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Chapter 5: Kearney Mansion and Park

Kearney Mansion Ride

Kearney Mansion sits at the end of Kearney Boulevard, an old palm tree lined street that was the original entrance to this mansion. Throughout the Central Valley of California, there are many stately palm tree lined streets that were once the entrances to mansions of rich farmers. But once the magnificent homes disappeared, the palm tree lined streets remained as grand entrances leading to nowhere in particular, just reminders of eras gone by. M Theo Kearney originally intended his mansion to be a much larger structure to be known as Chateau Fresno. The larger structure was never built. The mansion that was built is now part of the park system and docents regularly offer tours.

The Kearney Mansion is located seven miles west of downtown Fresno. It consists of two buildings, a main residence and an adjoining servants' quarters. The two buildings are designed in the French Renaissance style, using materials indigenous to the area. Both buildings have a basic rectangular form with walls of two-foot-thick adobe brick, covered with a thin coat of plaster for waterproofing.

The present-day "mansion" was not intended to be Kearney's main residence, but was meant to be the home of the caretaker. Kearney lived in this residence while his much larger palace was being built. But alas, he died before his castle was completed. At the time of his death in 1906, only the caretaker’s residence and the servants' quarters had been completed.

The bike ride to Kearney Mansion can begin at where Kearny Boulevard begins at its intersection with Fresno Street. As you ride down Kearney Boulevard, you pass by St. Alphonsus Church, one of the oldest churches in Fresno, where many families had their wedding ceremonies and baptisms, and where many funeral masses celebrated the end of generations.

You can also begin your ride at Chandler Airport, a private airport, with a coffee at Flight Line CafĂ© inside of Chandler Airport. You will probably have an easier time with parking at the airport. After a hearty breakfast, you can begin your bike ride and continue on to Kearney Mansion. 

The ride to Kearney Mansion is 6.4 miles and takes approximately 33 minutes by bike. As you exit Chandler Airport, the most shaded and safest route would be to ride on the right side of the street heading west because the left side of the street is for the city bus route, which ends at Crystal Avenue.  Between South Marks and South Cornelia, Kearny Boulevard does a deviation to bypass West Madison Avenue. As you approach Marks Avenue, merge left to stay on the scenic Kearney Blvd. route and remain on the right side of the street. At Blythe Avenue, cross the street to ride on the left side of , where the bike lane is. Stay on Kearny Boulevard as it merges with West Madison and continue on the bike path the left of the street in order to enter Kearney Park.

 Kearney Mansion Museum has a secured porch where you can leave your bicycle and then begin the inside guided tour lead by Fresno County Historical Society tour guides.

We hope you enjoyed this chapter from Juan Flores' Bicycling in Fresno.

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Fresno County Bicycle Coalition

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