Bartsch Hall Had A History Before Joining the Fresno Pacific Family

FPUIf Bartsch Hall looks more like a residence than a university office building, there is, in fact, a good reason. It was built about 1953 as the home of Joseph and Maxine Jones, who had lived in the Giffen Mansion (today’s Seminary House) since 1939. They sold the mansion to Rogers and Patricia Clark in 1953, but kept land for a new ranch-style home. In March 1955 Jones sold the land south and east of the mansion to Pacific Bible Institute, and in November 1955 the Clarks sold the land with the mansion to PBI as well. The only section not sold to PBI was the one on which the new Jones house was located, at 1595 South Chestnut Avenue.

The Joneses sold their home to Leonore (“Lee”) Erickson around 1973. She married Maurey T. Haas in 1976. Lee and Maurey hosted as many as 800 guests in their backyard for frequent fundraising events. 

Lee Haas was a nurse for 25 years, and with first husband Bill Erickson operated a ranch and dairy near Raisin City. According to her obituary she “was equally at home in a pair of Levi’s, out brushing the horses, or in an elegant full length ball gown presiding as President of the Emblem Club.” She was a founder of La Caballista de Fresno, a mounted women’s parade drill team that participated in parades across California. Her second husband, Maurey Hass, was a vice president for Pacific Bell.

Despite its proximity to the college, little of the house was visible from campus. It was bounded on the north, east and south sides by a low brick wall, some of which remains today. Shrubbery along those walls provided additional privacy.

Fresno Pacific purchased the house in 1986 for education program offices. Renovations included reorienting it so the main entrance faced east rather than west onto Chestnut Avenue. Initially named “West Hall,” in October 1990 it was christened “Bartsch Hall” to honor Silas Bartsch.