Main Births etc
—  City  —
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
Coordinates: 37°39′41″N 120°59′40″W / 37.66139, -120.99444Coordinates: 37°39′41″N 120°59′40″W / 37.66139, -120.99444
Country  United States
State  California
County Stanislaus
Region San Joaquin Valley
Founded November 8, 1870
Incorporated August 6, 1884[2]
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor Garrad Marsh[3]
 • City Attorney Adam Lindgren
 • City Clerk Stephanie Lopez
 • City Manager Jim Holgersson[4]
 • Total 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%
Elevation[6] 89 ft (27 m)
Population (2010)[5]
 • Total 201,165
 • Rank 1st in Stanislaus County
18th in California
107th in the United States
 • Density 5,400/sq mi (2,100/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes[7] 95350-95358, 95397
Area code 209
GNIS IDs[6][8] 277609, 2411130
FIPS code[6][8] 06-48354

Modesto /məˈdɛst/[9] (Spanish for "modest"),[10] officially 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.[11]

Modesto is located in the Central Valley area of Northern California, 90 miles north of Fresno, 92 miles east of San Francisco, 68 miles south of the state capital of Sacramento, 66 miles west of Yosemite National Park, and 24 miles south of Stockton. Modesto has been honored as a Tree City USA numerous times.[12] It is surrounded by rich farmland; Stanislaus County ranks sixth among California counties in farm production.[13] 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 George Lucas film American Graffiti. 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. Ron Howard, Harrison Ford and Richard Dreyfuss starred in the film. The soundtrack was a huge success. Director George Lucas is a native of Modesto, graduating from Downey High School in 1962.

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.[14] 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.[15]


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 William C. Ralston, financier, but he was too modest and asked them to find another name for the town. Thus, the town was named Modesto.

The city was incorporated in 1884, at which time it had over 1000 people. With fields of grain and the proximity of the 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.

Modesto's official slogan is "Water Wealth Contentment Health," which is emblazoned on a large downtown 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". 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."[16]


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

The McHenry Mansion.

Gallo Center for the Arts

  • McHenry Mansion – Built by hand 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 – American Graffiti-inspired bronze statue made in the honor of Modesto filmmaker George Lucas, located at Five Points (the intersections of McHenry Avenue, "J" Street, 17th Street, Downey and Needham).
  • 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.


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.[17] 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.[18] 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 cool 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 95 °F (35 °C) in the day to 63 °F (17 °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
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.61
Source: Weather Channel [19]


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, which is 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. Despite this the city has traditionally had above average unemployment rates. In December 2012, the unemployment rate reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor was 13% while the rest of the U.S. was reporting an unemployment rate of 8.5%. Blue Diamond Growers, a nearby almond factory in Salida, is a major nut supplier. 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.

Principal employers[]

Major manufacturing employers in the city include:[20]

# 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

Other major employers are:[20]

# 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.[21] 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,[22] although they dropped to number 3 in 2013, behind Bakersfield and Fresno[23] 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.[24]

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. 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 Stanislaus River, the Tuolumne River and Dry Creek empties into the Tuolumne River. Area groundwater, which is the principal source of water supply in the city (Stanislaus, 1987), has been historically impaired in a fashion that is spatially variable. Water from the nearby Modesto Resovoir is now used to augment city water. In various parts of the city and its perimeter the following water pollutants have occurred from time to time: nitrates, dibromochloromethane, volatile organics, salinity, total dissolved solids and other pesticides. (Torrey, 1989) Each of these contaminants is not present citywide.

The E.P.A. rates air quality in Modesto, CA 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.[25]

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 projects under feasibility planning stages are:

  • 7-story condo/commercial tower at 10th and H Streets
  • 8-story condo tower at 14th 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, and the most notorious of all, 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 Worlds 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. Men's Health Magazine compiled its rating based on alcohol-related deaths, DUI and other arrests.

Summers in Modesto are also marked by the revival of American Graffiti, the 1973 film written and directed by Modesto native George Lucas. Lucas' film paid homage to teenage life in 1962 based on his own experiences growing up in the city of Modesto. The city council refused to let Lucas film Graffiti in Modesto so he was forced to make the film elsewhere. The City of Modesto has since realized the importance of its connection to the award-winning film and the city is preparing new tourist attractions and events to welcome American Graffiti tourists. The Modesto Convention and Visitors bureau report that the leading request for information is American Graffiti related. The annual festival, Graffiti Summer, celebrates this event and lasts the entire month of June attracting thousands of visitors and car enthusiasts along with hundreds of classic and antique cars.

