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MANTECA 1918 • CENTENNIAL • 2018 May 2018

PUBLISHER Hank Vander Veen

EDITOR Dennis Wyatt

Welcome to OUR Special Manteca Centennial Magazine

REPORTERS Vince Rembulat

As a once in a life time opportunity as a media organization we thought it was important to highlight and recognize both past and present in our community as part of the city wide Centennial celebration. 100 years is a long time and we are proud to have been part of this community since 1909. In my mind one of the most important roles that we play is chronicling events and activities in our community as time passes by.

Glenn Kahl Jason Campbell


GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Francisco Toledo Haine Tuitavuki

In this special publication we do our best to highlight both the highs and lows this community has seen. Growing from just over 200 city residents in 1918 to our current population of 81,450 presents many challenges and opportunities along the way and I hope you enjoy this magazine as part of the celebration.


SALES & MARKETING Chris Castro Dawn Hamilton Jennifer Webber

As always we strive to provide content that enlightens, entertains and informs while providing a forum for local conversation about issues and ideas. Special thanks to all the local businesses that supported this effort and make sure you continue to support the businesses at home where we all work and live. We hope you enjoy this magazine and continue to engage with our newspaper, magazines and digital platforms.

Corey Rogers

To advertise in Manteca/Ripon Bulletin, call Manteca • 209.249.3500 531 E. Yosemite Ave. • Manteca, CA 95336 Comments: ©Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher of Manteca Centennial 2018 is strictly prohibited. The opinions expressed in Manteca Centennial 2018 are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of Manteca Centennial management or owner. Manteca Bulletin assumes no responsibility and makes no recommendation for claims made by advertisers and shall not be liable for any damages incurred.




Looking back at Manteca’s first century Manteca marks its 100th year as an incorporated city on May 28, 2018. Manteca per se was a community before then, taking root in the 1850s on lands where the Yokuts (Native American Indians) had called home for nearly 4,000 years. The first immigrants were the pioneer families — the Salmons, the Clapps, the Castles, the Reynolds, and the Harlesons, the Austins. The subsequent wave of settlers brought those who were regarded as the leaders that helped cement Manteca’s future including Joshua Cowell. On the cover are two photos. The top photo is taken in the early 1960s from the top of the International Order of Oddfellows Hall (today’s Manteca Bedquarters building) overlooking the intersection of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street that has served as the heart as well as the population and geographic center of Manteca for more than 150 years. Bank of America is where the Cowell home once stood. The IOOF Hall, completed in 1913,

Joshua and Emily Cowell are shown in a horse carriage outside of their home that stood on what today is the southeast corner of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street.

is the city’s oldest building. The bottom photo is of Spreckels Sugar taken in the late 1950s. For more than 75

years Spreckels Sugar was synonymous with Manteca serving as its largest high profile employer for years.

This centennial magazine touches on some of the major events that have shaped — and are shaping — Manteca.

1800s: Cowell walked across the Sierra By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

It was the ultimate power walk. Joshua Cowell — the Father of Manteca — arrived on the sandy plains in 1863 on foot. Cowell had literally walked to what is now modern-day Manteca from the Carson Valley in Nevada. Originally from Tioga, N.Y., Cowell’s family migrated to Grant County, Wisconsin. It was from there where other pioneer families including the Salmons, Reynolds, Castles and Graves started their journey to Manteca. Cowell headed west with his brothers in 1861. His broth-

somed. Cowell was the first to push for an elaborate irrigation system. Other farmers just laughed. He tried to dig a 45-mile ditch from Knights Ferry to Manteca but farmers refused to cooperate. Charles Tulloch took over the project while Cowell simply contracted to build the ditches. Cowell Station is what the stop on the tracks became when he successfully lobbied the railroad for a creamery stop to ship dairy products to San Francisco. Cowell served as president of the Cowell Station Creamery for five years. After helping lead the community’s first enterprise, Cow-

ers went directly to California while Cowell opted to linger two years in the Carson Valley in Nevada. Cowell arrived here in January 1863 and immediately purchased the ranch he lived on until his death in 1925. It was a ranch that contains most of present day central Manteca. His ranch house, built roughly where the Bank of America branch now stands today on the southeast corner of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street some 155 years later, was the epicenter of the community. It was from here that his grand vision for a town and vibrant farming district blosMANTECA CENTENNIAL



ell ventured into other businesses and eventually was director of the First National Bank of Manteca. Cowell wasn’t always successful. During the 1870s he unsuccessfully tried to return 640 acres to the bank for a mortgage of $4 an acre. Manteca incorporated on May 28, 1918 and Cowell was selected as the city’s first mayor. There are many prominent families that built the Manteca community mostly through agriculture and enterprise. But it was Cowell who started it all. He saw the sandy plains as more than just a farming district.

1900s: Manteca starts as wide spot on road By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

The 20th century dawned in Manteca without a domestic water system, a public sewer, or even electricity. Its entire existence was owed to a cooperative skimming station operated by South County dairymen that later became known as “The Creamery.” By the time 1910 drew near, Manteca was on the move. A Board of Trade has been organized and plans were in the works to bring sewer, water and electricity to Manteca. Joshua Cowell may have purchased land in 1863 for his ranch near modern-day Yosemite Avenue and Main Street that eventually was converted into the Manteca town site, but it was the skimming station that brought commerce to the fledgling community. It was located just east of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks where Regal Signs stands today. Manteca could easily have

also being introduced for the first time. Powers is credited with putting Manteca on the map. In 1905, Powers introduced watermelons to the sandy plains. He planted 200 acres that in turn produced 200 carloads of choice melons. The net return — $18,000 — prompted him to double his acreage in 1906. It also brought other farmers. Soon Manteca was shipping 20 carloads a day of melons to all parts of the United States. Manteca was known as the “Watermelon Capital of the World” from 1905 to 1910 — 60 years before pumpkins emerged as Manteca’s marquee crop. It was in the 1900s that Manteca’s first municipal governing body was established, the Board of Trade. It was a government form first employed in 1696 in England to handle the administration of unincorporated towns. A cross between today’s city council and chamber of com-

faded into the South San Joaquin County sandy plains in the 1900s if it hadn’t been for forward thinking men like Ed Powers. During the later part of the 19th century, dry land farming dominated South County agriculture. San Joaquin County in 1880 raised the largest wheat crop in the world as fields yielded over three million bushels or enough to fill 1,024 freight cars. Men like Powers, though, saw the South County’s future in a variety of other crops they believed would be made possible through irrigation. Although the dream of a massive irrigation system was chased throughout the 1900s without much universal success, there were instances where irrigation was introduced during the first few years of the 20th century. Alfalfa, melons, and grapes were squeezing out wheat as the primary crop. Almonds were

merce, the Board of Trade’s main goal was to promote the community and establish standards and programs similar to what a city would do. The first officers were F.F. Langford, president; F.M. Cowell, vice president; E.N. Pierce, secretary; and Joshua Cowell treasurer. The first issues the Board of Trade tackled were transportation-related. They asked the State Highway Commission to use better material on road construction in the Manteca area. They also began an extensive lobbying of the state to build a bridge spanning the San Joaquin River at Mossdale. The only available crossing for teams of horses hauling farm products to market was the railroad trestle where freight trains often forced teams to wait for over an hour to cross. As the 1900s drew to a close, farmers were assuming the role as Manteca’s first developers.

