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Modesto, California

City of Modesto

Modesto Arch, including the city motto
Official seal of Modesto
Motto: Water Wealth Contentment Health[1]
Location in Stanislaus County and the state of California
Location in Stanislaus County and the state of California
Modesto is located in USA
Location in the United States
Country  United States of America
State  California


Region San Joaquin Valley
Founded November 8, 1870
Incorporated August 6, 1884[2]
 • Type Council-manager[3]
 • Mayor Garrad Marsh[4]
 • City manager Jim Holgersson[5]
 • City 37.092 sq mi (96.069 km2)
 • Land 36.867 sq mi (95.486 km2)
 • Water 0.225 sq mi (0.583 km2)  0.61%
 • Metro 1,515 sq mi (3,920 km2)
Elevation[7] 89 ft (27 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)[6]
 • City 201,165
 • Estimate (2013)[8] 204,933
 • Rank 1st in Stanislaus County
18th in California
 • Density 5,400/sq mi (2,100/km2)
 • Metro 514,453
 • Metro density 340/sq mi (130/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes[9] 95350–95358, 95397
Area code 209
GNIS IDs[7][10] 277609, 2411130
FIPS code[7][10] 06-48354
Website .com.modestogovwww

Modesto [11] (Spanish for "modest"),[12] officially being the City of Modesto, is the county seat and largest city of Stanislaus County, California, United States. With a population of approximately 201,165 at the 2010 census, Modesto ranks as the 18th largest city in the state of California. The Modesto Census County Division, which includes the cities of Ceres and Riverbank, has a population of 312,842 as of 2010.[13]

Modesto is located in the Central Valley, 90 miles (140 km) north of Fresno, 40 miles (64 km) north of Merced, California, 92 miles (148 km) east of San Francisco, 68 miles (109 km) south of the state capital of Sacramento, 66 miles (106 km) west of Yosemite National Park, and 24 miles (39 km) south of Stockton. Modesto has been honored as a Tree City USA numerous times.[14] It is surrounded by rich farmland; Stanislaus County ranks sixth among California counties in farm production.[15] Led by milk, almonds, chickens, walnuts, and corn silage, the county grossed nearly $3.1 billion in agricultural production in 2011.

Modesto was immortalized in the 1973 American Graffiti (none of which was actually filmed in Modesto). Lucas grew up in Modesto and graduated from Downey High School in 1962. The award-winning film captured the spirit of cruising and friendship on 10th and 11th Streets in 1962 and led to the revival of 1950s nostalgia that included the TV show Happy Days and the other spin-offs.

Modesto is one of the birthplaces of modern rock and roll as the roots of Rockabilly music began in 1938 with the Maddox Brothers and Rose. The slap bass technique created by Fred Maddox became the percussive backbeat to "hillbilly boogie" that would become the foundation of Rock and Roll. The Maddox Brothers music became famous from the early broadcasts by pioneering radio station KTRB throughout the 1940s. Fred Maddox's bass now belongs to the Experience Project Museum in Seattle Washington for the significance in music history.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for 2011, which interviews 1,000 participants daily and asks individuals to assess their jobs, finances, physical health, emotional state of mind and communities, ranked Modesto 126 out of the 190 cities surveyed.[16] In December 2009, Forbes ranked Modesto 48th out of 100 among "Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities". In this ranking, Modesto ranked 8th in housing affordability and travel time but also ranked 86th in job forecast growth and 99th in foreclosures.[17]


  • History 1
  • Tourism 2
  • Transportation 3
    • Air 3.1
    • Highways and roads 3.2
    • Public transit 3.3
  • Climate 4
  • Water 5
  • Economy 6
    • Industry 6.1
    • Principal employers 6.2
    • Crime 6.3
  • Planning and environmental 7
  • Downtown revitalization 8
  • Entertainment and culture 9
    • Music and performing arts 9.1
  • Demographics 10
    • 2010 10.1
    • 2000 10.2
  • Government 11
    • Local government 11.1
    • Federal and state representation 11.2
  • Education 12
    • City schools 12.1
    • Private schools 12.2
    • Higher education 12.3
  • Media 13
    • Television stations 13.1
    • Radio 13.2
      • FM stations 13.2.1
      • AM stations 13.2.2
    • Print media 13.3
  • Notable people 14
  • Sister cities 15
  • In popular culture 16
  • See also 17
  • References 18
  • External links 19


Modesto's 10th street in 1890.

