightful pines of the famous Monterey peninsula, and all he needs to concern himself with are his camping outfit and food.”

For the “modest rental” of $1 per day, campers had firewood delivered to them, had access to “pure cold mountain water” from nearby faucets, had their garbage hauled away and were provided with “sanitary arrangements.”

Vagedes Avenue east of Fruit Avenue runs north and south between Weber and Shields avenues and then intermittently between Gettysburg and Herndon avenues.

It was named for Max Vagedes, who married Emma Roeding, daughter of Frederick C. Roeding, who “played a number of important roles in the history of Fresno County,” including donating the land for Roeding Park, according to the late historian and author Catherine M. Rehart.

Roeding also named Elizabeth Street, Thorne Avenue and Olive Avenue for family members.

Voorman Avenue runs east and west, north of Divisadero Street and west of Thorne Avenue, and then intermittently between Echo and Blackstone avenues. It was named for Henry Voorman, a pioneering wheat farmer who owned the land where the Scandinavian Colony was established in 1878.

Q: My dad, Peter Petropulos, owned restaurants in Fresno in the 1930s and 1940, the Horseshoe Club, Jack’s Waffle Shop and Johnnie’s Place. I remember Johnnie’s Place on Ventura Avenue, but I don’t recall where Jack’s Waffle Shop or the Horseshoe Club were located. My dad died in 1991 at age 91.

Angela Petropulos Pappanastos, Los Gatos

A: Johnnie’s Place, also called Johnnie’s Café in Fresno city directories, was located at 4808 Ventura Ave. City directory records show a restaurant, but not its name, there at least as early as 1935. It is listed as Johnnie’s in about 1949 but is no longer listed after 1955.

A restaurant called the Horseshoe Grill at 1020 H St. is listed in the 1947 city directories. Your father’s name is associated with a restaurant there in 1935, but its name is not recorded. The building was listed as vacant in 1949, but the address disappeared from the directories in 1955.

Jack’s Waffles is listed at 1154 Broadway St. near Fresno Street in 1944, but there is no listing for the restaurant after 1947.

For the record The answer to a question published Oct. 23 about the property acquisition for the Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in Clovis erred on two points. Jacqui Ramirez is director of parish operations for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, not the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. John and Margaret Sullivan sold their parcel to the church for $10 “so the church would not have to pay a large amount of taxes on the property,” not the Sullivans, Ramirez said.

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.