Fresno County Assessor's Office
Parcel Photograph Collection
We are happy to announce the beginning of a project to digitize and create a database of the Parcel Photograph Collection from the Fresno County Assessor's Office. This collection consists of fifteen boxes of photographs taken of land
by county tax appraisers
in the 1950s and 1960s. Donated in 2005, the collection was underutilized until retired county appraiser, Mark Curtis, contacted our Archives
in early November 2018
in search of a specific image.
A friend of Mark's in Kingsburg wanted to add solar to his rural home, but was having difficulty gaining planning permission due to an old building on the property which did not meet modern building
codes. Mark hoped the parcel photograph would show that the building was there
before 1958, which would have established the age of the structure before current building standards were in effect. Mark identified the parcel book and he then arranged a research appointment with Archivist Katy Hogue to look through the relevant files. After some searching, he found an image of the Kingsburg address
on the center left of the first image below
. As can be seen from the inset in the third image below, t
he photograph includes a chalkboard with the parcel number, address, date of July 27, 1965 and the appraisers initials. Although the address was correct, the property
had a different parcel number due to development and splitting of agricultural land on the outskirts of Kingsburg. Although the house looks nothing like the current property, the building that can be seen on the far right side of the second image below may be the old building in question. Mark and his friend were confident that the photograph would resolve the issue.
After seeing Mark work his magic with this difficult to decipher collection, Katy asked him if he wanted to volunteer to make the collection more publicly accessible. Mark agreed and recruited two additional volunteers
another former appraiser, Gene Sibley, and Dr. Susan Pappas. These veteran volunteers are eager to move forward with the project, which should be completed in the next year or so. We hope that by making this collection digitally searchable, we will be better able to help researchers who are looking into the history of their homes.