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Hanford is an important commercial and cultural center in the south central San Joaquin Valleymarker and is the county seat of Kings County, Californiamarker. It is the principal city of the Hanford-Corcoran, California Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA Code 25260), which encompasses all of Kings County, including the cities of Hanford and Corcoranmarker. The ZIP Code is 93230 (93232 for post office boxes). The city of Hanford is surrounded by communities that do not fall within the city limits but use the same zip code. These communities include Grangevillemarker, Hardwickmarker and Home Gardenmarker.

The population was 41,686 at the 2000 census. However, the California Department of Finance estimates that the population had grown to 52,687 as of January 1, 2009.. By 2010 Hanford will have estimate population of 54,286 and by 2020 it will have 70,177 with Kings county having 198,700 residents.


Hanford is located at (36.3275, -119.6457). It is situated in the south central portion of California's San Joaquin Valley, SSE of the city of Fresnomarker, at an elevation of above sea level. The terrain is level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.1 square miles (33.9 km²), all of which is land not covered by water. The only natural watercourse is Mussel Slough, remnants of which still exist on the city's western edge. The Kings River is about north of Hanford. The People's Ditch, an irrigation canal dug in the 1870s, traverses Hanford from north to south.


Hanford has a climate typical of that of the San Joaquin Valley floor with hot, dry summers and cool winters characterized by dense Tule fog. The rainy season occurs from November through April. The average annual rainfall over the ten years from 1997/98 through 2006/07 was 8.97 inches (228 mm).-On average, the warmest month is July.

-The highest recorded temperature was 116°F in 1933.

-On average, the coolest month is December.

-The lowest recorded temperature was 15°F in 1990.

-The maximum average precipitation occurs in March.

The National Weather Service Forecast Office for the San Joaquin Valley is located in Hanford and includes a Doppler weather radar. Weather forecasts and climatological information for Hanford and the surrounding area are available from its official website.


The Hanford area was inhabited by the Tachi Yokut Indians for several thousand years prior to Euro-American contact. They occupied areas along watercourses such as creek, springs and seep areas (such as sloughsmarker), along perennial and seasonal drainages, as well as flat ridges and terraces. Therefore, the areas along streams are considered likely locations for prehistoric cultural resources. Permanent villages were usually placed on an elevation above the seasonal flood levels. Surrounding areas were used for hunting and seed, acorn, and grass gathering.

Hanford is named for James Madison Hanford, a railroad executive, after the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks were laid through a sheep camp in the year 1877. According to History of Kings County : "It was but a short step from sheep-camp to village and with the railroad as an attraction the village flourished and became a town within a few historic months."
Hanford in 1877.

In 1880, a dispute over land titles between settlers and the Southern Pacific Railroad resulted in a bloody gun battle on a farm 5.6 mi (9 km) northwest of Hanford that left seven men dead. This event became famous as the Mussel Slough Tragedymarker.

A post office was set up in 1887.

Several times, major fires destroyed much of the young community's business district. The need for fire protection led to the town becoming an incorporated city in 1891.

An electrical generating plant was built in 1891 by pioneering flour miller H.G. Lacey, bringing the first electric lights to the city. The Lacey Milling Company was still operating in Hanford in 2009.

The first public high school, Hanford Union High School, was started in 1892 with one teacher, W. S. Cranmer, and an average enrollment of fourteen.

When Kings County was created in 1893 from the western part of Tulare County, Hanford became its county seat.

A second railroad was laid through Hanford in 1897, which today is the main north-south line of the BNSF Railway through the San Joaquin Valleymarker. The original east-west Southern Pacific Railroad branch line is now operated by the San Joaquin Valley Railroad.
The Star Restaurant est.
In 1901, a restaurant called the Star opened on Sixth Street across from the Southern Pacific tracks. The Star Restaurant was still doing business at the same location in 2009.

Saloons flourished in Hanford's early days despite an anti-saloon movement until the town voted to become "dry" in 1912, eight years before nationwide Prohibition in the United States took effect.


As of the 2000 census, there were 41,686 people, 13,931 households, and 10,378 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,184.4 people per square mile (1,229.6/km²). There were 14,721 housing units at an average density of 1,124.5/sq mi (434.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.06% White, 5.01% Black or African American, 1.36% Native American, 2.85% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 20.80% from other races, and 5.73% from two or more races. 38.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Foreign-born residents accounted for 13.2% of Hanford's population and 28.3% spoke a language other than English at home.

There were 13,931 households out of which 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.39.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.6% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.


