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Modesto Business Signs
Modesto, California is located in what is known as ‘Central Valley.’ Prior to European settlement, the Miwok and Yokut peoples inhabited Central Valley. Initially, the city of Modesto was a stop on the railroad connecting Sacramento to Los Angeles. Modesto was officially founded on November 8th, 1870. Town lore states Modesto initially would have been named after financier William C. Ralston, “but he was too modest and asked them to find another name for the town.” In honor of Ralston’s modesty, the townsfolk called the settlement ‘Modesto.’ It was officially incorporated on August 6th, 1884.
Today, Modesto is the largest city and official seat of Stanislaus County. According to a 2013 US census bureau estimate, Modesto has a population of 204,933 people. This makes it the 18th most populous city in the state of California. In 2010, the US census bureau estimated the Modesto Census County Division, which includes the cities of Riverbank and Ceres, to have a population of 312,842 people.
As reported by the government of Modesto, the town has been honored as a Tree City USA several times. In fact, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation, Stanislaus County ranks sixth on the list among California counties when it comes to farm production. Stanislaus County grossed nearly $3.1 billion in agribusiness in 2011, mainly due to milk, almond, chicken, walnut, and corn silage sales.
Modesto serves as the headquarters for the largest family-owned winery in the United States: E & J Gallo Winery. A subsidiary company, Gallo Glass Company, is the largest wine bottle manufacturing company in he world. E & J Gallo Winery, which is short for Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery, was founded in 1933. Other companies headquartered in Modesto include Foster Farm Dairy, Royal Robbins, Fiscalini Cheese, Sciabica Olive Oil, Acme Construction, Aderholt Specialty, and 5.11 Tactical, which provides uniforms and tactical equipment for the military.
Modesto is also home to the McHenry Mansion, which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1883 by architect Jeremiah Robinson, the McHenry Mansion is a Victorian and Italianate abode initially built for Robert McHenry, a prominent local resident.
The most famous former resident of Modesto, California, however, is undoubtedly the filmmaker George Lucas. Lucas, responsible for such phenomena as the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Willow franchises, grew up in the city. In fact, his second film, American Graffiti (1973), illustrated his automobile-fueled teenagerhood in the area. Modesto city council refused Lucas’ request to film in the city, so he had to settle for Petaluma California as the shooting location. These days, though, the Modesto City Council has changed their tack. George Lucas now has a Plaza named after him, located downtown. It includes a bronze statue of him.
Otherwise, Modesto is home to one professional sports team. The Modesto Nuts Minor League Baseball Club of class A California League are a Single A affiliate of MLB’s Colorado Rockies. The Nuts, who were founded in 1946, play their home games at John Thurman Field. They have eight league titles to their name.
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