Ask Me: Historic Fresno home has log cabin facade
Question: What is the history of the log cabin at 392 Calaveras St.?
– Jeannette Weyant, Fresno
Answer: Described by The Fresno Morning Republican as “one unusual house” when it was built “out on Calaveras” in 1911, the house is not a true log cabin.
The exterior of the Craftsman-style home is covered with thick slabs of logs cut to retain a rounded side of rough bark. The log surface makes the walls several inches thick, designed to help insulate the house from summer heat.
A notable feature of the house is the shed-roofed second-story dormer windows. The style is repeated in the porch roof.
The two sturdy porch pillars and chimney are constructed of river rocks, which fit so closely together that the mortar almost doesn’t show.
The home was built with 11 rooms; a room was added to the back of the house in 1958. An unusual feature was built into the basement den: a piano on a platform that could be raised into the first floor with the push of a button, according to a Fresno Morning Republican story.
The house was built for businessman Columbus Wellington Hobson. In the early 1900s, Hobson co-owned Ehmann & Hobson Bicycles and Sporting Goods.
In 1907, the partners started selling automobiles, including the Elmore self-starting valveless auto. Hobson was later the local dealer for the Hupp Motor Co.’s Hupmobile.
Hobson and his wife, Florence, had one daughter. They later divorced. Hobson died in Alameda in 1948 in his early 70s.
Q: For whom was Behymer Avenue named?
– Arlyn Presley, Fresno
A: Behymer Avenue — an east-west street in northeast Fresno that lies north of Perrin Avenue — was likely named for William W. “Billy” Behymer, who ranched in that area, according to Peg Bos of the Clovis-Big Dry Creek Museum in Old Town Clovis.
A 1927 Fresno County Polk Directory shows Behymer with a Clovis address on the same road that by at least 1954 was called Behymer Avenue, Bos said.
Behymer and his wife, Effie J. Behymer, are buried in the Clovis Cemetery. According to the dates on their headstones, he was born in 1879 and died in 1948 and she was born in 1881 and died in 1958.
Q: Who funded and built Ratcliffe Stadium and Euless Park baseball field?
– Bob Taul, Fresno
A: Ratcliffe Stadium on Blackstone Avenue across from Fresno City College opened on Oct. 9, 1926, when the campus still housed Fresno State Teachers College. (The campus was renamed Fresno State College in 1935.)
Most of the $50,000 needed to build the 13,000-seat stadium came from community donations. In April 1926, a two-day fund drive raised $30,000, according to The Fresno Morning Republican.
In 1940, the Fresno State stadium was named for Emory Ratcliffe, an ardent supporter of college football. A social science professor, Ratcliffe served as the school’s first football coach for two weeks in 1921 until a coach was appointed.
He taught at the college from 1915-48 and died in September 1975, the day before his 97th birthday.
The Fresno State College baseball park was named for John Milford Euless, who was nicknamed “Mr. Baseball” for his avid support of the local game.
Euless came to Fresno in 1907 and was a real estate agent and grape rancher. As the first president of the Fresno Cardinals baseball club, Euless was instrumental in getting the $32,000 stadium built near Ratcliffe Stadium in 1941.
In 1957, Fresno City Unified School District trustees voted to purchase the ballpark from the college and name it for Euless. He died in 1966 and his namesake ballpark was torn down in 1987.
By Paula Lloyd