ArchitectureView-Modesto Heritage

Modesto Heritage

The Cote d’Oro, Shannon Mortuary, Fire Station #2, Hotel Covell, the Chuck Wagon, Hughson Hotel, the Strand Theatre, and Modesto Steam Laundry – the list of Modesto buildings destroyed over the last few decades goes on and on. Some were torn down for good reason; Modesto is a living city that has always been on the cutting edge of architecture in building for its future. But many significant historic buildings were torn down for what seems like no good reason, with little community dialogue, and no consideration for how historic buildings could have been reused, preserved, and given a new role in Modesto’s future.

The city of Modesto has a landmark preservation commission and more than 50 buildings have been designated city landmarks. At least four buildings have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you think this provides complete protection for significant buildings, you are mistaken. The city of Modesto itself has torn down buildings that were either city landmarks (Woolworths, Fire Station #2) or on the national register (Hotel Covell). Other buildings have no protection at all.

Recognizing the importance of historic preservation to the economic and cultural health of the city, the Modesto Art Museum is launching Modesto Heritage. The project’s mission is to research, educate about, and encourage the restoration and preservation of significant architecture, landscape, and other built environments of Modesto.

One of the important aspects of our work is to educate the community about the economic advantages of historic preservation, not just for the property owner, but for the whole city. We will point out and encourage good examples of creative reuse of historic buildings as with the conversion of the old downtown post office into offices. We will facilitate dialogue about buildings that could see major changes in use in the next five years (the main library, the Hall of Records, the county courthouse). And we will give special attention to the buildings that gave Modesto a national reputation in architecture in the mid 20th century.

You can learn what is happening in historic preservation in Modesto and find a list of activities you can do on the museum web site:

Bob Barzan Modesto Art Museum



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