Parade of Towns: Hanford, CA


When most people think of California, they imagine images of white sandy beaches and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.



While California certainly does boast of it’s beaches and celebrities, that’s not all that’s here.

In fact, I live quite far from all of the hustle and bustle…

My little homestead is on the prairie California’s Central Valley.

The Central Valley is one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. On less than 1 percent of the total farmland in the United States, the Central Valley produces 8 percent of the nation’s agricultural output.



Flat farm fields in every direction.

Until, of course, you see the High Sierras on the horizon.

They are actually really close to where we live, however, the Central Valley is notorious for it’s hazy days, so you rarely ever have the privilege of seeing them. From our door to the gate, we are an hour away from Sequoia National Park and less than two hours away from Yosemite National Park.



We don’t have traffic.

Unless you get behind one of these. 😉


There are fields of every crop imaginable.

Most notably, our neighbor town, Selma, is the raisin capital of the world.

Hence, grapes.




More corn than you know what to do with.



And orchard after orchard of nut trees.





Another big industry out here are dairy farms.

Yes, they are smelly.

But I’d take cows over crowds any ol’ day.



Thursday Night Marketplace




We reap the benefits of all of the locally grown produce every Thursday night.

You don’t realize the difference from grocery store produce until you’ve tasted fresh picked.



The main drag through town closes one evening a week for all of the local vendors to come out and sell their crops, jams, breads and baked goods.



The whole town comes out.



There is food, live music, activities and entertainment for children… a little something for everyone.


It takes place right in front of our “town square” Civic Park.




Places in and around Civic Park

The Courthouse

Built in 1896, the old courthouse is now offices and shops.


There is a carousel in front of the courthouse.



Civic Auditorium

Built in 1924, the civic auditorium is utilized for events.




The Bastille

Built in 1898, The Bastille served as Hanford’s jail until 1964.

Since then it has been converted into a restaurant space, of which several have come and gone. It is currently vacant and rumored to be haunted. 😉


Veterans Memorial Building


The Fox Theater

Built in 1929 and has operated ever since.

They have a variety of shows including silent comedies and concerts.

Inside the Fox.


Looks like they were having a parade.
Nobody is waving though. hmm.

The Train Station

The railroad is significant in the history of Hanford.
In 1877, when the Southern Pacific Railway laid lines from Goshen to Coalinga, their path crossed through a Chinese sheepherder’s simple camp. This camp was the beginning of the City of Hanford. The settlement was named for James Madison Hanford, auditor of the railroad, who also took a lively interest in the sale of town lots. The sale of lots began on January 17, 1877. Within a short time the settlement grew to a town and, with the powerful backing of the railway interests, Hanford became the trading center of the area. (via)


The Star Restaurant. Opened in 1901. Still in operation!

Superior Dairy

The infamous Superior ice cream.
People flock from all over to get ice cream from this old time shop.
With all the charm that a 1920s ice cream parlor can have, they make all of their ice cream on site.

I believe this is what they call “two scoops”.
You need a shovel, not a spoon.

Black Bear Diner

Another fun little restaurant is called The Black Bear Diner and is decorated in, you guessed it, bears.
It’s good ol’ homestyle cookin’ with a cabin inspired atmosphere.

We have a lot of restaurants and fast food chains. Everything you could want.
3-4 McDonalds, 2-3 Starbucks, Sonic, Panera Bread, El Pollo Loco, Farmer Boys, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., Wienerschnitzel, Baskin Robbins, Coldstone Creamery, Rally’s, Panda Express, Chilis, Applebees, Dennys, Ihop… and those are just some of the chains. We have plenty of independently owned restaurants, too.


We even have our own little mall.

It’s not high fashion or anything, but we have some decent shops.
Bath and Body Works, Kohls, Ross, and Forever 21 are the highlights. And Orange Julius. :)

Our Forever 21 is ginormous.
The size of an entire department store.

We have a whole new section of town with Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Marshalls, Michaels, Lowes, Home Depot and a few grocery stores.


The majority of the town is tract housing, both new and older developments.
There are, however, many really cute historic homes.

Storybook cottages.

Big wrap-around porches.

Many have been restored.

Some need love and tlc.

Just a few of my favorites.


One of my favorite churches in town is the historic Episcopal Church.

Decorated for Christmas.

NAS Lemoore

Why Hanford, you might ask.
I’m always curious as to why and how people end up where they do. Some people grew up in their town and decided to raise their family there too… others move for jobs or location preference.
We are here because Jon’s current duty station is Naval Air Station Lemoore, in the neighboring town of Lemoore.

NAS Lemoore is the Navy’s largest master jet air station in the United States.

We’ve only lived here a year and a half, but in that time have grown fond of this little town.
It has everything you need with a small town feel.
Being a military family, sometimes it is challenging to really allow yourself to get too involved or too attached to your current town. It is inevitable; you are going to move again. And probably sooner than later.
Hanford doesn’t necessarily feel like “home” but it certainly is starting to grow on me.
The people here are friendly.
The pace is slower than Southern California.
The location is centrally located- just a few hours drive Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and about 5 hours from San Diego.
Our neighbor city, Visalia has everything that we don’t.
Including California’s first (and only) Hobby Lobby.
We just need a chick-fil-a and we’ll be set. 😉
I hope you enjoyed my little slice of the American Pie.
I can’t wait to see yours!!

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