1910s: Water brought Manteca prosperity By DENNIS WYATT The Bulletin

Water. It drove back the efforts of a 20-man Mormon contingent led by William Stout in 1846 who established a colony southwest of Manteca near the Hays Road bend in the San Joaquin River. They were the first to build an irrigation ditch for farm crops, a modest three-quarter of a mile perfectly graded ditch that was still visible in 1910. The devastating floods of the winter of 1846-47, though, swelled the San Joaquin turning it into a three-mile wide river. But while too much water forced the area’s first settlers to give up and head back to San Francisco, by the time 1910 rolled around Manteca’s hand-

ful of residents were anxious to solve the problem of not enough water. It was during the 1910s that several private efforts to build irrigation canals to bring water to the Manteca-RiponEscalon triangle from the Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry enjoyed limited success. Things changed when the first bonds were issued on June 10, 1910 to build the South San Joaquin Irrigation District that great success was obtained. It was so successful that by the time the first water flowed on April 6, 1913 into SSJID canals from the just completed Goodwin Dam on the Stanislaus, the South County’s population swelled from 3,000 to over 15,000 residents anticipating the prosperity irrigated MANTECA CENTENNIAL

water would bring. In that sense, the story of Manteca mirrors that of California. Harnessed water from Hetch Hetchy allowed San Francisco to prosper. The Owens Valley aqueduct fueled Los Angeles growth. Up and down the Great Central Valley farmers and struggling townsites were creating irrigation districts. Total acreage under cultivation in 1909 was 15,359 acres. Midway through the 1910s with irrigation in full swing, productive land increased to 51,095 acres. The Manteca townsite created by Joshua Cowell was booming. Speculators from throughout the state were trying to cash in on the anticipated South County agricultural boom. The Manteca Enterprise in 1912 reported mer5


chants were flocking to the town to provide clothing, plumbing, tailoring, druggist, steam cleaning, optical, and legal services. There was even a “moving picture show” preparing to open in Manteca. Claus Spreckels saw the potential for sugar beets in the Manteca district. His company arranged for the shipment of 28,000 pounds of sugar beet seeds from Germany at a cost of nearly $15,000 that arrived in Manteca on Dec. 31, 1915. By the end of January 1916, more than 50 farmers had planted 7,000 acres of sugar beets. Spreckels originally wanted to build its refinery at Mossdale Crossing or in Stockton where boats could easily ship SEE 1910, PAGE 18

1920s: Great Drought hurts Manteca By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

It wasn’t the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929 that was the defining economic development for Manteca in the 1920s. It was the Great Drought of 1924. It was also the same year the dreaded hoof-and-mouth disease decimated dairy herds. The drought was the catalyst for the single most enduring economic investment made by Manteca voters. Up until 1924, bonds to build the Melones Dam were soundly defeated. Manteca farmers and residents couldn’t see the benefit of the dam for flood protection or water supplies since the Woodward Reservoir completed in 1916 seemed to serve the South San Joaquin Irrigation District well. But the drought of 1924 changed all of that. Farmer after farmer suffered severe losses as only three rounds of irrigation were available from March until October when irrigation runs normally occur every 10 to 15 days. It required 46,000 acre feet of water to make the needed 30-minute-to-the-acre irrigation

round. But when the first irrigation started, only 36,000 acre feet was in storage at Woodward Reservoir. The first run was enough for 20 minutes of coverage on March 19, 1924. It left Woodward Reservoir completely drained. Spring run-off allowed 22,000 acre feet to accumulate by the end of April. This time the run was decreased to 15 minutes per acre. Some relief was provided to farmers on May 16, 1924 when 1.22 inches of rain fell in three hours. Unfortunately, it severely damaged the alfalfa crops’ first cutting. It triggered a summer shortage forcing dairymen to import feed at high costs from Washington. The third and final round of irrigation came on June 3, 1924. Woodward Reservoir was drained and the run was only half of the required 30 minutes per acre. G.K. Parker, SSJID superintendent in 1924, told the Bulletin the farmers could have been saved with one more run in August but there was nothing the district could do. Voters passed bonds for

Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River. Two years later on Nov. 11, 1926 the dam was dedicated. The Melones Dam saved Manteca area farmers several times over the next 20 years when lack of rain wrecked production in other California farming regions. The name “Melones” is Spanish for melons. It was attached to the Stanislaus River area where the dam was built because the gold nuggets found in the area reminded Spanish and Mexican miners of melon seeds. The Melones bonds also put SSJID in the unique position of not receiving any federal assistance to develop its water storage system. It was the federal government’s decision decades later to build a component of its water system at Melones that brought Washington into the picture. Both the Oakdale Irrigation District and SSJID share rights to over 320,000 acre feet of water behind the New Melones Dam since the federal project required the elimination of Melones Dam. Melones Dam played a key role in SSJID’s long range water planning that today is allowing it to bring treated surface water

to South County cities as well as move into retail electricity sales that may eventually yield Manteca residents rates 15% lower than PG&E rates. The hoof-and-mouth disease cost South County farmers 340 head of cattle and losses of $17,625 to further compound the economic disaster of the drought. The 1920s also saw voters approve the building of Manteca’s first high school. The election to form the Manteca Union High School District took place on May 19, 1920. Nineteen men in the community then borrowed enough money on their own to construct temporary wooden buildings on the same site that now houses Manteca High School. A $200,000 bond election carried on Dec. 23, 1921 and the campus, with its fabled tower, was dedicated on Jan. 27, 1923. The auditorium seated 550 people in “handsome, comfortable opera chairs.” The first graduating class of 1923 consisted of 10 students.

1930s: Farm woes, floods & fires By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

The 1930s could be characterized as Manteca’s “quiet decade” if it weren’t for the first major flood of the 20th century, labor strife, fires and diseased sugar beets temporarily shuttering Spreckels Sugar. The Depression and the Dust Bowl also combined to plant the seeds that would change the course of growth in Manteca and the rest of the Central Valley as tens of thousands of Midwest farm-

ers came to California. Things were looking bleak as the decade started. Spreckels’ Manteca plant closed in 1930 due to disease that devastated sugar beet crops. The shuttered plant meant the loss of hundreds of jobs. Immigrants from the Dust Bowl were arriving in the Central Valley by the thousands to provide stiff competition for low-skill agricultural jobs. The result was a drop in pay for locals who competed for the same type of work. Manteca’s economic future MANTECA CENTENNIAL

brightened in 1931 when disease resistant seeds developed by Spreckels and the Department of Agriculture were distributed to farmers. The plant resumed limited operations that year. By 1933, the Manteca plant was again producing commercial sugar. Sugar beet production increased steadily until 1939 when Manteca farmers produced the largest crop ever. Spreckels Sugar enjoyed a 140-day run with 250,997 tons of beets sliced and 715,768 bags of sugar pro-



duced. Everything, though, wasn’t sweet at Spreckels. In 1936, more than 300 workers voted to unionize for better wages and benefits. Carl Boinditz, a 49-year-old machinist, was selected as the first president of Sugar Operators Union Local No. 20733 affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. The organizing process occurred with little trouble unlike in nearby Tracy where violence flared at the Holly Sugar plant. SEE 1930, PAGE 9

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1940s: War brings major change to Manteca By DENN I S WYAT T

Manteca after completing his World War II service with the Army Security Intelligence Corps. An attorney by training, McFall opened a law office and was elected to the Manteca City Council and then the mayor’s post in the 1940s. McFall eventually went on to gain election to the California Assembly in 1951 and then Congress where he rose through the ranks to the second most powerful Democrat as then Speaker Tip O’Neil’s floor whip in 1971. Another example was George Murphy Jr. who had Since survived the attack 1936 on Pearl Harbor. In April 1946, he purchased Louis Meyer’s share in the Manteca Bulletin and became the editor. Meyer and Murphy’s father George Sr. had purchased the paper in 1923.

Th e Bu lletin

World War II was a defining moment in Manteca’s history. Not only did dozens of young men cut short high school educations or abandon farms jobs to enlist in the days following Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, but the economic struggles on the home front plus the impact of returning waves of soldiers laid the ground work for the next 20 years of the community’s growth. The men at war were first and foremost on Manteca residents’ minds. Manteca High Principal Joe Bisig regularly penned long letters to local servicemen. Their replies were shared with other residents in the pages of the Manteca Bulletin. The war brought an end to Manteca’s reputation as a major tomato growing region due to acute labor shortages. It also forced the suspension of Spreckels operations and farmers were forced to cutback drastically on their acreage. Spreckels closed the Manteca plant. The machine shop was converted to war production for the Navy while the warehouses were used for storage of naval supplies. Spreckels tried to coax growers to plant acreages in 1943 by offering to import laborers from Mexico and ordering 100 Dixie beet choppers to ease the need for labor. Some farmers accepted the offers but most were fearful of the depressed sugar prices and the real fear they may not have the labor to harvest the crops which would mean financial ruin. It wasn’t until 1946 the Spreckels was able to reopen. Within two years, the plant was reaching its capacity of

1,850 tons of sugar beets a day. Spreckels staged a company-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Salinas refinery. Production in Manteca hit 243,948 tons in 1948 producing wages of $665,222 for the year and payments to South County farmers of $3.4 million. Spreckels’ 50-year celebration for Salinas was also a big event in Manteca. A number of sugar cubes in jars placed around Manteca gave those correctly guessing the number a chance to win a year’s supply of free candy. Baking contest and plant tours were also part of the hub-bub. But perhaps the most memorable event was Spreckels’ decision to pay its Manteca employees in $2 bills to demonstrate how much revenue Spreckels’ contributed to the Manteca economy. Merchants were literally inundated with the $2 bills driving home the point Manteca was extremely reliant on Spreckels’ economic vitality. Returning soldiers triggered a small population boom as marriage, home sales and child births soared almost overnight. A victorious America was on the march. Manteca was no different. Returning soldiers took up leadership positions in the community. Among them was John McFall whose father Hope McFall died in battle in World War I before he was born. McFall returned to


The senior Murphy sold his half interest to James Summers in 1947. In 1949, Murphy Jr. bought out Summers to become the sole owner There was plenty of news for Murphy to cover. The 10-room, two-story brick Yosemite School burned in a fire on Aug. 7, 1948. School trustees secured  Manteca at space throughout the American Legion, MRPS and FESM halls so classes could be conducted that fall. It was the same year the South San Joaquin Irrigation District in conjunction with Oakdale Irrigation District secured $52 million to build the Tri-Dam Project on the Stanislaus River after Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to a contract to buy the power from the three dams until 2005.

