Downtown Walking Tour

Fender shop as it appears today

The Fender Shop as it appears today.

Inside Fender's shop, circa 1949

Inside the Fender Shop, circa 1949

Dale  Hyatt outside the Fender Shop, circa 1949

Outside the Fender Shop, circa 1949

Site of Leo Fender's Radio Service Shop

(Retail Shops - 107 S. Harbor Boulevard)

This small building started out as the home of what would become the Fullerton News Tribune , Fullerton's first and longest running newspaper.   The paper was located in the building when it was constructed in 1911 and remained until 1931. 

Leo Fender's Radio Service, which had been previously located in two other retail spots along Harbor Boulevard, opened here in 1945, and remained until 1951.  Fender, who had been tinkering with new guitar pickups and amplifiers prior to World War II, began his foray into manufacturing at the rear of the shop, and it was at this location that the development of the electric guitar began in earnest.

The front part of the store was used for radio sales, service and rental, along with electrical appliances, phonograph records, musical instruments and repairs, public address systems, and sheet music.  The back of the shop was used to invent and refine guitar and amplifiers.  When more space was needed, a tin shed was added to the back of the building.  In 1945, Fender introduced his first product line at this building, and in 1946, began to work on designing the first commercially viable electrical guitar, the Broadcaster/Telecaster, followed later by the Stratocaster and Precision Bass.  Needing more space, Fender constructed two metal buildings at the southwest corner of Pomona and Santa Fe Avenues to manufacture new guitars and amplifiers for professional musicians.  Fender's original factory is now home to a mural dedicated in his honor.

Fullerton Heritage Logo
Copyright 2009 Fullerton Heritage. All rights reserved.
Color photography by James C. Powell
Previous Tour Site Return to Views & Tours Next Tour Site Return to Tour Navigation