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Photo, Print, Drawing Roeding Park, 890 West Belmont, Fresno, Fresno County, CA

[ Data Pages from Survey HALS CA-59  ]

About this Item


  • Roeding Park, 890 West Belmont, Fresno, Fresno County, CA


  • Historic American Landscapes Survey, creator
  • Roeding, George C.
  • Reimers, Johannes
  • Fancher Creek Nurseries
  • Roeding Fig & Olive Company
  • California Nursery Company
  • Fresno Nursery Company
  • Niles Nursery Company
  • George C. Roeding Company
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • City of Fresno
  • Roeding, Frederick Christian
  • Roeding, Marianne
  • Chambers, Charles A.
  • Lisenby, A. V.
  • Stevens, Christopher M., transmitter
  • Pattillo, Chris, historian

Created / Published

  • Documentation compiled after 2000


  • -  lily ponds
  • -  ponds
  • -  pavilions
  • -  amusement parks
  • -  amusement rides
  • -  zoos
  • -  zoo animals
  • -  botanical gardens
  • -  arboretums
  • -  urban parks
  • -  Storyland parks
  • -  picnic tables
  • -  picnic grounds
  • -  stone walls
  • -  chain link fences
  • -  trails & paths
  • -  trees
  • -  shrubs
  • -  buildings
  • -  pergolas
  • -  playgrounds
  • -  tennis courts
  • -  tennis
  • -  children
  • -  markers (monuments)
  • -  drinking fountains
  • -  signage
  • -  groves
  • -  lawns
  • -  zoology
  • -  horticulture
  • -  city planning
  • -  open spaces
  • -  California--Fresno County--Fresno

