Letter to the Editor: What is in a name?

February 21, 2024 – I’m writing you about the residential area known as Stanford Addition or Bingville or even more common, Beanville or Beansville.

I was told that this area was called Bingville by a longtime resident Mr. Yarborough.  He said the area was called Bingville because of a big rancher who was called Mr. Bing.

Either he owned all of the land and homes in this area or that many of his ranch hands lived in this area, either way it became referred to as Bingville in reference to Mr. Bing.

I had interpreted his story as the area being sort of a labor camp type of area, even if unofficially.

I’m now reading articles in the Clovis Roundup that tell a different story about how the term Bingville was  developed in relation to gas powered water pumps and sounds commonly heard in the area making a bing bing sound.

I’m not familiar with pumps that made a bing bing sound.  The old motors are referred to as “ hit and Miss” motors that make a pop sound when the spark plug fires every other rotation.

I’m not sure whose story is correct, but they both make sense on face value. Both sound good, but I’m not satisfied or convinced that your printer story is factual or anymore believable than mine.

I’ve reached out to the museum about another topic within this same area.  A Gas Station at 5th & Fowler Ave..  It was owned by James “Homer” Bodine.  His residence address was 1764 5th St., and the Gas Station was to the east of the home.  Not quite to the corner of Fowler, but right there. That’s another story I’m working on in relation to this Bingville area.

I’m checking with the City of Clovis Planning department and the Fresno County Assessors office looking for records about Mr. Bing primarily and then about James “Homer” Bodine’s Gas Ststion.

Sure seems that the City of Clovis would have and keep records of businesses and their owners as well as land owners indefinitely.

I wonder if the homes that are built on top of the old Gas Station had land use disclosures about the prior land use. 🤔

I’m fascinated and frustrated about how easily miscommunication occurs and new definitions and insinuations and beliefs develop that are completely untrue.

As people said Bingville but others heard Beansville, the area took on an identity for generations now, that has racist and derogatory implications and a quite negative stigma if you live or lived in that area.

Further, the term Beansville fueled the lore of Clovis being a racist town, illustrated by the City itself calling or referring to this area as  Beansville.

I’ve asked around and as recently as yesterday, about Bingville to those who have been lifelong residents, or grew up in Clovis and it’s 100% referred, remembered and known as Beanville or Beansville.

I feel that  I can conclude with confidence, or in my opinion,  the area was Never officially labeled as Beansville.  It was most definitely officially created and documented as Stanford Addition.

Bingville was the slang term created by either of the two versions I’ve referenced. But, Beansville, was heard and took root in both an endearing way and also a racially insensitive way, as well. Subject to interpretation.

I would love to go door to door in that area and see what the residents in that area, believe the area is called.

I’d bet ya, 90% or more would say Beansville and Beanville and that no one would say Bingville at all, unless the Yarborough family still lives there and recalls they’re dad or grandpas stories.

I’m sharing my story and my discoveries hoping it’ll help create a story and a discovery of more real facts and that the perceived racial insensitivity that’s been associated with this area could be dismissed as an intentional phrasing to insult anyone living in that area.

Surely it’s a term or title that will forever exist irregardless.  It would however, be a really great thing, to be able to definitively point to proof, that everyone was originally saying Bingville, with No I’ll intentions and unfortunately it was heard differently, just like the lyrics to many songs on the radio..You hear what you hear and you repeat it and it takes on a life of its own from there. Fascinating!