Modesto, originally a stop on the railroad connecting Sacramento to Los Angeles, was founded in 1870 and was to be named for financier William C. Ralston, but he was too modest and asked them to find another name for the town. In honor of his modesty, the town was named Modesto.

The city was incorporated in 1884 with a population of over 1000 people. With fields of grain, a nearby river (grain barges during the flood season), and railroad traffic, the town grew. Later, dams were installed in the foothills, irrigation water came, and irrigated fields of vegetables and fruit or nut trees prospered. By 1900, its population was over 4,500. During World War II, the area provided canned goods, powdered milk, and eggs for the US armed forces and allied forces. For the next few decades, Modesto's population grew at about two percent per year to over 100,000 in 1980, and over 200,000 in 2001.

The official city slogan is "Water Wealth Contentment Health," which is emblazoned on the downtown Modesto Arch, featured in local photographs and postcards. A contest was run in 1911 to determine the slogan. The original winning slogan was: "Nobody's got Modesto's goat".[18] The second place entry was the final winner. The motto is sometimes spoofed as "The land gets the water, the bankers get the wealth, the cows get contentment, and the farmers get the health."[19]


Modesto is known for the following tourist attractions and historical sites.

  • McHenry Mansion – Built in the early 1880s by Robert McHenry, a local rancher and banker. The mansion is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are given.
  • McHenry Museum – Across the street from the McHenry Mansion. Filled with tidbits from Modesto's history
  • George Lucas Plaza –
  • Gallo Center for the Arts – Center for performing arts opened in 2007 and is located in downtown Modesto at 1000 "I" Street.
  • Downtown Modesto – Known for having a variety of restaurants and night life. It also hosts a multi-venue Art Walk year around on the third Thursday of the month, free to view with maps available.
  • The State Theatre – Dating back to the 1920s, it was recently renovated and serves as a local performance arts center and as a theater specializing in independent and foreign films.
  • John Thurman Field – The stadium renovated several years ago, the home of the Modesto Nuts baseball team (single "A" affiliate of the Colorado Rockies team).
  • Graceada Park neighborhood – An area of representative old homes (circa 1920s and earlier) with streets lined with large city planted shade trees and a series of parks, a bandshell and other amenities. The name Graceada is based on two old local ladies that helped promote the idea of a park, Grace and Ada.

The 1973 movie, American Graffiti, starring Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss and Cindy Williams, was set in 1962 Modesto; however, the scenes of weekend cruising were actually filmed in Petaluma, California.


Aerial photo of city of Modesto, California

Modesto is served by one of the busiest rail corridors in the country. The Amtrak San Joaquins make eight daily stops on the route between Oakland and Bakersfield, and four stops daily on the route between Sacramento and Bakersfield.


Modesto is served by the Modesto City-County Airport that lies east of California State Route 99 within the city limits. SkyWest Airlines (operating as United Express) provided air service to San Francisco International Airport, however commercial service stopped in June 2014.[20] The airport is used for manufacturing and the shipping industries throughout California and the United States.

Highways and roads

Interstate 5 and California State Route 99 provide major highway access to Modesto. California State Route 132 links the city to Interstate 580, providing commuter access to highways into the Bay Area. California State Route 108 connects to Oakdale, California and east to the foothills. The city has added many roundabouts in an effort to ease traffic congestion within the town with varying degrees of success.

Public transit

Three public transit systems serve Modesto: Modesto Area Express (MAX), StaRT, and the San Joaquin Regional Transit District along the northern edge of the city on McHenry Avenue. MAX is the local system with additional connections to the Altamont Commuter Express train station in Lathrop and the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. MAX also provides a paratransit "dial-a-ride" service which specifically caters to seniors and the disabled. It is open to the general public only during certain times.[21] StaRT connects Modesto to the county's other populated centers. Modesto also will be served by the future California High Speed Rail.

The large industrial region south and east of the city is served by the Modesto and Empire Traction Company, a 5-mile (8.0 km) short line railroad, with a web of industry tracks and many customers.