Hanford is a major trading center serving the surrounding agricultural area. According to the California Employment Development Department, as of January 2007, most residents of the Hanford area were employed in services (29,200 employees), government (14,300 employees) and farming (7,600 employees) as well as in some manufacturing enterprises (3,400 employees).

The heavy industry sector has declined significantly over the past 20 years. An oil refinery formerly operated in the city under several different owners (Caminol Oil Co. from 1932-1967, Beacon Oil Co. from 1967-1982 and Ultramar Oil Co. from 1982-1987) until it permanently closed in 1987 [15836]. A tire manufacturing plant was built in 1962 by the Armstrong Rubber Co., which operated it until that company was purchased by the Italian manufacturer Pirelli, which eventually closed the factory in 2001. On December 11, 2007, the Hanford City Planning Commission approved construction of a plant that is expected to produce 60 million gallons (227 million liters) of ethanol per year for use as a gasoline additive and alternative fuel for vehicles. Most of the feedstock will be corn shipped from the Midwest. The proposed plant would be operated by Great Valley Ethanol LLC and was expected to open in 2010. However, in March 2009, the president of Great Valley Ethanol stated that difficulty in obtaining financing and the low price of gasoline had delayed the opening.

The retail sector is growing with taxable sales of USD 414.7 million reported in 2002, up by 4.6% from 2001.

Major employers within the city of Hanford in 2006 included the Kings Countymarker government with 1,041 employees, the Adventist Health System with 857, the Hanford Elementary School District with 520, the Del Monte tomato cannery with 435 year-round and 1,500 seasonal employees and Marquez Brothers International, Inc., makers of Hispanic cheese and other dairy products. Many Hanford residents work for other nearby employers such as NAS Lemooremarker, the U.S. Navy's largest master jet base located 15.5 mi (25 km) WSW of Hanford and for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which operates three state prisons in Kings County.

Hanford has not escaped the effects of the late 2000s recession. The unemployment rate in October 2009 was 13.6%, up from 8.8% in July 2008.

According to the United States Census Bureau, median household income in Hanford was USD 37,582 and 17.3% of the population was living below the poverty line in 1999, including 23.6% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over. The median income for a household in the city was USD 37,582, and the median income for a family was USD 41,395. Males had a median income of USD 37,120 versus USD 25,971 for females. The per capita income for the city was USD 17,504.

The homeownership rate was 59% in 2000.

Hanford shopping

Hanford has variety of shopping including:

Hanford Mall-an indoor 625,580 feet mall complex anchor by Sears, Forever 21, JCPenney and Cinemark Movies 8.

Walmart Supercenter Plaza- which includes three restaurants, Sonic Drive-In, El Pollo Loco, and Farmer Boy Hamburgers.

Hanford Historic Downtown -which is home to unqiue restaurants, events, stores and small shops .

Michaels, Old Navy, Petsmart, Home Depot, Target, Lowe's and Marshalls are among other retail outlets in Hanford.

Hanford healthcare

Hanford offers two acute care hospitals, Hanford Community Medcial Center and Central Valley General Hospital, both of which are owned and operated by Adventist Health. They will be replaced by a new 144-bed hospital now under construction that is slated to open in the summer of 2010. There are three clincs, three skilled nursing facilities, 91 physcians and 30 dentists in the city.



The Hanford Municipal Airportmarker serves general aviation and has a 5,175 ft (91,577 m) paved runway.


Kings Area Rural Transit (KART) operates regularly scheduled fixed route bus service, vanpool service for commuters and Dial-A-Ride (demand response) services throughout Kings County as well as to Fresno. Hanford is also served by the Orange Belt Stages.


Amtrak provides passenger rail service to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, and service to Southern California by a combination of rail and bus. Freight service is available from both the BNSF Railway and the San Joaquin Valley Railroad.

Major highways

Highway 43

Highway 198



The city's water system is supplied by a network of 18 wells ranging from 600 to deep and serves 14,874 water connections. The water is not chlorinated or otherwise treated.

According to the Consumer Confidence Report issued by the city in 2009, the water contains naturally-occurring arsenic in excess of the maximum contaminant level adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The federal standard is 10 micrograms of arsenic per liter of water. In a public notice issued to residents on June 8, 2009, the city reported that five wells sampled in June 2009 had arsenic levels ranging from 19.0 to 73 micrograms per liter. The notice stated that the city's water system should be in full compliance with all drinking water standards within approximately 6 months.

Although it does not pose a health hazard, Hanford's drinking water also contains hydrogen sulfide, which causes the water to have a noticeable "rotten egg" odor.


The city's sanitary sewer system consists of of collector lines and 21 pump stations.