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FROM PAGE 6 Manteca Canning Company also had its share of labor problems. The cannery, located at Oak and Vine streets where the brick winery warehouse still stands today, had let houses southeast of its plant that had been built in the 1920s for migrant workers fall into disrepair. During the 1930s after years of neglect, the shanties became known as Manteca’s own Hoovertown. Labor organizers built on the plight of the migrant workers, low wages and long hours in a bid to form unions. Labor strife was common place up and down the Central Valley. Manteca was no exception. Farmers felt the “radicals and communists” of the movement should be stopped at any cost. Farmers had their trucks overturned. Several South County farmers were injured in the most violent flare-up in the county at Stockton Food Products when they tried to cross the picket lines to take their crops in to be processed. Eventually, many South County farmers were deputized by Sheriff Harvey Odell to keep the peace. The strike was finally settled on April 9, 1937, when the labor movement agreed to leave the canneries. The American Federation of Labor eventually ended up representing most cannery workers, including those in Manteca, after the strike ended. Manteca got its first taste of a major flood of the 20th century in February of 1930. Levees failed near River Junction 10 miles southwest of Manteca near the Airport Way bridge where the 1997 floods occurred. Boats were used to aid marooned families along the river while cattle were driven to higher ground near Manteca.

Most roads were closed with the only access to Stockton being via French Camp Road. The Paradise Cut levee broke on Stewart Tract on March 17 of that year. It closed Highway 50 and made travel to the Bay Area impossible unless it was by boat. The water level at Mossdale measured at 20.45 feet, the highest ever recorded. Barricades at Main Street and Yosemite Avenue directed traffic to Stockton. Fires also were a major concern in the 1930s with one of the biggest in Manteca history happening on June 1, 1939 when flames engulfed the Diamond Match Lumber Yard on South Main Street and then spread to a nearby Southern Pacific packaging shed and threatened the downtown district. The blaze brought SP railroad tank cars full of water. Manteca volunteers Jack Orr and John T. Smith were commended for bravery after they risked injury by rescuing a Manteca Rural engine which almost become engulfed in flames. Volunteers stayed on the scene all night to contain the blaze. Damages hit $30,000. The decade also saw the fire department almost lose the 1927 American LaFrance engine currently on display at the Manteca Historical Society museum. The department in June of 1934 found itself unable to make the last payment of $252.72 on the LaFrance engine. A committee went to San Jose and arranged an extension with the mortgage holder. Volunteers and their wives began a furious round of dances, bake sales and a door to door solicitation enabling them to clear the account by the Aug. 9 deadline. Community cooperation also led to the formation of the Manteca Library Association in 1939 that secured funds to keep the library open 66 hours a week in subsequent years. MANTECA CENTENNIAL

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1950s: Major flood mars quiet decade By DENN I S WYAT T

way 120 crossed at what is now the corner of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street. The “Sleepy” and “tranquil” are Highway 99 freeway would adjectives historians could use take the traffic load off Main in looking back on the 1950s Street as 1960 neared. in Manteca. The decade gave little It wasn’t a time of earth- inkling of what was about to shattering events in the course happen in Manteca during the of Manteca’s growth. 1960s but there were signs of It was a time when Man- change on the horizon. teca High and its sports teams Two of the worst disasters in served as the focal point of Manteca history — the flood the community. Cruising was of the winter of 1950-51 and NEW 2016 gaining in popularity and a RAM fire that 1500 devastated a large Manteca was viewed as a ID#277096 chunk of the central district in small San Joaquin Valley farm 1952 — occurred during the 20% town by those OFF passing through decade. from San Francisco en route The 1950-51 disaster made to Yosemite Valley or travel- the January 1997 floods that MSRP $43,160 ing REBATE Highway 99 that served covered 70 square miles south -$8,632 as the main route connecting of Manteca, damaged 700 Los Angeles and the rest of the homes and racked up $100 Pacific Coast states. million in losses AFTER pale in comA four-way stop with a sus- parison. REBATE pended red blinking light at Unusually severe storms the start of the decade marked from Nov. 13 to Dec. 8 caused where Highway 99 and High- extensive flooding from the NEW 2016 RAM 2500

Durham Ferry/Airport Way changes in Manteca. Bridge on the San Joaquin A bond to build the first River to Bowman Road in phase of today’s existing French Camp. library for $75,000 was placed Prime farmland was under on the ballot thanks to a comwater for weeks. mittee headed by Dr. Lloyd By January 1951, levees had Henry whose dental practice broken on both sides of both was on Sycamore Avenue next the Stanislaus and San Joaquin to the rose garden his widow rivers. Highway 50 west of maintained for years. The Mossdale was closed for sev- first ballot measure failed in eral weeks after flood waters April 1958 by four votes. A washed away bridges. Flood repeat election in November waters came within four miles 1958 went down by 60 votes. NEW 2016The DODGE CHARGER R/T of downtown Manteca. The reason for the defeat was ID#228733 county hospital was threat- attributed to the failure to 20% ened. select a site. More thanOFF 2,000 people had Henry’s committee then been evacuated between Moss- engaged in an extensive search dale and Camp. The for a site. Actual passage of MSRP French $36,580 same widespread flood the bond measure didn’t occur REBATE -$7,316 today would force the displacement until April 1960 and that only of over 30,000 people. happened when the last three Stockton also suffered major absentee ballots were counted AFTER flooding with 125 blocks cov- to provide a razorREBATE thin margin ered in water for up to eight of two votes favoring the issudays with the water reaching a ance of the bonds. height of six feet in spots. The completion of St. Paul’s NEW 2016 DODGE JOURNEY What was then Manteca’s ID#246998 United Methodist Church at ID#249026 largest fire in history started North Street and Powers Ave12% in the back20% of the Courtesy nue in 1954 touched off a OFF OFF11, 1952 and building boom of churches. Market on Dec. quickly spread to the furni- Among them was St. AnthoMSRP $52,445 MSRP next door. $29,530 ture store The fire ny’s. It’s first phase was to REBATE -$6,293 REBATE -$5,906 Celebrating 60+ Years was first spotted by Dr. Rob- build a four-classroom school 1957-2018 ert Winters at the southwest on the parish property on corner of Center and Main North Street. It was completed AFTER streets. Winters ran two blocks in 1955 but couldAFTER not open due to lack of a teaching staff. It REBATE to report it. REBATE The grocery store, barber was decided in August of that shop, Sadie’s Beauty Shop and year to lease the property to store sustained the RAM Manteca 1500 school district for NEW 2015 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE furniture NEWover 2016 Name: CABRAL CHRYSLER MOTORS; Width: $200,000 in damages or the ID#310266 additional classroom space. LIMITED equivalent of almost $1.5 milFinally, the St. Anthony’s 4.3 in; Depth: 4.9 in;4X4 Color: Black; Ad NumID#165512 lion in 2018 dollars. School opened the following 20% ber:20% 85129_1 The 1950s also saw upheaval year with the Sisters of the OFF OFF in the fire department when the Precious Blood instructing. VOTED BEST NEW & USED City Council removed Chief The South San Joaquin IrriMSRP $44,790 MSRP $48,650 2018 2017 2016 AUTO DEALERSHIP Sam Hanna after 22 years gation District’s $52 million REBATE -$7,791 REBATE -$9,730 when he refused to resign to joint undertaking with OakThank You Manteca make way for the department’s dale Irrigation District on the AFTER first full-time fire chief. Stanislaus River AFTER — the Trifor making us your # Dealer! dedicated REBATE Hanna contended the need Dam Project — was REBATE for a full-time fire chief was on June 15, 1957. unfounded. The council disAttending dignitaries form agreed and in 1958, fired Sacramento noted the most Hanna and took full charge of remarkable thing about the the once all-volunteer depart- project is that it was funded • RAM • FIAT ment. entirely by SSJID and OID The 1950s also saw the without any aid from the fedstart of emission a number of positive Prices plus government taxes, finance charges, dealer document preparation and any testing charge. Subject to prioreral sale. government. Sale ends 10-31-2016. Th e Bu lletin