At one time, Modesto was the operational center of the Tidewater Southern Railway, which had its main line down the center of Ninth Street, a major north-south street. A city ordinance passed by the city council kept electric power lines over this section of street activated long after the railroad had converted to steam power. In 2000, the last trains ran down Ninth Street. Now the railroad (owned by the Union Pacific Railroad since 1983) no longer passes through Modesto.


Modesto usually has mild winters and very hot, dry summers. Average January temperatures range from 56 °F (13 °C) in the day to 40 °F (4 °C) at night. Most of the rainfall occurs during the winter and the annual total is 13.2 inches (33.5 cm). Since the city does not have a full storm sewer system, many streets flood during winter rain storms.

Average July temperatures range from 80°F (~27°C) in the day to 50 °F (10 °C) at night. During the summer months there can be multiple days in a row with high temperatures exceeding 100 °F (~38 °C). This can pose health risks for people with weak constitutions or who ignore the dangers of heat stroke. Onshore breezes (locally known as the "delta breeze") moderate these high temperatures somewhat, with cooler air coming in after 8 or 9 PM on summer nights.

Climate data for Modesto, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 75
Average high °F (°C) 56
Average low °F (°C) 40
Record low °F (°C) 18
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.61
Source: Weather Channel [22]


Although the city is located on the Tuolumne River and near the Stanislaus River, it has no operating port for oceangoing ships due to the shallow depths of these rivers, and also due to a small dam on the Tuolumne River near Highway 99. In Modesto there is also a small creek aptly named Dry Creek, which although badly polluted by agricultural runoff, is adjacent to several parks in Modesto. Most of the rivers and streams are otherwise not accessible to public use or view due to fences and private property rights. There are no public boat ramps or docks within the city limits. Although summertime brings high temperatures, swimming is prohibited by local ordinance in rivers, creeks, and the many irrigation canals. Rivers and lakes near Waterford are wide enough to be accessible for a kayak, or small motorboat, and there are several points of public access. This access was given as part of a government plan when hydroelectric power dams were installed upstream for valuable flood control, irrigation, and electric power generation. The nearest large open seaport is the Port of Stockton, used for oceangoing ships that transport goods, particularly cement, fertilizer, and agricultural products, from California to overseas.



Modesto has a large agricultural industry which is based on the fertile farmland surrounding the city. As Modesto being part of the San Joaquin Valley it receives titles such as being home to companies such as DeRuosi Nut amongst many other reputable names. DeRuosi Nut, a nearby walnut processing facuilty in Escalon, California, is a major walnut processor. Modesto is also home to the largest winery in the world: E & J Gallo Winery. The Gallo Glass Company, a company of Gallo Winery, is the largest wine bottle manufacturing company in the world. The company provides thousands of office and manufacturing jobs to Stanislaus County residents. Other major privately owned companies based in Modesto include Foster Farms Dairy, Royal Robbins, international award winner Fiscalini Cheese, Sciabica Olive Oil, Acme Construction, Aderholt Specialty, and 511 Tactical (formerly a part of Royal Robbins). A cannery downtown produces food which is usually shipped to Sacramento and Fresno for transfer to rail or ship. Ceres has a few cereal and snack factories in the area. There are several small steelworking companies in Modesto. In mid-2008, a number of road projects were being constructed, repaved or repaired, with an estimated total cost of nearly $120,000,000. Modesto is also home to 5.11 Tactical, a United States brand of clothing consisting of uniforms and tactical equipment for military.

DeRuosi Nut Headquarters

Principal employers

Major manufacturing employers in or near the city include:[23]

# Employer # of Employees
1 E & J Gallo Winery 3,181
2 Seneca Foods 2,100
3 Stanislaus Food Products 1,784
4 Del Monte Foods 1,700
5 Frito-Lay 684
6 Racor 680
7 Foster Farms Dairy 644
8 Olam Spices & Vegetables 440
9 DeRuosi Nut 124

Other major employers are:[23]

# Employer # of Employees
1 Memorial Medical Center 3,023
2 Modesto City Schools 3,010
3 Doctors Medical Center 1,962
4 Kaiser Permanente 1,759
5 Modesto Junior College 1,522
6 City of Modesto 1,250
7 Sutter Gould Medical Foundation 1,079
8 Save Mart Supermarkets 950
9 Walmart 745
10 Sylvan Union School District 712
11 Modesto Irrigation District 317