The wastewater treatment plant is located in the southern part of the city on Houston Avenue and treats 5 million gallons of sewage per day. The treated effluent is used to irrigate non-food crops.

Electricity and gas

Southern California Edison provides electricity to most of Hanford. However, the industrial park area in the southernmost part of the city is served by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Natural gas is supplied by the Southern California Gas Company.

Telephone and cable television

Telephone service is provided by AT&T. Comcast has the cable TV franchise for Hanford.


Hanford is incorporated as a general law city under the California Constitution. The city has a council-manager government with a city manager appointed by the city council.

The city council is made up of five members elected by districts for four-year terms. There are no term limits in effect. The mayor and vice mayor are elected annually by the city council from among its members. On December 2, 2008, the city council elected David G. Ayers to a one-year term as mayor and elected Dan Chin to serve as vice mayor. Other council members include Joaquin D. Gonzalez, Dave Thomas and Sue Sorensen.

Hanford's city manager is the chief administrative officer of the city and is responsible for the overall administrative direction of the city. The city manager's duties include development and implementation of the annual budget for approval by the city council. Gary Misenheimer was appointed as city manager in 2007.

In the state legislature Hanford is located in the 16th Senate District, represented by Democrat Dean Florez, and in the 30th Assembly District, represented by Republican Danny Gilmore. Federally, Hanford is located in California's 20th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +5 and is represented by Democrat Jim Costa.


Hanford has 15 Elementary schools,three junior high schools,3 high schools with a total of 8,464 k-8 students and 3,522 high school age children .The United States Census of 2000 reported that 74.5% of Hanford residents aged 25 and over were high school graduates and 14.4% had bachelor's degrees or higher. . In addition a brand new Elementary school and community college are under construction and are planned to be add to serve Hanford future growth of students.

The Hanford Elementary School District provides Kindergarten through eighth grade education for most of the city. It operates the following elementary and junior high schools:

  • Hamilton Elementary
  • Jefferson Elementary (closed since 2007 for refurbishment)
  • Lee Richmond Elementary
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
  • James Monroe Elementary
  • Roosevelt Elementary
  • Simas Elementary
  • George Washington Elementary
  • John F. Kennedy Jr. High
  • Woodrow Wilson Jr. High

The Pioneer Union Elementary School District serves much of the northern part of Hanford and operates Pioneer Elementary, Frontier Elementary and Pioneer Middle Schools.A portion of north Hanford is served by the Kings River-Hardwick School District. A small area in southwest Hanford is served by the Armona Union Elementary School District, which operates Armona Elementary and Parkview Middle schools in the nearby community of Armonamarker.

The Hanford Joint Union High School District provides public secondary education. It operates Hanford High School and Hanford West High School as well as Earl F. Johnson High School, which is a continuation high school. The District also operates the Hanford Adult School. A new state of art comprehensive full-service high school, called Sierra Pacific High School opened in August 13,2009 with 219 freshman students with the first class set to grauate in 2013 .Sierra Pacific will be part of new Hanford Joint Educational Center, which is a joint use project of the Hanford Joint Union High School District, the College of the Sequoias and the City of Hanford. The Hanford Joint Educational Center is located on 13th Avenue 1/4 of a mile north of Lacey Blvd.

The College of Sequoias is a community college based in Visalia, Californiamarker that currently operates a satellite campus in Hanford. A permanent education center in Hanford is planned as part of the Joint Educational Center.

Chapman University has a Hanford campus for adult students.

Private elementary schools in Hanford include Hanford Christian School, St. Rose-McCarthy School, and Western Christian School.


The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture

The Clark Center features The Ruth & Sherman Lee Institute, the mission of which is to collect, preserve and exhibit works of fine art, primarily the arts of Japan. The Center, a complex of buildings in a style informed by Japanese architecture, also houses a specialist library for Japanese art and culture.

Hanford Carnegie Museum

Hanford Carnegie Museum.
The Hanford Carnegie Museummarker was built in 1905 as one of the many Carnegie libraries that were funded by the steel industry magnate, Andrew Carnegie. The library was replaced by a new structure at a different location in 1968. The old library was subsequently renovated and re-opened as the Hanford Carnegie Museum in 1974. The building is of Romanesque architecture with displays of furniture and photos describing the history of the Hanford area.

Kings District Fair

The Kings District Fair is a traditional county fair held on four days in mid-July at the Kings Fairgrounds.

Renaissance of Kings Cultural Arts Faire

The Renaissance of Kings Cultural Arts Faire is held the first weekend of October at Courthouse Square in Hanford's city center. The Faire recreates the period of time during the rule of King Henry VIII of England. There is no admission charge and the event typically attracts 15,000 people over the two-day period.