Latitude / Longitude

  • 36.75041,-119.81988


  • -  Significance: Roeding Park is significant under National Register criteria A for its association with events that have made a significant contribution to the development of municipal parks in California. Roeding Park exemplifies the naturalistic style of parks that was popularized during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the original distinct features remain and retain integrity. It also qualifies under criteria B for its association with George C. Roeding (1868 – 1928) and landscape architect Johannes Reimers (1856 – 1953). Roeding, the son of Frederick and Marianne Roeding, was born in San Francisco, where he attended school. He began his career when he was charged with overseeing the 640-acre Fancher Creek Nursery founded by his father. Fancher Creek Nurseries was incorporated in 1884 and developed as the Roeding Home Place, advertised at the time as the largest nursery west of the Rockies. According to Roeding’s biographer, Henry W. Kruckeberg, “The Roeding Home Place soon assumed horticultural importance that attracted visitors from all parts of the world, and was destined to become historical as the place where Smyrna fig culture was first introduced in the United States.” The Smyrna fig was one of Roeding’s earliest passions. It was not commercially successful at first, but through eighteen years of determined efforts Roeding succeeded in establishing the industry, partly by importing a wasp (Blastophaga grossorum) from Asia Minor for fertilization, which he described in his 1903 monograph, “The Smyrna Fig at Home and Abroad.” These efforts gained Roeding the title “Father of Smyrna Fig Culture.” Roeding also experimented with olives — at one time testing 25 varieties at the Roeding Home Place — which led to the formation of Roeding Fig & Olive Company in 1904. Roeding was a contemporary of Luther Burbank, who was experimenting with propagating, testing and hybridizing fruit varieties in Santa Rosa, California. Roeding was the first to introduce many of Burbank’s hybrids that achieved commercial success in the early 1900s, including the Santa Rosa, Formosa and Gaviota plums as well as the Plumcot — a hybrid between an apricot and a plum. Roeding not only tested and developed a variety of fruits, he experimented with packing methods that would preserve and protect them for long-distance shipping. This was a key to securing California’s position as the leading distributor of fresh fruit to the rest of the United States. He also developed new packaging methods for Japanese persimmons, grapes and figs. Roeding expanded his operations in 1917 with the purchase of the 463-acre California Nursery Company in Niles. It had been the largest nursery in the western U.S., founded by John Rock — considered “California’s foremost plants man” — who introduced many fruits to California’s fruit industry. Roeding also formed the Fresno Nursery Company and the Niles Nursery Company, combining them with Fancher Creek Nursery and California Nursery Company in a holding company called the George C. Roeding Company. From 1904 to 1907, when the original trees were being selected and planted for Roeding Park, George Roeding maintained a professional relationship with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). At their request he accepted, planted and evaluated the performance of many tree species introduced to California. A 1910 article in the San Francisco Call reported, “The United States Department of Agriculture has made arrangements with the secretary of the board of park commissioners to use Roeding Park as an experiment station. All of their importations gathered by agricultural explorers visiting foreign countries, rare trees and shrubs, have been sent for trial, and as a consequence the Fresno park has valuable trees from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands, all thriving and doing well.” This long-term relationship with the USDA led to Roeding’s appointment as a member of the Advisory Committee to the USDA, and later to the U.S. Food Administration. George Roeding played a role in the allied victory during World War I when the War Department commissioned him to supply 5,000 tons of peach pits and apricot shells to make charcoal for gas masks. It had been found that these materials were far more effective than charcoal produced from wood, and he offered his service to the government without charge. When he died, President Herbert Hoover sent this note acknowledging Roeding’s contribution during the war: “It was my good fortune to have the association of Mr. Roeding in public work during and after the Great War. His was an example of willing sacrifice to public service and constant solicitude for the public good.” Because of his position in business and his active role in civic affairs, Roeding was appointed Park Commissioner for the City of Fresno from 1905 to 1912. He served as President of the Pacific Coast Association of Nurserymen from 1910 to 1911, when he founded the California Association of Nurserymen along with 14 other charter members. Roeding served as consulting horticulturalist to the Panama-Pacific Exposition at San Francisco, playing a key role in the construction of the Valley Building as well as the exhibit for San Joaquin County. He was appointed to the Board of Regents for the State University at Berkeley (now the University of California, Berkeley) in 1915. Roeding was elected president of the State Agricultural Society in 1917, and in that capacity oversaw the state fair. Still another of Roeding’s civic roles was as an advocate for “The Garden Beautiful” program in California’s state prison system. He donated plants and supported and encouraged prisoners to develop skills as gardeners, offering several men short-term jobs when they were released. They were able to complete their work experience and ultimately re-enter the job market. Roeding was most actively involved with San Quentin Prison in Marin County, expressing these thoughts about the benefits of the program: “I am firmly of the opinion that a reformatory work of this kind . . . . will prove a valuable asset to . . . prisoners . . . society . . . for its humanity in the redemption of damaged lives.” Johannes Reimers Born in Norway in 1858, Johannes Reimers settled in California as a young man. He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and attained fame as an artist. Some of his works are found in the collection at the Oakland Art Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. He was also a writer, producing an early review of Jack London’s Call of the Wild; articles about plants, gardens and gardening; and a novel set in Norway, “Unto the Heights of Simplicity.” As the landscape architect for the San Joaquin Division of the Santa Fe Railway, he originated the plan to embellish each depot with small parks. It was through his advocacy that parks were constructed at each station from Ashcroft, Arizona, to Richmond, California. The City of Fresno hired Reimers as a city gardener, in part because of his knowledge — gained while working for Santa Fe — about what species would thrive in hot, dry climates. He went on to complete plans for both Hobart and Roeding Parks. A third park design attributed to Reimers is Mooney Grove Park in Visalia, California, undertaken in 1910. Reimers also designed the garden for the headquarters of the California Nursery Company in Niles, when it was owned by George Roeding. As a contemporary and personal friend of Jack and Charmian London, Reimers advised them about plantings at their Beauty Ranch property in Glen Elen, California. Johannes Reimers died in San Leandro, California, in 1953. Kurt Culbertson wrote a book about Reimers for the third edition of “Pioneers of American Landscape Design”. In summary, George C. Roeding played a key role in California’s nursery industry at a time when great numbers of new plants — both ornamental and food-producing — were being introduced, tested and developed. Along with other pioneers in this field, Roeding helped establish not only the Central Valley but California itself as an agricultural mecca. His contributions to the industry were acknowledged by President Herbert Hoover and by numerous appointments to local, state and national positions. Roeding Park is noteworthy for its extraordinary collection and wide variety of exceptional specimen trees, and as an outstanding example of landscape architect Johannes Reimers’ naturalistic design style, popularized during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For more than one hundred years Roeding Park has provided Fresnans with a community space for family gatherings and major civic celebrations. An article by Charles Chambers published in 1909 in The American Florist, “The Parks of Fresno, Calif,” made this claim about Roeding Park: “This park is considered one of the finest in the state considering its age and in a few years it will be considered one of the beauty spots of our famous state.”
  • -  Survey number: HALS CA-59
  • -  Building/structure dates: ca. 1903- ca. 1906 Initial Construction
  • -  Building/structure dates: after. 1910- before. 1930 Subsequent Work
  • -  Building/structure dates: after. 1930- before. 1940 Subsequent Work
  • -  Building/structure dates: ca. 1954- ca. 1962 Subsequent Work


  • Data Page(s): 22

Call Number/Physical Location

  • HALS CA-59

Source Collection

  • Historic American Landscapes Survey (Library of Congress)


Control Number

  • ca3788

Rights Advisory

Online Format

  • pdf

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Historic American Landscapes Survey, Creator, George C Roeding, Johannes Reimers, Fancher Creek Nurseries, Roeding Fig & Olive Company, California Nursery Company, Fresno Nursery Company, et al. Roeding Park, 890 West Belmont, Fresno, Fresno County, CA. California Fresno County Fresno, 2000. translateds by Stevens, Christopher M.Mitter Documentation Compiled After. Photograph.

APA citation style:

Historic American Landscapes Survey, C., Roeding, G. C., Reimers, J., Fancher Creek Nurseries, Roeding Fig & Olive Company, California Nursery Company [...] Pattillo, C. (2000) Roeding Park, 890 West Belmont, Fresno, Fresno County, CA. California Fresno County Fresno, 2000. Stevens, C. M. M., trans Documentation Compiled After. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Historic American Landscapes Survey, Creator, et al. Roeding Park, 890 West Belmont, Fresno, Fresno County, CA. trans by Stevens, Christopher M.Mitter Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.