Understand the Background of Modesto, CA
Modesto is an Italian word meaning modest. Modesto, California is the largest city in Stanislaus County, and it is the county seat. As of 2010, the city’s population was about 201,165 and is in the top 20 of largest cities in California. The city is also part of the Modesto-Merced combined Statistical Area. Including the city and its surrounding area, there is a population of 312,842.
As far as its beginnings, the city has a quite humble one. The area started as a mere stop for the railroad. It connected Los Angeles to Sacramento. That changed when William C. Ralston financed a town being built in 1870. The town was originally named Ralston after its founder, but William C. Ralston asked that it be given another name. They named it instead Modesto after Ralston’s modesty. The growth and the rest of the city’s background is quite humble as well.
Population Growth in Modesto, CA
Modesto, CA started out with a little more than 1,000 residents after its first decade. It became a popular spot to move to thanks to the Tuolumne River that was located nearby, which allowed for the development of grain fields and grain barges. The railroad still stopped through, which also contributed to the town’s growth. The use of irrigation allowed fruits, vegetables, and trees to flourish in the area.
At the start of the twentieth century, the city had grown by 3,500. Forty years later, the city would provide powdered milk, eggs, and canned goods to the troops and allies fighting in the second world war. With the economy boosted, even more people came to the area. By the turn of the century, the city had a population of more than 200,000.
There is an official motto that is displayed on the Modesto Arch downtown. It reads: “Water Wealth Contentment Health.” The arch and the saying are featured on many photographs of the local area and are popular on postcards. The saying was selected during a contest that took place in 1911. The winner of the contest won $3 for their prize. The motto that is still on display now is actually not the motto that won the contest over a hundred years ago. The winning motto was actually “Nobody’s Got Modesto’s Goat,” but that saying was declined by city officials. The motto has also been spoofed with a statement that basically says that the regular folk of the city get no water, wealth, contentment, or health.
Modesto, CA is in the Central Valley. The city is 40 miles from Merced, which is south of the city. Fresno is located 90 miles south, while San Francisco lies 92 miles to the west. It’s only 68 miles from the state capital of Sacramento, which is to the north.
The terrain of the location makes for rich farmland, which lends well to the city’s economy. The city is surrounded by farmland and has been honored multiple times as a Tree City USA. It grossed over $3 billion in 2011 for agricultural production. The farmlands support almonds, milk, walnuts, corn silage, and chickens.
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