Rates of both violent crimes and property crimes are higher in Modesto than the state average.[24] Of particular note is that Modesto ranks among the top car theft cities in the US. As of 2012 Modesto ranked number 1 for car theft rate per 100,000 people,[25] although they dropped to number 3 in 2013, behind Bakersfield and Fresno[26] Modesto is also home to many street gangs. The Stanislaus County Gang Intelligence Task Force estimates there to be 5,000 to 10,000 gang members.[27]

Planning and environmental

In the late 1980s Modesto embarked on an update to the city's general plan pursuant to requirements of the State of California. The result was a comprehensive evaluation of alternative population and land use projections along with associated environmental impact analysis. Some of the environmental factors technically assessed were air quality, water quality, environmental noise, soil contamination and visual impacts.

Much of the soils in Modesto are classified as part of the Hanford series: (HbpA) fine sandy loam, moderately deep over silt.[28] These soils are well-drained, moderately coarse-textured soils derived from alluvium from granitic rock. The Hanford soils are important for the production of a wide variety of irrigated orchard, field, and truck crops.

Vicinity watercourses include the total dissolved solids and other pesticides.[30] Each of these contaminants is not present citywide.

The EPA rates air quality in Modesto as a 23 on a scale to 100 (higher is better), making Modesto an unhealthy place to live for those with breathing difficulties. This is based on ozone alert days and number of pollutants in the air. In May 2010, Forbes magazine, in association with the American Lung Association, indicated that Modesto was one of the top 25 most polluted cities in the U.S.[31]

Downtown revitalization

As of the 2000s, downtown Modesto (DOMO) has been thoroughly modernized, including new attractions such as Gallo Center for the Arts and the new Downtown Plaza adjacent to Modesto Centre Plaza. Downtown Modesto has lost some of its old-time flavor with the loss of the Hotel Covell, The incredible art deco Strand Theatre, and the Sears building but it has improved traffic flow considerably.

The historic streets of 10th and 11th streets that were the original locations of the cruising featured in American Graffiti have been designated by the City of Modesto as the Historic Cruise Route. This is now a tourist walk with information about Modesto's music, car and Graffiti culture. Modesto Historic Cruise Route

In 2014, the Walk of Fame was launched on the Historic Cruise Route with markers celebrating classic legends like George Lucas, Gene Winfield Gene Winfield Bart Bartoni and others. This is both an attraction for tourists and locals alike.

Classic Community Murals was launched by local Modesto magazine ModestoView and the Peer Recovery Art Center to create a series of large scale murals celebrating the Modesto Classic Graffiti heritage.

New business incentives have been created to enhance facades, signage, and permitting. A promenade is being designed to create a special entertainment zone along the corridor between the Modesto Centre Plaza and the Gallo Center for the Arts and the adjacent core streets of 10th, 11th and J Streets.

Entertainment and culture

The Modesto Nuts Minor League Baseball Club of the class A California League is the main attraction for locals between Easter and Labor Day. The Nuts are the Single A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies and play 70 home games each season.

In the past 10 years, Modesto has hosted many music festivals such as SummerFest, the Downtown summer concert series, featuring Chris Isaak, Hootie & the Blowfish, The Doobie Brothers and Styx. The city also hosts the notorious X-Fest.

X-Fest, deriving from its real name Xclamation Festival, is a 21 and over music festival in downtown Modesto. Starting in 2000, X-Fest has evolved into a large outdoor event stretching 15 blocks and featuring the world's largest disco which covers four blocks on its own. In 2008 X-Fest featured 50 bands and a crowd of 15,000 people. Much of the profits end up in local non-profit charities. Some business owners and citizens of Modesto complain of rowdy and often drunk Mardi Gras atmosphere exhibited at X-fest. Events like these may have helped propel Modesto to be ranked, in Feb. 2010 by Men's Health magazine, as the 12th drunkest city in America, based on alcohol-related deaths, DUI and other arrests.

Summers in Modesto are also marked by the revival of antique cars.

Located in downtown Modesto is the locally iconic State Theater, one of the many hot spots for music acts and independent films. Also located downtown is the Fat Cat Music House & Lounge, a nightclub dating back to the 1930s.[32] Another local nightclub of note is Crocodiles, founded in 1978, which plays dance music from the last 60 years.

