City of the Month: Modesto

Congratulations to our March City of the Month, Modesto! Founded in 1870 as a railroad town, Modesto derives its name from William C. Ralston, a prominent San Francisco banker, who refused to name the town Ralston. Now celebrating its 150th anniversary since its founding, this city not only features any number of historic sites, from the McHenry Mansion to the Modesto arch, it also served as the inspiration for the movie American Graffiti and is home to the E & J Gallo Winery. Not surprisingly, given its historic nature, it is also home to a number of active historical and genealogical societies. If you are looking for exciting local history resources in the California History Section's rich collections, then check out our guide to what we have for this city!

In July of 2018, in an effort to better support the work of local governments and historical societies in promoting and preserving the past, the California History Section started the City of the Month program as a companion to our County of the Month program. This recognition honors the diverse character of California's many cities while providing research tips to individuals interested in finding out more about California local history. If you have any questions about this program, please feel free to contact us.