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1960s: Manteca’s fabled creamery closes By DENN I S WYAT T

teca.” Protesting residents could not convince the railroad to reprint a new batch of tickets so “Manteca” remained. The original skimming station converted to a partial retail operation in 1914 with a grand opening of Sept. 20 that year that offered Manteca residents free ice cream. The creamery was a popular fountain serving honestto-goodness ice cream that was popular with locals and tourists alike. The end of the era came in December of 1965. The closing of the Creamery was one of the few negative developments in Manteca’s economy during the 1960s. The Spreckels Sugar refinery underwent a major expansion in 1976 increasing daily processing capacity from 1,850 tons to 4,200 tons a year. The lime kiln that was built south of the main sugar plant was the largest in the world at the time. The Mediterranean-style main Post Office dedicated on March 25, 1939 amid words that it would “last for generations” only survived one just before it was enlarged. The Maple Avenue office was emptied in 1966 and temporary quarters were leased on North Main Street.

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The dawn of the 1960s brought a new era of prosperity to California. Manteca was no different. Spreckels Sugar was expanding. New churches were under construction. The Maple Avenue post office was expanded. Work on the new library was finished. There were other changes as well. The Creamery — which was the first seed planted to create Manteca — was closed in December 1965 and razed the following year for a service station on business Highway 120/Yosemite Avenue. The creamery was built in 1896 adjacent to the railroad tracks where Regal Signs now stands. It was the first business

in Cowell Station and was probably responsible for the name “Manteca” getting attached to the emerging South County community. A map in 1895 showed today’s Manteca as Cowell Station. The only problem was another railroad stop down the line was known as Cowell Station as well. Residents suggested the Spanish adaptation of the word “monteca” which meant Spanish for cream. When tickets arrived from the railroad a printer’s error had the name spelled “Man-

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P.O. Box 4473 Manteca, • CA 95337

The biggest li�le club in Manteca! MANTECA CENTENNIAL

Ten thousand feet were added including 3,000 square feet in the basement. Dedication ceremonies were held in November 1967. The successful library election in 1959 meant the city could break ground on the West Center branch library structure in 1961. The new library was dedicated on Jan. 13, 1962. Tragedy struck the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church parish on Sept. 12, 1960 when the 43-year-old building on East Yosemite Avenue burned. Masses were held at the new St. Anthony’s School on North Street and in the MRPS Hall and FESM Hall while the new church was built on North Street. A large portion of the community turned out to watch a helicopter on Nov. 24, 1961 placed the 600-pound cross atop the church. It couldn’t be a Manteca decade without a flood. The flood of the 1960s struck in June when snowmelt from the Sierra caused the San Joaquin River to overflow near the end of Airport Way. The Manteca’s Sportsmen’s Club was under almost six feet of water. Livestock was moved to higher ground and a few scattered families were evacuated. Damage, however, was kept at a minimum. • Phone: (209) 239-6150



1970s: 120 Bypass gets green light DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

Manteca’s move away from a heavy dependence on agriculture and government jobs started in the 1970s. Spreckels Sugar was the biggest non-government employer when the decade started with 350 full-time and part-time jobs. The city had less than 10,000 residents. Ten years later, Indy Electronics displaced Spreckels as the top employer as almost 800 workers were working in the electronics plant. Indy was part of the Manteca Industrial Park that sprouted in former fields along South Main Street. The city’s population at the close of the 1970s was pushing 21,000. The die had been cast for Manteca’s transformation into a bedroom community for Bay Area workers fleeing pricey housing markets in San Jose, San Francisco and other areas west of the Altamont Pass. The 1970s was a time of visionary thinking by civic leaders. The focus was on the future and how best to prepare for it. The Manteca Industrial Park was a joint effort of the city and civic leaders such as Ted Poulos and George Dadasovich who formed an authority to purchase the land and offer sites complete with streets, water and sewer to lure businesses such as Dana

Corporation and Indy Electronics to Manteca. The Civic Center at 1001 W. Center St. broke ground. Center Street was extended from Walnut Avenue to Union Road. The city added the last nine holes to the golf course. Northgate Park was developed. West Manteca got its first major shopping center when Kmart, SaveMart and Thrifty’s all signed on as major tenants for the retail complex at Union Road and Yosemite Avenue that has since been remodeled as the Manteca Marketplace. But perhaps the single most defining event of the 1970s was the aggressive community campaign to lobby the California Legislature and the California Transportation Commission to build the Highway 120 Bypass. Traffic from Friday afternoons through Sunday night in Manteca was horrific. Traffic backed up for miles as Bay Area residents trekked to the Sierra and then returned at the close of the weekend clogging up Yosemite Avenue which doubled as the old Highway 120 route. Residents of the time reported taking upwards of 10 minutes to cross Yosemite Avenue. Civic leaders and the Manteca City Council mobilized. They plotted a strategy to enlist the Bay Area travelers to pressure the state. Volunteers passed out leaf-

lets to motorists backed up at the Yosemite Avenue and Main Street traffic signal. They appeared on radio talk shows in the Bay Area and enlisted the help of newspapers in San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland and elsewhere to editorialize the need to build a Manteca bypass. When the CTC agreed to state funding, little did anyone know that the fight had just begun. The Caltrans design for the original bypass was a route that alternated over a five-mile stretch from four lanes to three lanes to two lanes and back to three lanes. The result were deadly headon crashes from unsafe passing maneuvers that quickly earned the Manteca Bypass the dubious title of “Blood Alley.” During a period of several months, the bypass was averaging a fatality a week.

Local leaders lobbied the state extensively to secure barriers down the center of the bypass to separate traffic and virtually eliminate head-on collisions. Downtown Manteca was at its pinnacle. Clothing stores were the norm. There were two shoe stores. Storefront vacancies were rare. The biggest controversy downtown aside from the traffic was the city enforcement of its sign code. The debate reached a crescendo when Kentucky Fried Chicken wanted to build its restaurant in the 300 block of West Yosemite complete with its 1970s trademark sign featuring a rotating bucket of chicken. The restaurant ended up being built with the rotating chicken bucket sign.

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church We are Grateful to Our Community


Saturday: 5pm & 7pm (Spanish) Sunday: 7am, 8:45am, 10:45am, 12:30pm (Spanish), 6pm (Teen Mass)

Name: Law Office of Eddie Torres; Width: 4.3 in; Depth: 2.4 in; Color: Black; Ad Number:

525 E. North St., Manteca, CA 95336 (209) 823-7197 MANTECA CENTENNIAL












1st President - J. M. Kelsey SJC Treasurer & Tax Collector, Officer of Union Copper Mining Company




Only two years after the Civil War, Bank of Stockton opens its doors for business. Shared space with the Union Copper Mining Company and rent was a mere $41 per month

Bank of Stockton outgrew its first location. Board voted to rent the McKee Building for a mere $220 per month, minus $50 for subletting the basement





2nd President Major landowner, la and brought 1st Sta

1917 1909

5th President - Eugene L. Wilhoit He was instrumental in bringing College of the Pacific (now University of the Pacific) to Stockton and was on Pacific’s Board of Regents

4th President - R.E. Wilhoit He was a County Supervisor, Recorder, City Council President and Board of Education President


The Bank’s Headquarters, as it stands today at Miner and San Joaquin Streets, was constructed in 1960 under the direction of R. L. Eberhardt

Bank President R. L. Eberhardt (center, holding shovel), and his son, Robert M. Eberhardt (far left, closest to camera), at the groundbreaking of the Headquarters Office on the corner of Miner Avenue and San Joaquin Streets in Stockton


Brothers Robert M. Eberhardt and Douglass M. Eberhardt at the Carson Oaks Ground breaking on July 12, 1969 on the corner of Ben Holt and Pacific Avenue in Stockton

The first Branch for Bank of Stockton was Carson Oaks on Ben Holt Drive in North Stockton shown at its Grand Opening in 1970


The Quail Lakes Branch was built to help service the growing needs of northwest Stockton