Downtown Modesto hosts a monthly Art Walk, with local artists displaying art for sale, artist demos, local gallery shows, in a multi-venue map self-guided tour. Downtown Modesto Third Thursday Art Walk venues include local galleries, nonprofits, restaurants and other local businesses; each featuring local artists 5 to 9 PM. Some stops include musicians from Modesto's vibrant music scene. Maps can be picked up at local businesses, and Downtown Improvement District office.

Downtown Modesto is also home of the Modesto Historic Cruise Route on 10th and 11th St, the Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, and the Classic Community Mural series of large scale art celebrating the American Graffiti history.

Music and performing arts

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra, which finds its home at the Gallo Center, held their first performance when Modesto had a population of 17,000 in 1931 and continues to be a staple in the community.[33] Not to be outdone by the Symphony, MoBand (Modesto Band of Stanislaus County), established in 1919, is one of the oldest, continuously performing bands in the U.S.[34] The group performs a free 6-week summer concert-in-the-park series with its 130 volunteer musicians.

Modesto is also home to Townsend Opera, founded in 1983 by the late Modesto-born opera singer Buck Townsend, and Modesto Performing Arts, as well as the Gallo Center for the Arts.[35] Modesto is also home to the area's leading pre-professional ballet company, Central West Ballet.[36]



The 2010 United States Census[39] reported that Modesto had a population of 201,165. The population density was 5,423.4 people per square mile (2,094.0/km²). The racial makeup of Modesto was 130,833 (65.0%) White, 8,396 (4.2%) African American, 2,494 (1.2%) Native American, 13,557 (6.7%) Asian (1.5% Filipino, 1.3% Asian Indian, 1.2% Cambodian, 0.7% Chinese, 0.6% Vietnamese, 0.5% Laotian, 0.2% Japanese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Hmong, 0.1% Pakistani), 1,924 (1.0%) Pacific Islander, 31,244 (15.5%) from other races, and 12,717 (6.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 71,381 persons (35.5%): 30.8% Mexican, 0.7% Puerto Rican, 0.6% Salvadoran, 0.5% Spaniard, 0.4% Spanish, 0.3% Nicaraguan, and 0.2% Guatemalan. Non-Hispanic Whites were 49.4% of the population in 2010,[40] down from 83.1% in 1980.[41]

The Census reported that 198,210 people (98.5% of the population) lived in households, 1,189 (0.6%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 1,766 (0.9%) were institutionalized.

There were 69,107 households, out of which 27,152 (39.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 33,230 (48.1%) were married couples living together, 10,774 (15.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 4,904 (7.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 5,177 (7.5%) unmarried. 15,887 households (23.0%) were made up of individuals and 6,221 (9.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87. There were 48,908 families (70.8% of all households); the average family size was 3.38.

The population was spread out with 54,012 people (26.8%) under the age of 18, 20,838 people (10.4%) aged 18 to 24, 53,116 people (26.4%) aged 25 to 44, 49,691 people (24.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 23,508 people (11.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.

There were 75,044 housing units at an average density of 2,023.2 per square mile (781.2/km²), of which 39,422 (57.0%) were owner-occupied, and 29,685 (43.0%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 9.1%. 112,065 people (55.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 86,145 people (42.8%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $49,852, and the median income for a family was $56,629.[42] Males had a median income of $47,473 versus $37,629 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,886. About 14.9% of families and 18.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.3% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

In September 2010, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released a study indicating that 32% of the population was obese vs. a statewide average obesity rate of 22.7%. Poverty was one of the factors listed as contributing to the high obesity rates.


As of the census[43] of 2000, there were 188,856 people, 64,959 households, and 46,640 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,277.3 people per square mile (2,037.4/km²). There were 67,179 housing units at an average density of 1,877.2 per square mile (724.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.6% White, 25.6% Hispanic or Latino, 4.0% African American, 1.2% Native American, 6.0% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander.

There were 64,959 households out of which 38.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.2% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.36.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.


Local government

Modesto is governed under a council-manager system.[3] The Mayor is elected by the entire city. The six members of the city council are elected from districts by the voters within the respective district.