Located in downtown Modesto is the locally iconic State Theater, one of the many hot sports for music acts and independent films. Also located downtown is the Fat Cat Music House & Lounge, a nightclub dating back to the 1930s.[26] 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.

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.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29] Modesto is also home to the area's leading pre-professional ballet company, Central West Ballet.[30]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 1,693
1890 2,024 19.6%
1900 4,034 99.3%
1910 4,500 11.6%
1920 9,241 105.4%
1930 13,842 49.8%
1940 16,830 21.6%
1950 22,592 34.2%
1960 36,585 61.9%
1970 61,712 68.7%
1980 106,963 73.3%
1990 164,730 54.0%
2000 188,856 14.6%
2010 201,165 6.5%
Est. 2013 204,933 [31] 8.5%
U.S. Decennial Census


The 2010 United States Census[32] 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,[33] down from 83.1% in 1980.[34]

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 opposite-sex 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 opposite-sex partnerships, and 599 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 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.[35] 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[36] 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 via the mayor-council system. 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.[37]

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:[37]

City Department Director
City Manager Greg Nyhoff
Deputy City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley
Director Finance Gloriette Beck
Director of Human Resources Joseph Lopez
Chief Information Officer Bryan Sastokas
Director of Public Works Dennis Turner
Police Chief Galen Carroll
Fire Chief Randall Bradley
Director of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhoods Julie Hannon
Director of Community & Economic Development Brent Sinclair
Director of Utility Planning & Projects Nick Pinhey

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.[38] 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.[39]

In the United States House of Representatives, Modesto is in California's 10th congressional district, represented by Republican   Jeff Denham.[40]


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 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.


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:

  • KCRA Channel 3 (NBC affiliate) Sacramento
  • KCSO-LD Channel 33 (Telemundo affiliate) Sacramento
  • KMAX-TV Channel 31 (The CW O&O) Sacramento
  • KOVR Channel 13 (CBS O&O) Stockton
  • KQCA Channel 58 (My Network TV affiliate) Sacramento
  • KTFK-DT Channel 64 (TeleFutura affiliate) Stockton
  • KTNC-TV Channel 42 (Estrella TV affiliate) Concord
  • KTXL Channel 40 (Fox affiliate) Sacramento
  • KUVS Channel 19 (Univision affiliate) Modesto
  • KVIE Channel 6 (PBS affiliate) Sacramento
  • KXTV Channel 10 (ABC affiliate) Sacramento
  • KSPX-TV Channel 29 (ION Media Networks affiliate) Sacramento


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 106.1: Local 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

Notable people[]

