Fresno’s Wilson Island,
If you’re in Fresno:
Pick up a copy at Petunia’s Place books in Fresno (6027 N. Palm Ave.).
Prefer to order online:
and Rosanna Cooper Wilson, the woman behind it
In Fresno’s Wilson Island and Rosanna Cooper Wilson, the Woman Behind It, author Jeannine Raymond, PhD, delves into the history of the district, located in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley, and its developer, Rosanna Cooper Wilson. A grandniece of Californio General Mariano Vallejo, and granddaughter of Juan Bautista Rogers Cooper, she grew up in Castroville in the late 1800s and left to Fresno a legacy which is today one of only four registered historic districts in the city. This legacy in the heart of today’s Tower District played a pivotal role in the post-World War I northward expansion of the town and is recognized by architectural experts for its collection of museum-quality homes.
Rosanna’s life was not without scandal. Someone close to her had her father’s name secretly redacted from her baptismal record to hide her existence as her father’s eldest daughter. This haunted her throughout her adult life, but she pushed through the adversity and became a land baroness worth over $3.6 million at her death in Fresno in 1947. This book is her story, and the story of the Wilson Island.