Bank opens new branch in Oakdale and acquires Modesto and Turlock Commerce Bank, adding locations in Modesto and Turlock

2006 1994

Bank of S


Withstanding t

Bank of Stockton grows with opening of a newly built branch in Elk Grove

8th President - Douglass M. Eberhardt 1994 Douglass M. Eberhardt elected 8th President following the passing of his brother, Bob. Doug continues the bank’s tradition of strength, service and philanthropy. His drive for service innovation marks his era of leadership, making Bank of Stockton a leader in offering the latest technologies that continue to revolutionize the way people bank


Bank consolidates Elk Gr Commerce Bank names in Bank celebrates 150th Birth cities in 9 counties. $2.9 Billio “Withstand th









- L. U. Shippee arge farming interests ate Fair to Stockton











3rd President - Fred M. West He was a County Treasurer, helped bring the Santa Fe and Western Pacific Railroads to Stockton, and was the first President of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce

R.E. Wilhoit and Sons' office on Main Street in Stockton - circa 1890

Bank of Stockton opens 3rd location, built on the corner of Main and San Joaquin Streets, known as “Stockton’s First Skyscraper”

1949 6th President - R.L. Eberhardt Accountant with Irvine & Muir Lumber Co., Asst. Cashier with Bank of Willits, and State Banking Dept. Examiner before coming to Bank of Stockton. On Port Commission, County Fair Board, President of California Bankers Association, on Board of Regents at UOP

7th President - R.M. (Bob) Eberhardt 1963 State Banking Dept. Examiner before coming to Bank of

Stockton. He was the President of the Independent Bankers Association of Northern California, Regent at UOP, was the youngest President of the California Bankers’ Association and the Chair of the Bankers’ Responsible Government Committee.

1980 1980 saw the Bank expand into the surrounding communities of Lodi, Tracy, Manteca and Pine Grove. ATMs installed at Bank of Stockton locations

Bank of Stockton Established 1867

Withstanding the Test of Time


hed 1867



the Test of Time


rove, Modesto and Turlock nto Bank of Stockton name. hday, with 19 branches in 16 on in Assets and continuing to e Test of Time”

9th President - Douglass M. Eberhardt II 2015 Douglass M. Eberhardt II elected 9th President, with over three decades working alongside his father, Doug Sr., continuing the tradition of strong leadership and bank values

Bank introduces its own Mobile App with mobile deposit


Bank of Stockton is the first community bank west of the Mississippi to launch a bank website and offer internet banking


Continued growth with the newly built Oakdale branch, and the purchase of branches in Napa, Brentwood and Fairfield

1980s: Battles shape Manteca’s growth By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

The Recall. The 3.9 Percent Growth Cap. Bay Area Transplants. Yellow Freight. The 1980s was the era of major issues in Manteca where clashes became proper nouns due to the intensity of the debates. It started with a bitter recall of three council members who terminated a popular longtime police chief in 1983 and ended with political graffiti as messages “BATS go home” were scrawled on an underpass and makeshift signs popped up along roadsides. It wasn’t a pleasant time as Manteca started completing a painful transition from Central Valley farm town to “bedroom community.” The dismissal of Police Chief

Leonard Taylor for personnel reasons triggered a firestorm of backlash. In the end, Manteca’s first woman mayor and firstdirectly elected mayor Trena Kelley who had ridden a strong popular vote into office, was recalled along with Bob Davis and Rick Wentworth. The fallout from the recall continued unabated in Manteca politics for almost a decade. There were still people 25 years later who traced clashes and political alliances back to the cantankerous 1982 recall. The three targets of the wrath didn’t hang their heads. They continued on courses of community services and business success that has successfully made the recall more of a footnote in their personal histories than a defining event. Davis, who proudly said “Maan-tee-kaaaa!” along with a stand-in for his wife Shirley in


numerous TV commercials promoting Manteca Trailer, built one of the most successful RV businesses in the state. Davis’ business savvy and marketing expertise was so overwhelming that Manteca became forever embedded in the minds of many as the undisputed RV sales capital of Northern California. Kelley continued her service to the youth and elderly. She built a solid reputation as an advocate for troubled youth through her work in traditional community endeavors and as a court appointee to serve as an ombudsman for the county’s juvenile justice system. Kelley’s 1980 election as mayor underscored political activism that included Manteca becoming one of the nation’s first cities to outlaw cigarette vending machines to keep smokes out of the hands of children. Wentworth didn’t let the recall stop him. He went on to gain election as the San Joaquin County Superintendent of Public Schools. Wentworth built county support programs for alternative schools and worked to marry public schools with the private sector for job training opportunities that has earned praise up and down the state. The rapid growth caused by Bay Area workers squeezed out of the housing market west of the Altamont Pass sent growth soaring in Manteca. Entire subdivisions such as Mayors Park on the southwest corner of Louise Avenue and Union Road went up literally in a matter of months. Growth was in the double digits. The result was a showdown between pro-growth forces and anti-growth forces, many of whom blamed Manteca’s woes on newcomers from west of the Altamont that they dubbed “Bay Area Transplants” or BATS for short. The “blame the BATS” crowd was small but vocal. It was from the battleground 16


over Manteca’s future that the compromise 3.9 percent growth cap was adopted in 1985. Some wanted rates a slow as one percent and others wanted a rate approaching 10 percent. In the end, 3.9 percent was adopted and sewer allocations were used to ration building permits. But after the explosive growth of the early 1980s, the pace slackened. The 3.9 percent cap was almost reached for the first time in 2000 as home building hit 650 units. The 3.9 percent growth cap set the stage for a series of planning decisions that included going south of the Highway 120 Bypass to annex additional land. City adopts plan for geocentric growth The “right to farm” ordinance was adopted and a series of regulations were put into place designed to direct growth instead of just letting it brazenly consume farmland. The concept of “geocentric growth” was pushed and leapfrogging development discouraged. The growth cap fight gave birth to community activists who often ended up having a bigger impact than some of the politicians they challenged. Mike Barkley is one example. He’s was credited with leading the charge for storm system improvements and setting the tone for the city’s aggressive graffiti abatement efforts. He would often drive around Manteca in his VW Rabbit pick-up truck loaded with paint cans to personally abate graffiti. Barkley was of the strong belief graffiti is a cancer that triggers economic decay. The growth debate gave strength to the Manteca Rural Committee headed by an activist whose name was sometimes more recognizable that elected officials. Georgianna Reichelt organized those questioning SEE 1980, PAGE 18


The first grammar school built in Manteca proper that wasn’t located in rented space or temporary buildings was the Yosemite School that was completed in December of 1914 at a cost of $17,500 including the purchase of three acres. The twostory, 10-room school was gutted by fire on Aug. 7, 1948. The replacement school — also known as Yosemite School — was built in 1950 at a cost of $135,000. Today it houses the Manteca Community Day School. The top photo shows the student body posing for a photo in 1915.

M.R.P.S Social Hall

The Manteca-Ripon Pentecost Society, organized in 1919, congratulates the City of Manteca on its Centennial Celebration. We look forward to our own 100 year celebration in 2019. 133 N. Grant Ave., Manteca, CA 95336





FROM PAGE 5 the refined product back to San Francisco. The Manteca Board of Trade lobbied extensively and even offered to provide 449 acres for the sugar plant. The impact of Spreckels’ decision can’t be overstated as to the impact it had on Manteca. The Manteca district had 371 residents in 1915. After Spreckels announced its decision to build in Manteca, the community’s population jumped to 567. By the time the plant opened in 1918 after delays caused by World War I, more than 300 new families had settled in the Manteca area. The town was growing and prospering as South County trade center thanks to the dual impact of irrigated fields and Spreckels Sugar. The actual



Manteca’s growth policies and went toe-to-toe with city leaders almost on a daily basis. The fight over Yellow Freight virtually flipped the community around 180 degrees. Progrowth people were arguing the decision to locate a Yellow Freight terminal near the southeast corner of the Main Street and Highway 120 interchange was bad planning. Many who had worked relentlessly toward slowing down growth were strident backers of the project. Home prices hit record $135,000 The council tried to steer Yellow Freight to the Airport Way industrial corridor. Yellow Freight said no, dropped Manteca and headed for Tracy. As a result, “Yellow Freight” became part of the political vernacular and was used whenever someone wanted to argue Manteca’s leaders were chasing away other jobs. Growth reached a crescendo in 1989. Many resale homes 18


townsite had 200 residents in 1918. Talk of incorporation started. By June 8, 1918 after a successful election on May 28, 1918 Manteca was incorporated as a city. The first year was spent getting sewer bonds passed, repairing and extending streets, shoring up the volunteer fire department, property owners were fined for not clearing their lots of weeds, a marshal and deputy marshal were hired and ordinances governing citizens’ behavior were adopted. In just one decade, Manteca was transformed from a wide spot on the rail line into a new city bracing looking forward to a prosperous future while struggling to deal with growth issues. It wouldn’t have happened if men didn’t have the vision of harnessing the Stanislaus River to bring irrigation water to the Manteca district.

were selling within days of going on the market. Offers on homes were made on the hood of agents’ vehicles just seconds after a prospective buyer first saw the home even though they never had inspected the inside of listings. Housing prices soared nearly $20,000 in less than 30 months as the median prices of resale homes shot through the roof to a record-high $135,000. Manteca was flying high. The euphoria ended with a jolt. More precisely it started a downward plunge in early October of 1989 when the Loma Prieta Earthquake laid waste to a large chunk of the Bay Area, cracked foundations and patios in Manteca and sloshed water out of swimming pools throughout the Family City. By the time the final days of 1989 were nearing, Manteca and the rest of Northern California had started a downward plunge into what at the time was the roughest economic downturn since the Depression.

