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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Fender's Radio Service
Reference Number 13000511
State California
County Orange
Town Fullerton
Street Address 1-7 South Harbor Boulevard
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 7/23/2013
Areas of Significance Performing Arts, Entertainment/Recreation
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Fender's Radio Service is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and B at the local level of significance in the areas of performing arts and entertainment/recreation. Under Criterion B, the radio store is closely associated with guitar legend Clarence Leo Fender, and under Criterion A, it is associated with the revolutionary basses, guitars, and amplifiers that he designed and manufactured. Aside from President Richard M. Nixon , no other individual from Orange County, California, has had so profound an effect on the world as Fender. While there has always been disagreement over who invented the first solid-body guitar, there has never been any question that it was Fender, with his designs for affordable, easily mass-produced guitars, who facilitated the transition in popular music from big bands to small, guitar-driven groups. The instruments that he invented dominated and shaped popular music of the latter half of the twentieth century, music that was often at the forefront of social and political change, and more recently, has gone on to revolutionize the sound of African style and other world music. His amplifiers set the gold standard for reliability against which all amps are judged to this day. From the humble beginning at this radio store in downtown Fullerton in the mid-1940s , Fender was able to become one of the most radical guitar makers of the 1950s and 1960s. He shook up an industry with his boldly styled amplifiers and instruments that changed the way in which guitars were produced and marketed, subsequently altering the way the world heard, played, and composed music. It was at this location that Fender designed his first solid-body electric guitars, and started the laboratory, manufacturing , and marketing processes and strategies that would serve him throughout the rest of his career. This early work done by Fender forged a new path for the inventor, and his innovations during this pioneering period-ridiculed by industry insiders-improved the range , durability , and affordability of amplifiers and guitars forever, while also allowing his company in the 1960s to set the standard for quality in the industry. Beginning in 1945, Fender started proudly putting Fullerton, California on every product produced by his then small manufacturing company, and that decision put the still small town of Fullerton on the map. Guitar aficionados still come to Fullerton looking for Fender's guitar business.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria