AKA: Hotel Californian, Fresno, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Felchlin, R. F., Company (firm); Lake, H. Rafael, Architect (firm); Richard Ferdinand Felchlin (architect); H. Rafael Lake (architect)

Dates: constructed 1921-1923

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851 Van Ness Avenue
Fresno, CA 93721-2637

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A measure of a city's cultural maturity in the 1920s was whether or not it had an impressive, modern, and capacious hotel to lodge tourists and visiting businessmen. The Hotel Californian fit the bill for Fresno, being an up-to-date, high-rise inn with ample room numbers, versatile meeting spaces, and a restaurant for guests.

Building History

The Sun Maid Hotel Corporation commissioned H. Rafael Lake and the R.F. Felchlin Company to design this large, h-shaped hotel. As was typical of many large hotels of the 1920s, the Hotel Californian resembled an Italian Renaissance palazzo and had two towers shaped around a central light court. It opened for Christmas, 1923.

H. Wingate Lake served as the President and Manager of the Hotel Californian c. 1925.

Storefront facades on the hotel's first floor were "updated" in the 1970s.

PCAD id: 6685