According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $325.7 million in Revenues, $268.0 million in expenditures, $1,126.9 million in total assets, $322.0 million in total liabilities, and $343.0 million in cash and investments.[44]

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:[44]

City Department Director
City Manager Jim Holgersson[5]
Deputy City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley[45]
Director of Finance Gloriette Genereux[45]
Director of Human Resources Joseph Lopez
Chief Information Officer Joseph Lopez
Acting Director of Public Works Bill Sandhu[45]
Police Chief Galen Carroll[45]
Fire Chief Sean Slamon[45]
Acting Manager of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhoods Andy Johnson[45]
Director of Community & Economic Development Brent Sinclair[45]
Director of Utility Planning & Projects Larry Parlin

Residents of Modesto also participate in the Government of Stanislaus County and elections for Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors district 1 as well as the Sheriff-Coroner, District Attorney, Assessor, Auditor-Controller, Treasurer-Tax Collector, and Clerk-Recorder. As of January 2013 these were represented by Supervisor William O’Brien, Sheriff-Coroner Adam Christianson, District Attorney Birgit Fladager, Assessor David Cogdill Sr., Auditor-Controller Lauren Klein, Treasurer-Tax Collector Gordon Ford, and Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan.

Federal and state representation

In the California State Senate, Modesto is split between the 5th Senate District, represented by Democrat Cathleen Galgiani, and the 12th Senate District, represented by Republican Anthony Cannella.[46] In the California State Assembly, Modesto is split between the 12th Assembly District, represented by Republican Kristin Olsen, and the 21st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Adam Gray.[47]

In the United States House of Representatives, Modesto is in California's 10th congressional district, represented by Republican Jeff Denham.[48]


City schools

Modesto City Schools was established for students in the community in 1871. The current enrollment is approximately 32,000 students. The district operates 23 elementary schools (K-6), four junior high schools (7–8), seven comprehensive high schools (9–12), and an alternative education program that includes an opportunity and continuation school, independent study and adult evening high school. The seventh comprehensive high school, Joseph Gregori High School, was recently completed. Modesto's oldest high school, Modesto High School, also offers an International Baccalaureate program, and is the only high school in Stanislaus County accredited for this program. There are other elementary school districts within and adjacent to the limits of Modesto City Schools that feed into the high schools. They include Sylvan Unified (serving the eastern portion of Modesto), Stanislaus Union and Hart-Ransom.

Private schools

Modesto Christian School (K–12) and Central Catholic High School Grace Lutheran Church and School (Modesto,Ca) are private religious schools located in Modesto.

Higher education

  • Modesto Junior College is a two-year junior college in Modesto and has over 20,000 students enrolled and 21 inter-collegiate sports teams.
  • Community Business College, vocational college in Modesto providing vocational training and job placement services to the unemployed with non-profit tuition scholarships. Offers training in medical office, bookkeeping, property management, foreign languages, medical coding and solar technologies.
  • California State University, Stanislaus, a liberal arts university, and part of the 23-campus CSU system, is located in nearby Turlock and serves the Modesto area. As of March 2005, CSU Stanislaus reported a student population of 6,192 undergraduate students. The number rises to 7,858 when considering all students, including graduate students.
  • University of California, Merced, a public research university and part of the University of California system located near Merced, California, serves the Central Valley, including Modesto, for higher education and research.[49] The university offers 3 schools for graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Engineering, the School of Natural Sciences, and the School of Social Sciences Humanities and Arts.[50]


Television stations

As part of the Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto television market, Modesto is primarily served by stations that are based mainly in Sacramento, CA. They are listed below, with the city of license in bold:


FM stations

  • KMPO 88.7: World ethnic
  • KLOVE 89.7: AC Christian
  • Air 1 90.7 Christian (alternative/pop)
  • KVIN 92.3: Oldies
  • KOSO 92.9: Hot AC
  • KBBU 93.9: Regional Mexican
  • KHOP 95.1: Top 40 (CHR)
  • KMRQ 96.7: Rock
  • KWIN 97.7 & 98.3: Mainstream urban
  • KQOD 100.1: Rhythmic oldies
  • KMIX 100.9: Regional Mexican
  • KAMB 101.5: AC Christian
  • KJSN 102.3: Adult contemporary
  • KATM 103.3: Country
  • KHKK 104.1: Classic rock
  • KHTN 104.7: Hip-hop
  • KRVR 105.5: Classic hits
  • KGIG-LP 104.9: Local-Bands & News / community radio

