HistoryView – Historic LaGrange


Historic LaGrange
Story and Photos by Lloyd Ploutz


Come early and stay late for the La Grange Rodeo. The Historic Town of La Grange requests your attendance on Rodeo Weekend. Party and eat Friday, and Saturday at the La Grange Saloon. Then watch a World Class Rodeo on Sunday April 3rd.

Bring the family and visit the La Grange Museum, 1855 Catholic Church, 1858 IOOF Lodge Hall, 1875 School House, original 1852 Jail House, 1854 Adobe Stable, walk across the downtown river bridge and visit the oldest (1858) continuous operating mercantile store in Stanislaus County. Follow Modesto’s Yosemite Avenue, Highway 132 East passed Waterford for 15 miles to great fun!!
La Grange is one of our counties best kept secrets. The town was one of our first County Seats in 1885 before going to Knights Ferry in 1862. There was a population of over 4,000 people. Gold mining started in La Grange in 1850 on the Tuolumne River at French Bar near the town. La Grange had every type of business (and I do mean every kind) going on in 1855. Gold was everywhere, even in the dirt streets where it can be found today.

There are four types of gold mining. Panning by hand along the streams and rivers, Hard rock mining by digging tunnels into the ground and into the hills. Then, there was the Hydraulic Water Monitors used to wash the hills away under great pressure. Finally, there was the Gold Dredgers. La Grange is the only mining community in the eleven western states to have had all four aspects of gold mining in its district.

Wonderful history abounds with memories of the shootout, hangings, parties, dances, rodeo’s and annual homecoming events that was just a small part of a terrific mining town right in your back yard. We will see you Sunday, April 3rd. Do not forget to come up to La Grange every second Sunday, 7 am to 11 am for a great Miners Breakfast for only 6 gold nuggets ($6). Saddle up and join us for the fun.



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.