Kings Art Center

Kings Art Center

The Kings Art Center was opened in 1989 to be the premier visual arts gallery and art training center of Kings County. Gallery shows are changed approximately every four weeks. Typical shows include photography, pottery, water color, mixed media, prints, textiles and fibers. Art classes for adults and children are scheduled throughout the year.

Hanford in literature

William Saroyan's short story, "The Journey to Hanford" that appeared in My Name Is Aram is a comic account of two characters from Fresnomarker — a boy and his wastrel uncle — who share a single bicycle as they travel the approximately thirty-mile route between Fresno and Hanford, taking along a sack of rice to feed them through what turns out to be a largely pointless summer.

Hanford's Chinese community

Chinese immigrants arrived in the late 19th century to build railroads and work on farms. They created a thriving Chinatown in Hanford in the neighborhood around China Alley. China Alley was the site of the famous but now closed Imperial Dynasty restaurantmarker. Hanford's Taoist Temple (National Register of Historic Places #72000226) built in 1893 is also located there. A Moon Festival is held in China Alley in early October.

Hanford's Black community

While the black community has long played an important role in the city, the City of Hanford only began to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 15, 2007 after a long battle led by the local branch of the NAACP. The City Council then recognized the day as an official holiday with a resolution honoring Dr. King, read by then Mayor Joaquin Gonzales. The most prominent African-Americans living in the community include Chris Jordan, almost 30-year veteran City of Hanford Police Captain, then elected in 2006 as the first African-American Sheriff of Kings County. The late civil rights activist, Wanda Williams-Hinton, turned the Black History Month celebration into an annual citywide tradition.

Sister city

Hanford is a sister city with Setana, a small town on Hokkaidomarker, Japanmarker. The program is known for promoting international friendship. Both cities send a delegate group of both prominent city citizens and high school students. For the city of Hanford, high school students are selected from both high schools through an application and interview process for delegate spots. The Setana high school provides a student delegate position for their entire upper class. Hanford delegates travel to Setana, Japan in the summer. Setana delegates travel to Hanford in the winter.

Sites of interest

Hanford Fox Theatre.
Kings County Courthouse.
The Bastille.

  • The Kings County Courthousemarker was erected after Kings County was formed; it opened in 1896. Constructed in an eclectic mix of styles in a park in the center of Hanford, it was expanded in 1914. The building served as the county's courthouse until 1976 when it was replaced by the new Kings County Government Center on West Lacey Boulevard. The old courthouse was remodeled in the early 1980s and now houses offices, small shops and restaurants.

  • The building now known as The Bastille just north of the old courthouse was the Kings County Jail from 1898 until 1964. Constructed in Romanesque style, it is notable for its crenellated octagonal tower. It currently finds use as a restaurant and nightclub.

  • Superior Dairy is a classic 1920s ice cream parlor that is well-known in the Hanford area. The business makes all of its ice cream on-site. Superior Dairy is across the street from the Civic Auditorium and The Bastille.

Media in Hanford

Media that covers Hanford: online newspaper for Hanford online media for Hanford

Hanford Sentinel newspaper is Hanford's local newspaper.

Fresno Bee


Hanford is the site of the Sentinel Criterium bicycle races held on a Sunday in late March. The hourglass style loop course is run on downtown streets. The Criterium is held under USA Cycling racing rules and permit.

Dirt track auto racing takes place at the Kings Speedway from March through October. The track is a 3/8-mile semi-banked clay oval and is located at the Kings Fairgrounds.

Notable residents


  1. California Department of Finance, Table E-1, City/County Population Estimates with Annual Percent Change, April 2009
  3. John Torrey, Paul Awosika et al., Environmental Impact Report for the Hanford Mall, Earth Metrics Inc. for the city of Hanford and State of California Clearinghouse, rpt. 10082, March 8, 1990
  4. Brown, Robert R. and Richmond, J.E., History of Kings County, A.H. Cawston, Hanford, CA, 1940
  5. Gibson, Harold, History of Kings County Public Schools, Hanford, CA, 2004
  7. Fresno Bee, December 16, 2007
  8. Hanford Sentinel, March 9, 2009
  10. "" accessed 11-21-09
  17. Hanford Sentinel, December 5, 2008
  29. Ibid.
  30. Hanford Sentinel, November 30, 2006
  32. McDevitt, Ray, Courthouses of California - An Illustrated History, pp. 206–207, California Historical Society, San Francisco, CA, 2001.
  33. Ibid.

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