1990s: Trying to drop bedroom status By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

Ten thousand people were on hand to witness the event that historians will probably look back on as when the seeds were planted for the dawn of the 21st century in Manteca. For over three decades, the four 15-story sugar silos identified Manteca to millions of travelers on Highway 99 and Highway 120. Spreckels Sugar and Manteca literally grew up together with the decision by the German-born sugar magnate Claus Spreckels to locate a sugar refinery in Manteca coinciding with the city’s incorporation in 1918. The once almighty Spreckels Sugar empire that helped build San Francisco, the Hawaiian economy, the port of San Diego and Manteca ceased to exist in 1997. The sugar company was diversified into other products such as elevators and had moved its corporate headquarters from the Bay Area to North Carolina. Sugar prices were dropping. But still, it came as a surprise on January 9, 1996 when Spreckels Sugar told its 220 employees at Manteca the firm was selling its sugar operations to Holly Sugar. The close proximity of the more modern Holly Sugar plant in Tracy and its location away from urban encroachment was the death knell for Spreckels Sugar’s Manteca plant. Manteca civic leaders promised to work to prevent the shuttered factory from becoming blighted. They didn’t have to wait for long. The development firm of Atherton-Kirk came along, bought the property and unveiled plans for a 362-acre industrial, business, commercial and residential project known as Spreckels Park. The demolition of the silos in July of 1997 drew 10,000 people, TV stations from up and down the Central Valley and

prompted the California Highway Patrol to close the nearby highways. It took just one push of a button and Manteca’s most imposing landmark went tumbling down. As the decade drew to a close, the 177-home Curran Grove neighborhood named after an early plant superintendent was almost 40 percent completed. Food-4-Less was a few weeks away from opening in the 9.4acre Spreckels Marketplace. Frito-Lay marked the firstyear anniversary of its distribution center in 1999. Work was almost done on a 267,000-square-foot spec building owned by Hunsaker of Orange County. Castellus — a major San Francisco real estate development firm — submitted plans for a 550,000-squarefoot food repackaging plant and plans to build an addition 1.5 million square feet. Home Depot inked a deal to start building a home improvement center in 2000. Chevron was building a gas station and chains such as Staples, International House of Pancakes and Applebee’s were contemplating locating in Spreckels Park. Altogether, Spreckels Park yield over 2,100 jobs when it reached build out or 10 times the number of full-time jobs lost when Spreckels Sugar closed. Spreckels’ closure came in the middle of a prolonged recession. Housing prices — the ultimate barometer — peaked with a resale median value of $135,000 in 1990 and descended downward until hitting bottom at $125,000 in 1996. Prices stayed in the trough until 1998 when the Bay Area boom and a rebounding Northern San Joaquin Valley economy brought the median price up to $138,500 at the decade’s end. The final year of the 1990s also marked a building boom. Nearly 600 housing permits were yanked in 1999 compared to the 190 to 250 that were issued annually in previous MANTECA CENTENNIAL

years. Commercial and industrial construction also was picking up with Dirksen Freight, Sunnyvalley Meats and Food-4-Less on the list. Decade’s worst disaster strikes in January 1997 The decade’s worst disaster also struck in the middle of the recession. The floods of January 1997 started with a gurgling sound on a levee on the Stanislaus River just a half mile east of the confluence with the San Joaquin River. Within three weeks, 11 levee breaks on the two rivers flooded 70 square miles, damaged 800 homes, caused $80 million in damage and forced the evacuation of 5,000 people between Manteca and Tracy. At the peak of the floods, emergency crews plugged the underpasses of McKinley Ave-

nue at the Highway 120 Bypass and Louise Avenue on Interstate 5 with dirt to convert the major freeways into emergency levees. The levees held and the floodwaters started retracting although the hardest hit area — Weatherbee Lake — was underwater for three months. It was there where Flo the Cow gave Manteca its 15 seconds of fame as CNN beamed to the word footage of the cow atop a roof surrounded by water. The 1990s also saw Manteca’s downtown start the transformation from a traditional retail center to a central district whose strength lies in specialty shops, services and “destinations” such as dining. The opening of Wal-Mart and the balance of the Mission Ridge Shopping Center in 1992 accelerated the decline of downtown as Manteca’s traditional SEE 1990, PAGE 21

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2000s: Affordable crisis to foreclosures By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

The first decade of the 21st century took Manteca from one of the least affordable areas in the country for housing to ground zero in the foreclosure crisis in two short years. At the historic peak of the existing housing market in 2006 the median price of a home closing escrow was $413,000. Housing prices were at 7.5 times the median household income making it one of the least affordable regions in the United States. Three years later the median price on existing homes sold in 2009 slipped to $178,000. That was less than 2.5 times the median household income — a mark that anything below constitutes an affordable housing market based on standards used by housing economists. As 2009 drew to a close, the median

selling price had rebounded somewhat to $184,900. The fall in prices also accelerated sales going from 365 closed deals among existing homes in 2006 to a record 1,211 in 2009. The face of the average buyer in Manteca went from well over 90 percent Bay Area families trying to find an affordable house to almost 100 percent Manteca and valley area residents. That’s when a record inventory of 651 homes was reached in September of 2007 and sales started picking up. Eventually it turned into an investor’s market with buyers paying cash undercutting qualified buyers with loans who were offering more. At one point Manteca — along with the rest of the Northern San Joaquin Valley region — led the trend in terms of housing auctions, landscaping being left to die, transients breaking into foreclosed homes

and disgruntled borrowers severely damaging homes prior to eviction. A number of them did everything from rip toilets out to smashing bath tubs. Among the worst example in Manteca was a departing family that threw all of their household goods, furniture, garbage, and belongings they didn’t want in the back yard swimming pool. Criminals took advantage of the situation to do everything from removing air conditioning units in broad daylight as no one — including the police — could determine who owned the homes since mortgages had been resold numerous times. Police for the longest time were powerless to arrest trespassers for that very reason. Dozens of homes had copper wiring pulled from walls and tubs and sinks smashed as transients searched for copper. Copper theft also impacted businesses in town ranging from roof top thefts of copper from air conditioning units, stripping copper from agricultural pumps that in turn triggered crop losses, to more than $250,000 of copper gutted from the former Alphatec building on Manteca Industrial Park Drive where one aggressive copper thief fell through a skylight to his death. Manteca eventually was able to turn the tide with what the national media described as one of the country’s toughest laws on the books against foreclosures. Banks were threatened with fines up to $1,000 a day capping out at $100,000 per home if they didn’t secure and keep property maintained. But while sales slowed down to a trickle in many parts of the country — the new affordability the foreclosure crisis triggered by zero down mortgages with adjustable rates and balloon payments as well as the so-called liar loans — sales were picking up in Manteca and nearby communities. Manteca also was able to pull off a miracle of sorts during the

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same time thanks in part of a decision to tweak the growth cap at the start of the decade to accommodate the 1,420home age-restricted Del Webb at Woodbridge community. For more than three years, Del Webb accounted for almost one in every three new homes built in Manteca. Manteca for the last three years of the decade led the Northern San Joaquin Valley in new home sales. In 2009, as an example, Manteca built and sold 304 new homes while at the same time there were 8 homes built in Modesto, 120 new homes built in Stockton, and six new homes built in Turlock. The housing crisis triggered budget problems for the City of Manteca and Manteca Unified School District. Both cut costs to keep expenses in line with revenue. The decade also saw four major investments in Manteca’s economy — The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley anchored by Bass Pro Shops, the Big League Dreams sports complex and indoor soccer arena, a the $120 million South San Joaquin Surface Water Treatment Plant that could allow Manteca to grow to 160,000 residents and the $52 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade. Manteca’s retail landscape changed almost as radically as the housing market did. At the dawn of the decade there wasn’t one Starbucks in Manteca. As the decade draws to a close Manteca has four Starbucks. Among other businesses that weren’t in Manteca at the start of the 21st century that were in Manteca in 2009 were JC Penney, Target, Best Buy, Costco, Kohl’s, Staples, Office Depot, Joann Fabrics, and Pet Smart to name a few. New major employers include Ford Motor Company’s distribution division, ADPS Package, Millards refrigeration Services, and Dryers Ice Cream.


