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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is Fresno's Pinedale area haunted?

Not many people may know this, but the north Fresno area of Pinedale has a long and interesting history in regards to the rest of Fresno. In March of 1942, the Federal government officially acquired the land which was eight miles north of downtown Fresno. At the time there were 21 warehouses and 11 other buildings.

From 7 May 7 to 23 July 1942, the Pinedale Assembly Center housed a total of 4,823 evacuees, with a maximum of 4,792 at a time. The evacuees were from Sacramento and El Dorado counties, and Oregon and Washington. Ten barracks blocks, each with 26 buildings, were constructed for the evacuees, and a separate block was built for the military police and administration.

But these was a temporary "assembly" center used until permanent ones could be built in remote locations. In August 1, 1942, on the site of the Pinedale Assembly Center became Camp Pinedale began receiving soldiers selected for training as Army Air Forces signal technicians in December of that year. The proposed use was for the Air Service Command to store clothing, parachutes, equipment, office supplies, and salvage material. In July of 1944 Camp Pinedale became the home of the 840th Army Air Forces Specialized Depot.

By war's end, the post had trained 25,000 soldiers as electronic specialists and for allied army assignments, clerks, truck drivers, chemical warfare specialists, camouflage specialists, ordnance technicians, and cooks. The camp was deactivated in February 1947, when the Corps of Engineers assumed custody of the sprawling base and began preparations for the disposal of the post's building and other installations.

During the period June to December, 1946, Camp Pinedale's operations were rapidly drawing to a close. Effective 3 December 1946, approximately 380 acres of the installation were declared surplus. The remaining 190 acres occupied by the 840th AAF Specialized Depot were declared surplus effective 1 March 1947. On October, 1947, the property reverted to its owner, the Pinedale Compress and Warehouse Company (formerly Valley Compress). Four years later it was sold to the California Cotton Cooperative Association Ltd (Calcot).

For the next few decades several companies occupied the land and buildings that were part of Camp Pinedale. It was only when the Vendo Company took hold of one building, that reports of paranormal activity begin to surface.

In the Mezzanine area, people would report being grabbed by some unseen force. Near the plant's entrance, several people saw a Japanese woman with half of her face rotted off, sitting on a green bench. People have heard sounds of choking and whispering, but never were able to find the source. And in one of the restrooms upstairs, a former employee hung himself and people would still see his ghost up there seven years later and after a while people refused to use the restroom due to seeing his spirit all the time.

There are rumors that a lot of Japanese Americans died at Camp Pinedale and there bodies are buried on the grounds and this would explain the number of incidents reported. To be honest, I'm not sure if this is true or not. But given the state of mind these poor people were in while they were being held here, it wouldn't surprise me that if some had died, that they still linger here. Not knowing that it's ok to move on. Still this is a sad part of Fresno's history that many people do not know about.

For a more detailed history of the area, you can go here.

These pictures I took back in August of 2005. They were all that was left of the buildings that were part of Camp Pinedale. These were off of Ingram, but if you go there now the only thing left is the water tower. Everything else has been replaced with new office buildings.


Anonymous said...

Interesting story! I used to work at that place when it was Vendo :)

Worked in the IT department with Steve, Vince, and Chris.

Loved walking though that place - the history was awesome!

William Wagner said...

They should probably investigate that place so they may know if it's really haunted. Thanks a lot for sharing that interesting story.

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Anonymous said...

Yes, till this day. There are noise in some of the office building in certain areas. One woman heard noise coming from a hall way closet, so her and co-worker open a door. There was nothing there. Some people have heard knockings on the wall of a office. Center of the area is on Pinedale street, between Palm and Remingtion street. Yes, there are people buried, in parts of these areas. Also, there are bunkers and tunnels, which are still there!

Anonymous said...

I , too, worked at Vendo on the Graveyard shift as a manager and had taken the liberty to snoop around the catwalks at night. Lots of weird sounds and groaning (it sounded like). There were carvings and graffitti like messages in the wood walls up there (by bored armed soldiers, perhaps??)and there was an all stone furnace room with only one vented hole going in or out of the furnace which I thought was odd. It looked like a giant kiln. I had an employee who made his office inside that stone chamber and he said it sometimes gave him the creeps. I DO know that the Army used to bury 50 gallon steel drums of (??) underground and there was an army jeep that was unearthed and discovered before it became Vendo. I'm surprised that the ground area over there isn't completely contaminated with hazardous waste. Who knows what's really in that ground over there.