The Modesto Arch
We resided in Modesto from 1969 to 1974. I was employed by Shell Development Company as an Analytical Research Chemist in Research Department of their Agricultural Division. We resided at the northern suburb of Modesto- a typical middle-income housing development in the early 1970's. Compared to Kansas City, Missouri, Modesto is a very small town at that time, although there was a private Country and Tennis Club, Sportmen Club of Stanislaus County known as SOS, that we enjoyed very much. We played tennis, eat at the country club restaurant and play party bridge at night. The kids enjoyed swimming during the day and we made a few good friends at the club.
Bridge Nights at Sportmen Club of Stanislaus County(SOS)
The highlights of our stay was when we met The Gallos during a tennis tournament. The Gallos were already millioners at that time since they owned the Gallo Winery, but were friendly to most of the members of the Club. The other highlight was that we became US citizens in Modesto. Our citizenship party was featured in the society column of the Modesto Bee, the local newspaper.
Central Valley Farm Land
The Modesto Metropolitan Area is a part of the Central Valley of California. The Central Valley (also known as The Valley) is a large, flat valley that dominates the central portion of the U.S., State of California. It is home to many of California's most productive agricultural efforts. The valley stretches approximately 450 miles (720 km) from northwest to southeast inland and parallel to the Pacific Ocean coast.
Its northern half is referred to as the Sacramento Valley, and its southern half as the San Joaquin Valley. The Sacramento valley receives about 20 inches of rain annually, but the San Joaquin is very dry, often semi-arid desert in many places. The two halves meet at the huge Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, a large expanse of interconnected canals, stream beds, sloughs, marshes and peat islands. The Central Valley encompasses around 42,000 square miles (110,000 km2), making it roughly the same size as the state of Tennessee. The Central Valley is the bread basket of the State producing fresh fruits, meat products, vegetables( fresh and canned) and rice and grains and other agricultural products. It is the most fertile agricultural region of the Pacific.
Counties commonly associated with the valley:
* North Sacramento Valley (Shasta, Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Colusa)
* Sacramento Metro (Sacramento, El Dorado, Sutter, Yuba, Yolo, Placer)
* North San Joaquin (San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced)
* South San Joaquin (Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern)
About 6.5 million people live in the Central Valley today, and it is the fastest growing region in California. There are 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the Central Valley. Below, they are listed by (MSA) population. The largest city is Fresno, followed by the state capital Sacramento, but the Sacramento area is the most populous region.
* Sacramento Metropolitan Area (2,136,604)
* Fresno Metropolitan Area (1,002,284)
* Bakersfield Metropolitan Area (827,173)
* Stockton Metropolitan Area (664,116)
* Modesto Metropolitan (505,505)
* Visalia Metropolitan Area (410,874)
* Merced Metropolitan Area (241,706)
* Chico Metropolitan Area (214,185)
* Redding Metropolitan Area (179,904)
* Yuba City Metropolitan Area (165,081)
Modesto is the county seat of Stanislaus County, California. With a population of approximately 211,156 as of April 2009, Modesto ranks as the 17th largest city in the state of California. Modesto is located in Northern California, 92 miles east of San Francisco, 68 miles south of the state capital of Sacramento and 66 miles west of Yosemite National Park. Modesto, a 29-time Tree City USA honoree, is surrounded by rich farmland, lending to a ranking for the county as 6th among all California counties in farm production. Led by milk, almonds, chickens, cattle, and walnuts, the county grossed nearly $2.5 billion in agricultural production in 2007.
The Gallo Art Center
Locally, Modesto is home to the critically acclaimed Gallo Center for the Arts, Prospect Theater Project, the Modesto Nuts (a Colorado Rockies MLB affiliate) and the Amgen Tour of California, which in 2009 saw cycling legend Lance Armstrong cross the finish line. The Xclamation Festival, X-Fest, has become the city’s largest entertainment and cultural gathering, recently celebrating its 10th year. The event in 2009 had an estimated 16,000 attendees enjoy music and food on the streets of downtown Modesto. Modesto also encompasses various cultural and social diverse schools, especially Modesto High School. MHS, being the oldest school of Modesto, embodies a rigorous academic and physical curriculum for students such as the International Baccalaureate program, AVID, and more.
In February 2010, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which interviewed more than 353,000 participants and asked individuals to assess their jobs, finances, physical health, emotional state of mind and communities, ranked Modesto 161 out of the 162 cities surveyed. In December 2009, Forbes ranked Modesto 48th out of 100 among "Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities;" according to Forbes. In this ranking, Modesto ranked 8th in housing affordability and travel time but also ranked 86th in job forecast growth and 99th in foreclosures. In variety of other past rankings, Modesto has scored in the top ten worst places to live due to its high cost of living, high unemployment, long commutes and high crime rate.
Note: This is No.7 (Part 1) of a series of articles on places that we have resided or visited in US since 1960 to the present.