TOP PHOTO: This view looking east on West Yosemite Avenue from Sycamore Avenue was taken in the late 1930s. The building on the left was the Valley Hotel that is today the fire damaged Sycamore Arms efficiency apartment complex. On the right side of the street in the distance is the marque of the El Rey Theatre. BOTTOM PHOTO: This view looking east in the early 1930s from the mid-block of the 200 block of West Yosemite shows the present-day Tipton’s Stationery & Gifts Store on the left — the longest continuous retrial business in Manteca that first opened in 1961 where the popular Scoop ice cream and newsstand was located — with the IOOF Hall (Manteca Bedquarters) further down on the same side of the street. The IOOF Hall was built in 1913 making it the oldest building commercial building in Manteca.



retail stronghold. Actually, the decline started in the 1970s with the building of a shopping center at Yosemite Avenue and Union Road. The drain continued as more and more big boxes and shopping malls were

Manteca Unified School District built its third comprehensive high school — Sierra High — during the decade and was anticipating breaking ground on its fourth high school in Weston Ranch in Stockton. Ironically, as the century drew to a close the very thing that gave Manteca life in the early days of the 1900s — train ser-

built in surrounding communities. The opening Wal-Mart and Mervyn’s actually helped Manteca start reversing the so-called “retail bleed.” In the final months of 1999, the fire-guttered El Rey that stood for more than two decades as an eyesore in downtown reopened as a 450-seat restaurant and brewing company. MANTECA CENTENNIAL



vice — was poised to open new horizons in the 21st century. The Altamont Commuter Express passenger rail service started rolling in 1998 out of the Lathrop-Manteca station building an even firmer bond between Manteca and the jobrich Silicon Valley and Pleasanton-Livermore communities west of the Altamont Pass.

SSJID & Manteca: A history of prosperity By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

The formation of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District did more than just bring needed water to convert 70,000 acres into productive farmland. It literally gave life to Manteca as well as the cities of Escalon and Ripon. At the dawn of the 20th century Manteca had several lots divided but only three or four homes. That all changed after May 11, 1909 when voters by a 396 to 67 margin embraced the formation of the SSJID as well as a $1,875,000 bond issue. Elected to the board on May 11, 1909 were C.M. Carlson, Fred H. Kincaid, B.A. Goodwin, W.J. Woodward and C.T. Wiggin. The formation of the district wasn’t the first attempt

to irrigate the dry, barren blow sand plains that originally encompassed much of today’s SSJID boundaries. The first known settlers in the area – the Mormons who came up from the San Francisco Bay on launches as far as a point near the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers tried to establish an irrigation system in 1846. Their settlement was wiped out the first winter when rain and snow melt sent the San Joaquin River spilling over its banks to create a swath of water estimated at six to eight miles wide. Joshua Cowell – the man who walked across the Sierra from Nevada’s Carson Valley and arrived here in 1863 where he established his farm in what is present-day central Manteca – attempted

to form a private water district in the 1880s. Cowell – known as the “Father of Manteca” – contracted to build nine miles of ditches to the center of what is today downtown Manteca. His brother Wright Cowell bought up water rights along the Stanislaus River. They went broke within a short time as farmers along the ditch refused to buy water as they did not see the value in irrigating the land. They – like many other farmers of that day and since 1852 – raised dry land crops such as wheat. Oftentimes the lack of supplemental water worked the soil out reducing yields substantially after a year or two. Next up on the list of attempts to irrigate farmland was the San Joaquin Land and Water Company that was formed in 1889. Their plan was to use the Cowell brothers’ ditch and to extend it to bring water from the Stanislaus River to Stockton to irrigate land throughout the county. They invested $170,000 to build a dam on the Stanislaus but that was abandoned when they had repeated partnership disagreements. The first system to actually bring water to the South County was established by the San Joaquin Water Company formed by H.W. Cowell and N.S. Harrold. They put in a series of ditches covering 47 miles from the Stanislaus near Knights Ferry to the center of Manteca in 1895. The main conveyance – the

We’re honored to be a part of this community for the last thirty years! MANTECA CENTENNIAL



Tulloch Ditch – was completed in 1905 and provided water to just 3,000 acres. Its impact was much bigger and set the stage for the formation of the SSJID as farmers saw how much higher the yields were from neighbors who had irrigated water. Alfalfa started to be grown and a major dairy industry grew up overnight to supply the growing market in the San Francisco Bay Area. The support that irrigation had at that point prompted F.A. West and Joshua Cowell to petition the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in March of 1909 for the formation of the SSJID. The Oakdale irrigation District was formed at the same time under the same state law. Each district owned half of the Tulloch Ditch. The two fledging irrigation districts met and decided to construct a dam and ditches down to a point near Escalon as a joint venture. The first bonds were sold on June 10, 1910. The $342,500 issuance sold for $10 a share. The site selected for the first dam was 2.5 miles above Knights Ferry on the Stanislaus. It was named for the president of the SSJID board at the time – Benjamin A. Goodwin. The 400-foot high Goodwin Dam was completed in December 1912. Virtually overnight, Manteca turned into a boomtown. Lots were selling for between $300 and $1,000 apiece – more than quadruple the value of prior years. By the time SSJID released its first water, the South County had grown from 3,000 to 15,000 residents as people from throughout the state and the West came to buy irrigated land to farm. SEE SSJID, PAGE 23


FROM PAGE 22 The dedication of Goodwin Dam on April 6, 1913 included Gov. Hiram Johnson opening the head gate before a crowd of 4,000. The dam completion was followed by the construction of 300 miles of ditches, flumes, and tunnels to bring the water to Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon. The first water released on Aug. 13, 1913 by the SSJID was on the E.N. Pierce Ranch on the southeast corner of Austin Road and East Highway 120 less than a quarter of a mile from the presentday SSJID headquarters. The first full year of irrigation in 1914 had water delivered at a rate of 35 minutes per acre about 30 days apart. The initial year there were 14,195 acres irrigated with the top three crops alfalfa (7,889 acres), vines (3,189 acres), and corn (1,154

acres). By the second year 24,210 acres were under irrigation with the top three corps alfalfa (11,549 acres), orchards, (3,100 acres) and vines (2,495 acres). The impact of the SSJID on farming and the South County’ prosperity can’t be overstated. In 1909 with dry land farming there were 15,539 acres in farm production. Delivering water to every 40 acres increased farm production to 51,095 acres. The next step was building a storage reservoir for in-district storage. Walter J. Woodward chose the site in 1916. Woodward Reservoir added 36,000 acre feet of storage. The SSJID leaders wanted to build one more dam as protection against flooding as well as a hedge against drought. The proposal was rejected. Then the drought of 1924 struck. Voters approved bonds the


second time around for the Melones Dam. Melones Dam was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1926 and added $700,000 in annual agricultural production after the first year it was completed. Melones Dam was credited with saving farmers in the SSJID several times over the next 20 years when drought periods devastated farm production in other parts of California. In the late 1930s, SSJID directors – in conjunction with Oakdale Irrigation District – made plans for three dams – Donnels, Beardsley, and Tulloch – along with three power houses and a seven-mile tunnel carved through solid rock. Nothing happened until after World War II when the TriDam Project actually started taking shape. Financing for the $52 million project was secured when Pacific Gas & Electric signed a contract with the two districts to buy electricity from the three dams through 2005.