  • Chidi Ahanotu, former NFL player. Won a ring in Super Bowl XXXIV.
  • Jack Angel, voice actor, provided the voice of Teddy in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, AstroTrain in Transformers films, Nikki in Balto.
  • Sonny Barger, Oakland chapter founder of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
  • Tony Boselli, football player, University of Southern California, second pick in 1995 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro; born in Modesto.
  • Shawn Boskie, former MLB player; played his junior college ball at Modesto Junior College.
  • Erin Cafaro, 2008 Olympic gold medalist for women's eight crew; graduate of Modesto High School, Class of 2001.
  • Carol Channing, three-time Tony Award-winning actress and singer.
  • Joe Dillon, MLB player for the Florida Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, and Tampa Bay Rays.
  • James Broughton (1913–1999) American poet and poetic filmmaker.
  • Jack Elam (1919 to 2003), actor, epitome of the "bad guy" in western films; attended Modesto Junior College and had a brother who taught there.
  • Chris Evans and his young partner John Sontag, notorious train robbers, operated a livery stable in Modesto in early 1890s.
  • Jim Fairchild, musician, guitarist, songwriter of Grandaddy, All Smiles and Modest Mouse.
  • Ernest Gallo and Julio Gallo, wine makers.
  • Tony Graziani, Philadelphia Soul quarterback, graduate of Thomas Downey High School.
  • Chuck Hayes, basketball player, Kentucky and Houston Rockets.
  • Lester Hayes, football player, Oakland Raiders.
  • Kirby Hensley, founder of the Universal Life Church.
  • J.P. Howell, pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Kamara James, Olympic fencer.
  • Ray Lankford, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, graduate of Grace M. Davis High School.
  • Chandra Levy, intern at Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington D.C., whose 2001 disappearance was a major news story.
  • George Lucas, film director, producer, screenwriter, studio mogul, graduate of Thomas Downey High School, and former student at Modesto Junior College.
  • Jason Lytle, musician, songwriter of indie-rock bands Grandaddy and Admiral Radley.
  • Roger Maltbie, golfer and television sportscaster, born in Modesto.
  • James Marsters, actor, graduate of Grace M. Davis High School.
  • Kerry McCoy, musician, guitarist and member of Deafheaven.
  • Michael McDonald, top-ranked bantamweight professional MMA fighter, competing for Ultimate Fighting Championship.
  • Shane Minor, country music artist.
  • Boaz Myhill, West Bromwich Albion and Wales goalkeeper (birthplace).
  • Reeves Nelson, professional basketball player, currently with Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Travis Oates, actor, director, voice actor (voice of Piglet in Winnie the Pooh animated film and television show), script writer.[41]
  • Timothy Olyphant, actor, Deadwood and Justified, 1986 graduate of Fred C. Beyer High School.
  • Heath Pearce, professional soccer player for New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer, graduate of Peter Johansen High School.
  • Lindsay Pearce, contender on The Glee Project.
  • Scott Peterson, sentenced to death for murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, and unborn child.
  • Suzy Powell-Roos, three-time track and field Olympian and American record holder in women's discus, graduate of Thomas Downey High School.
  • Harve Presnell, Golden Globe Award-winning actor and singer, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Saving Private Ryan, Fargo, born in Modesto in 1933, graduate of Modesto High School.
  • Jeremy Renner, Academy Award-nominated actor, The Hurt Locker, American Hustle[42]
  • Kenny Roberts, three-time FIM 500cc Grand Prix motorcycle racing champion, two-time AMA Dirt Track Grand National Champion.
  • Joe Rudi, professional baseball player, three-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder with 1970s champion Oakland A's
  • Mark Spitz, nine-time Olympic swimming gold medalist.[43]
  • Zack Sudfeld, NFL player with the New England Patriots, graduated from Modesto Christian High School
  • Ann Veneman, 27th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Tisha Venturini, member of gold medal U.S. women's national soccer team at 1996 Olympic Games; from Grace M. Davis High School.
  • Darlene Vogel, actress.
  • Ashley Walker, basketball player, attended Grace M. Davis High School, star player on UC Berkeley women's team 2005–2009, plays professionally overseas.
  • Carter Williams, professional kickboxer, boxer and mixed martial artist, former North American Muaythai champion and K-1 World GP in Las Vegas tournament champion.

Sister cities[]

Modesto has six sister cities:

  • Mexico Aguascalientes, Mexico
  • Ukraine Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine
  • Japan Kurume, Japan
  • Canada Vernon, Canada
  • India Vijayawada, India
  • France Laval, France

These programs are run by Modesto Sister Cities International; a non-profit, community based, volunteer organization promoting international understanding, friendship, and peace between nations.[44]

In popular culture[]

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 (TV Network) show Supernatural the characters mention Modesto in passing.

In the film 1985 Murphy's Romance with Sally Field and James Garner, James 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.

"Monk" Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale (TV episode 2002) Dr. Christiaan Vezza: Where did you intern? Sharona Fleming: Modesto General.

"Monk" 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 a-- 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.

On the Moshe Kasher album, "Everyone You Know is Going To Die, Then You Are," on the track, "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

See also[]

  • Central Valley (California) for general information about the region.


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  2. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
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  19. ^ Monthly Averages for Modesto, CA Weather Channel'.' Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  20. ^ a b Largest Employers
  21. ^ Modesto crime rates and statistics – NeighborhoodScout
  22. ^ "Top 10 cities for car thefts". 
  23. ^ "Hot Spots 2013 |". Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
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  25. ^ "List: Worst Cities For Ozone Pollution". Forbes. 
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  27. ^ Modesto Symphony Official Web Site
  28. ^ MoBand Official Web Site
  29. ^ "Gallo Center for the Arts". 
  30. ^ Home Welcome
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  34. ^ "California – Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990". U.S. Census Bureau. 
  35. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics, 2007–2011 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates". 
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  37. ^ a b City of Modesto CAFR
  38. ^ "Communities of Interest - City". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Communities of Interest - City". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  40. ^ "California's 10th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  41. ^ IMDB Profile on Travis Oates
  42. ^ In Jeremy Renner profile, London paper calls Modesto a cowtown – Jeremy Renner –
  43. ^ "Mark Spitz". Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  44. ^ Modesto Sister Cities


  • Stanislaus County General Plan, (1987)
  • John Torrey, Paul Awosika et al., Expanded initial study, Boulder Creek subdivision, Stanislaus County, Earth Metrics, Report 7999: California State Clearinghouse, Sacramento, November 1989.

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