AM stations

  • KMPH 840: Oldies
  • KVIN 920: Oldies
  • KESP 970: Sports
  • KFIV 1360: Talk radio
  • KLOC 1390: Regional Mexican

Print media

  • The Modesto Bee: Modesto's daily newspaper, published by the McClatchy Company
  • ModestoView – Monthly Arts, Entertainment and Community Magazine and online resource, Published locally by Chris Murphy
  • Stanislaus Connections - Modesto Peace/Life Center. Free speech to serve truth & build a more just, compassionate, peaceful and environmentally healthy community and world.

Notable people

Sister cities

Modesto has six sister cities:

These programs are run by Modesto Sister Cities International, a non-profit, community based, volunteer organization promoting international understanding, friendship, and peace between nations.[54]

In popular culture

The ABC Drama American Crime is set in Modesto

In a Lifetime film, they made a movie of a true story on Scott Peterson murdering his pregnant wife.

In the 2013 movie The Internship, John Goodman calls Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and says, "I've stumbled onto King Solomon's mine my friends. Two words, motorized scooters. Head down to Modesto. Start checking out the old age homes." Later in the film, it shows Vaughn riding a motorized scooter into a retirement community named 'Modesto Colony'.

In the pilot of the CW show Supernatural, the characters mention Modesto in passing.

In the film 1985 Murphy's Romance with Sally Field and James Garner, Garner's character asks Sally Field where she was from and her response was "This time Modesto, CA".

In the animated feature Monsters vs. Aliens, the protagonist Susan Murphy comes from Modesto. Scenes of Modesto depicted in the movie bear no resemblance to the actual town. In the short film Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space, Susan says, "Modesto, why is it always Modesto?"

In Even Stevens, a girl quotes her mom is from Modesto.

Inspector Keller (played by Michael Douglas) reveals he is from Modesto in season 3 of The Streets of San Francisco.

In The Glee Project, Lindsay Pearce is a contestant and runner-up from Modesto, won 2 episode arcs in Glee Season 3.

In the video game series Wipeout, "Modesto Heights" is one of the race tracks in Wipeout Pure and Wipeout HD.

An episode of Bewitched, one of Darrin's clients frequently mentions growing up in Modesto.

Brooklyn-based indie rockers The Hold Steady refer to the city in the song "Modesto Is Not That Sweet."

In the 1963 movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World the truck driver played by Jonathan Winters refers to the load he is driving to Modesto.

The 1973 film American Graffiti is set in Modesto.

"Modesto" is the name of a song by Beck, from his Stereopathetic Soulmanure album.

"St. Modesto" is a song by Chris Walla from his Field Manual album.

Two episodes of Monk:

  • "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale" (TV episode 2002)
    • Dr. Christiaan Vezza: "Where did you intern?"
    • Sharona Fleming: "Modesto General."
  • "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School" (TV episode 2003)
    • When Mr. Monk and Sharona met with Ms. Cassidy in the office, Monk noticed that Beth Landow had a brochure from the Modesto Inn in her mailbox. He also remembered that Derek Philby had a pen from that same hotel.

The 2009 film Janky Promoters is set in Modesto.

In the season 6 episode "One Car, Two Car, Red Car, Blue Car" of HBO's Entourage Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) storms in to the office of Amy Miller (Janet Varney) in a righteous fury and exclaims, "I just want you to know, what you guys are doing is disgusting. Charlie (Bow Wow) busted his ass for you and you're going to toss him off because, what? Forty idiots from Modesto, who had nothing better to do today than to watch a pilot in order to get a free lunch, claim they didn't like him?" (TV episode 2009)

In the 1992 film starring Christian Slater entitled Kuffs Slater's character mentions that he grew up in Modesto and went to (the fictional) Fremont High School.

In the television show Sons of Anarchy, season 3, episode 7, Bobby Elvis asks Clay Morrow, "Where's Tig?" Clay responds, "Halfway to Modesto." Assistant Attorney General Lincoln Potter says he is from Modesto.

