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Clovis, named for Clovis M. Cole (a public-spirited pioneer who lived in the area nearly his entire life), was the origin of Clovis. He had developed thousands of acres of wheat in the Fresno County region. This made the area famous. Padre Martin was the first to explore the area while looking for a mission site. The first non-natives to explore the area were missionaries and trappers. The "gold rush" period saw miners quickly follow, and displace many Native American tribes who had settled near the rivers and in the foothills.
Marcus Pollasky was another settler who proposed and coordinated the construction of a railroad that would run through the grain, cattle, and mining country to the timber-rich forests in the Sierra. Clovis was eventually built around the San Joaquin Division, Southern Pacific Railroad. Clovis was founded in 1891 by factors other than the arrival of the Iron Horse. These included the completion of the 42-mile-long Shaver log flume, the development of the Clovis mill and finishing plants, increasing grain production, and raising livestock.