Kerman Web Links
The city of Kerman is located in the Central Valley (San Joauquin Valley) of California approximately 15 miles west of the city of Fresno and 15 miles south of the city of Madera at the intersection of Whitesbridge Road (Highway 180) and Madera Avenue (Highway 145).
Elevation: 216 feet above sea level.
The information below is currently in the process of being updated, verified & digested:
Around 1891, the Southern Pacific Railroad Company constructed a new line between Tracy and Fresno. A watering tank and pump on that line was the beginning of Kerman, which was christened Collis in honor of the President of the road, Collis P. Huntington. The first inhabitant, the caretaker of the pump and tank, kept the tank full of water for the thirsty engines with their long and lumbering trains. After some months, he resigned his job, not because of the work, he said, but because it was too lonesome and he was tired of being a hermit. He said he never saw anyone but the train crews and they were always in too big a hurry to carry on a conversation.
As a speculative venture, the old and very rich Bank of California purchased a huge tract of land in every County of California. The arid, barren land around Kerman seemed to be a good venture, so that happened to be the allotment for Fresno County.
After the death of its promoter, the bank became insolvent and its property
was liquidated. The property here attracted the attention of two Los Angeles
capitalists, William G. Kerckoff and Jacob Mansar, who saw a chance to
purchase a plentiful water supply from the newly constructed Enterprise
Canal, which had its source in the Kings River. The men combined the first
three letters of each of their names and christined the area "Kerman."
The name change to Kerman came about in 1910 when two Los Angeles capitalists, William G. Kerckhoff and Jacob Manson, purchased a large tract of land in Kerman from the insolvent, Bank of California. With a water supply and electrical power being brought to the area the town quickly grew. Today, Kerman remains predominantly agricultural, but is reaching out to industry through the development of an industrial park and development of strong business ties through joining with other westside cities in the I-5 Corridor.
The City of Kerman grew by 57% between the 1990 & 2000 census. This established Kerman as having the greatest population, percentage growth in Fresno County.
The Valley's Legends and Legacies IIIBy Cathrine Morrison Rehart
The site of Kerman was first established by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company as a way station with a pump and watering tank in 1891. The site was originally named Collis in honor of the president of the railroad Collis P. Huntington. It was at this site in 1892 that the famous Sontag and Evans gang held up the San Francisco-Los Angeles passenger train, one of the last train robberies in the country and perhaps the most historical event tooccur in Kerman.
Settlement and cultivation of the Kerman area began and
continued through the turn of the century as irrigation projects
brought water to the area, primarily from the Kings River, to the
south. In 1900, William G. Kerckhoff and Jacob Mansar purchased some
3,027 acres of land from the Bank of California. These men formed the
Fresno Irrigated Farms Company. In 1906, Collis was renamed Kerman from
the men's names Kerckhoff and Mansar. At this time, the Company began
promoting land sales near Kerman across
By 1914 Kerman had an estimated population of 400 persons surrounded by 29,000 acres of producing crop land. The Kerman Creamery was producing about 1,600 pounds of butter daily. In 1921, Madera Avenue was paved from the Southern Pacific railroad tracks north to the San Joaquin River and streetlights were installed from the tracks toWhitesbridge Road. By 1936 development of Kerckhoff Park had begun.
Oil and gas exploration was being conducted several miles
south of town and in 1941 culminated with (at the time) the development
of the largest gas well in the state. In 1946, the residents of Kerman
voted to incorporate, and the City of Kerman was born, with a
population of 1,050 residents. In the 1950's new subdivisions began to
develop,expanding the urban area outward from the original townsite.
Early in the 1890s the Southern Pacific Railroad Company built
a rail line from Tracy to Fresno. About 12 miles due west of downtown
Fresno, a watering tank and pump were located on that rail line. A
caretaker was put in charge, keeping the tank filled so there would
always be plenty of water for the train engines, but his job was so
lonely that after a few months he quit. In 1894, a post office was
established at the site. It was named Collis for Collis P. Huntington,
the president of the railroad. The bank of California purchased a large
tracts of land as a speculative venture. The promoter of the project
died, the bank became insolvent, and the property was liquidated. Two
capitalist from Los Angeles, William G. Kerckhoff and Jacob Mansar,
bought the land, which included the town site. The newly built
Enterprise Canal nearby offered excellent opportunities for a colony
development, and many people were attracted to the new town. In 1906,
the town was renamed Kerman -- a name that used the first three letters
of the surnames of the two developers.