In the television show CSI, season 5, episode 10, Sara Sidle searches for the records of her mother's court case, which ultimately led to Sarah being put in foster care, from Modesto, CA.

The Moshe Kasher comedy album Everyone You Know is Going To Die, Then You Are features a track entitled "An Open Letter to Modesto, California".

In the television show Criminal Minds, in season 4, episode 5, where a serial killer jumps trains and targets people living near the railway is the subject of a BAU manhunt set in Modesto, California.

T.V. show Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets: A mother's love, is about the murder of Modesto resident Debi Whitlock.

The 7th Street Bridge was film in the 1998 movie Dead Man on Campus .

See also


  1. ^ "Newsroom – Press Releases". City of Modesto. February 21, 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of  
  3. ^ a b "Modesto, CA Code of Ordinances [codes] – ARTICLE IV. – Form of Government". Municipal Code Corporation. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Modesto City Council". City of Modesto, California. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "City Manager's Office". City of Modesto. Retrieved March 25, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California".  
  7. ^ a b c "Modesto".  
  8. ^ "Modesto (city) QuickFacts".  
  9. ^ "ZIP Code(tm) Lookup".  
  10. ^ a b "FIPS55 Data: California". FIPS55 Data.  
  11. ^ "Modesto". 
  12. ^ Historic Spots in California, Third Edition. Stanford University Press. p. 539.  
  13. ^ "County Subdivisions: California". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files.  
  14. ^ City of Modesto IT. "City of Modesto – Newsroom – Press Releases". 
  15. ^ California Farm Bureau Federation
  16. ^ "State of Well Being" (PDF). Gallup-Healthways. 
  17. ^ Levy, Francesca (November 30, 2009). "America's Best Bang-For-The-Buck Cities". Forbes. 
  18. ^ Hoover, Mildred Brooke (2002). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. p. 521.  
  19. ^ Baggese, Carl (2011). Modesto. Arcadia Publishing. p. 61.  
  20. ^ "Modesto Airport passenger service ends Wednesday". The Manteca Bulletin. June 2, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Dial-A-Ride Information". Modesto Area Express. 
  22. ^ Monthly Averages for Modesto, CA Weather Channel'.' Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  23. ^ a b "City of Modesto Economic Development". 
  24. ^ "Modesto crime rates and statistics – NeighborhoodScout". 
  25. ^ "Top 10 cities for car thefts". 
  26. ^ "Hot Spots 2013 |". Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  27. ^ Gangs thriving in Modesto, Modesto Bee, September 20, 2007.
  28. ^ Bureau of Soils (1964). Soil survey of ... Dept. of Agriculture. p. 81. 
  29. ^ Stanislaus County General Plan (1987)
  30. ^ John Torrey, Paul Awosika et al., Expanded initial study, Boulder Creek subdivision, Stanislaus County, Earth Metrics, Report 7999: California State Clearinghouse, Sacramento, November 1989.
  31. ^ "List: Worst Cities For Ozone Pollution". Forbes. 
  32. ^ "Official site". Fat Cat Music House & Lounge. Retrieved September 12, 2010. 
  33. ^ Modesto Symphony Official Web Site
  34. ^ MoBand Official Web Site
  35. ^ "Gallo Center for the Arts". 
  36. ^ Home Welcome
  37. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  39. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA – Modesto city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Modesto (city), California". State & County QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau. 
  41. ^ "California – Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990". U.S. Census Bureau. 
  42. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics, 2007–2011 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates". 
  43. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  44. ^ a b City of Modesto CAFR
  45. ^ a b c d e f g "City of Modesto Organizational Chart" (PDF). City of Modesto, California. September 4, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Communities of Interest – City". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  47. ^ "Communities of Interest – City". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  48. ^ "California's 10th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  49. ^ "UC Merced Project Overview". 
  50. ^ "UC Merced Academics". UC Merced. 
  51. ^ "Travis Oates". IMDb. 
  52. ^ "In Jeremy Renner profile, London paper calls Modesto a cowtown". modbee. 
  53. ^ "Mark Spitz". Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  54. ^ "Modesto Sister Cities". 

External links

  • Official website
  • Historical photos of Modesto, CA
  • Official Modesto Police website
  • Historic Modesto
  • Modesto Convention and Visitors Bureau
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