The Tri-Dam Project gave the district three times the amount of water the original dams supplied and added 120 megawatts of power production. The project was dedicated on June 15, 1957 at Beardsley Dam. It was hailed as a remarkable project since it was completely financed by the SSJID and OID without any aid from either the state or federal governments. At the time it was completed, it was the largest irrigation project ever undertaken by a local district in the western United States. The Bureau of Reclamation built the 2.4 million acre-foot capacity New Melones Reservoir at the site of the original Melones Reservoir. Part of the agreement for the two districts giving up the dam site was to assure them of a set amount of water – 280,000 acre feet in a typical year – based on their historic superior water rights on the Stanislaus River.


This postcard of Manteca High using a photo taken in the 1950s shows the tower. The Manteca Union High School District was formed in a May 19, 1920 election, the first buildings of wood were in place by that fall, the campus with the tower completed in late 1922, and the tower and the rest of that 1922-built campus that was still remaining was torn down on Oct. 3, 1969.

Deep Roots Strong Branches

191 W North Street Manteca

Debbie Baglietto Branch Manager

396.1581 Oakdale • Escalon • Manteca • Modesto • Patterson Ripon • Sonora • Stockton • Tracy • Turlock MANTECA CENTENNIAL



Manteca area population doubles in six months By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

Manteca biggest growth spurt wasn’t in 1985 when 1,400 new homes bought by a tidal wave of Bay Area commuters prompted the establishment of the 3.9 percent annual growth cap tied to sewer allocations. The biggest year of growth was not driven by commuters but by farmers. It was 1917. People were being lured by the transformation that the South San Joaquin Irrigation District had made of the region. The district, founded in 1909, has actually started delivering irrigation water in 1913. It quickly changed what was once considered farmland ideal primarily for alfalfa and wheat into one of the most fertile and bountiful growing regions in California. The Christmas census in 1916 tabulated 567 residents living in the Manteca town site and in close proximity. Six months later, the population hit 1,250 as a great land rush of sorts was underway with farmland — depending upon its access to irrigation water — selling for $80 to $130 per acre. Advertisements boasted “no tract of land more than three miles from railroad.” By Sept. 15, 1917 the population had swelled to 1,250. It was pushing 1,300 people by Christmas 1917 to translate into an annual growth rate just under 130 percent. The growth, though, was primarily on farms although the town site itself would swell to 200 people by the time incorporation occurred in May of 1918. The hustle and bustle of 1917 brought complains to the Board of Trade — the predecessor to the City Council — that downtown congestion was a problem. The board hoped motorists would “enter a gentleman’s agreement and not park your machines in front of Rawleigh’s billiard parlor so the auto stages will have space.”

This photo taken in the early 1920s is taken looking west on Yosemite Avenue at Main Street. The IOOF Hall — the oldest building still standing in Manteca that was built in 1913 and now houses the Manteca Bedquarters — is on the right

It was pointed out at the time that downtown Manteca’s streets “at times were so congested that machines have to wait in order to pass between standing cars.” There were 120 homes built in the Manteca area in 1917 to shatter all previous records. And unlike in modern times when residential growth took place first and then commercial surge several years later, the two sectors grew simultaneously. There was 621 running feet of street frontage on Yosemite Avenue built in the first half of 1917 with town boosters noting, “it was all built in modern brick.” That nearly doubled the commercial space in Manteca. The 10 buildings cost $122,500. That’s $278,000 less than what just one median priced existing home is selling for today in Manteca. Several of those building are still standing today including the two-story Pezzoni & Wells Building that was built at a cost of $16,000 and now houses Tipton’s at West Yosemite and Maple avenues. The construction figure didn’t include the $2 million Spreckels Sugar factory or the $25,000 addition to the Manteca Cannery. For comparison, the Bass Pro Shops structure cost $20 million to build in 2008. MANTECA CENTENNIAL

The Manteca Tobacco Shop owned by Jimmie Brawley was the transit hub of the day. They offered 16 jitney trips each way daily to Modesto and Stockton on the Red Star Jitney Line. There wasn’t a car dealer in town, but Superior Motor Co.

of Stockton was advertising in the Manteca Enterprise a Saxon Six — a big touring car for five people — that “you will find the same careful and workman-like attention that is characteristic of the higher priced cars” for $995.

Proud to be part of the Manteca community since 1924




Creamery was sweet attraction By DENN I S WYAT T Th e Bu lletin

The Creamery was “the place” to stop in Manteca for generations of Bay Area travelers going to and from the Sierra on weekends. It was back in the days when Highway 120 ran through downtown Manteca on Yosemite Avenue crossing Highway 99 at a blinking red light on the currentday alignment of Main Street. From 1938 to 1948, the Creamery made as much as 1,500 gallons of ice cream per day to meet the weekend demand. It stood where a Mexican restaurant does today in a building that was Manteca’s original Kentucky Fried Chicken location prior to becoming Athen’s Burger the 200 block of West Yosemite Avenue. The nearby mural— “Cow-munity” — was chosen for the location due to

the key role the dairy industry played in helping Manteca grow. It was built in 1896 as a way for Manteca area dairy farmers to get their milk to the lucrative San Francisco market. The stop on the Southern Pacific tracks was initially called “Cowell Station” after Joshua Cowell. Cowell had walked over the Sierra from the Carson Valley arriving here in January of 1863 and bought the ranch that would eventually encompass almost all that is known today as central Manteca. In the truest sense, the Creamery is the one thing that got Manteca going as a town as it was the community’s first building except for scattered farms. The initial skimming station operated as a dairy cooperative where whole milk was separated was nothing more than an old railroad freight car. The milk that wasn’t shipped was sold at the back door to housewives

P.L. Fry & Son Funeral Home

This photo shows the Creamery that once stood in the 200 block of Yosemite Avenue in downtown Manteca.

although most not sent to the Bay Area went to farms where it fed hogs and calves. The advent of surface water from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District 109 years ago increased the alfalfa acreage each year at such a rapid pace that by 1920 dairies were the largest industry in the South County. There were 8,000 South County cows in 1923 in the South County producing 25,000 gallons of milk daily. Floyd Richards and Roy Olson in the 1930s purchased the Creamery. They constructed an ice cream parlor in the front of the building. It quickly became a favorite spot for families to gather during warm summer evenings. In 1938 the Creamery produced 395,000 pounds of butter that year and wrapped 1,800 pounds a day. The ice cream freezing room turned out 10 gallons every six minutes.

Ken Summers

Managing Partner Funeral Director FDR #1046 4th Generation


Proud To Have Served The Manteca Community For Over 86 Years!

World War II saw a sharp increase in butter to help supply the troops. The Creamery stopped butter production shortly after World War II ended but continued to make ice cream. “Maneto Brand” was adopted as the Creamery’s trade name on such products ice cream, home-made syrups, buttermilk and butter. Ice cream flavors varied with the seasonal availability of fruits, berries and nuts. The one thing that was consistent was the use of heavy cream that provides a smooth 14 percent fat content. For decades the Creamery was also a favorite after-school hang-out for Manteca High students. The Creamery closed its doors in December of 1965. It was torn down early the next year to make way for a gas station and then eventually a KFC restaurant.


Serving Manteca Since 1984



1192 W. Louise Ave. • Manteca Corner of Louise Ave. & Union Rd.


209-239-1242 290 N. Union Rd., Manteca, CA 95336 # FD637 • MANTECA CENTENNIAL

Pizza outside the box & just around the corner! 26


Celebrating Manteca’s

100 year Birthday! th

VINNY BHAN AND THE COURTYARD WE HAVE SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE The Chocolate Factory at the corner of Lincoln and Yosemite avenues in Manteca is a popular stop for area residents and especially for the students of nearby Manteca High School with discounted student menus at the adjoining deli offering “all American” sandwiches, smoothies, lattes, coffee, tea and chai tea in addition to ice cream. A 20X40 foot courtyard serves as a perfect location to sit and enjoy the foods from the sidewalk deli.

303 E. Yosemite Ave Manteca Ph: 209-823-6500

Vinny Bhan and his wife Anne operate the trio of shops including her Fashion Health Care Apparel Uniform Shop for the past 22 years. Jayne Pamigada has been the manager of the Chocolate Factory since its inception. The Chocolate Factory was added some 11 years ago with the candies all products of Guittard and open Monday through Saturday from 11 to 6 with the most popular chocolate being the caramel-dipped apples among countless chocolates of every description to be found in the shop.

Ph: 209-823-3888

Ph: 209-239-2254










BIRTHDAY Manteca !

MANTECA 1890 Daniels Street

Profile for Manteca Bulletin

Manteca Centennial 2018  

Manteca Centennial 2018