There is Only One Modesto USA


There is only one Modesto USA!
By Chris Murphy

Whomp bom a lu bop a whomp bam boom! This is the beat of classic rock and roll and Modesto USA felt that beat every weekend night when kids from all over central California used to cruise downtown Modesto on historic 10th and 11th Streets. Modesto USA was a classic American city and it remains classic today.

Where were you in ’62? Where were you in ’47? Where were you in ’53 ’65, ’79, ’83 or ’92? Modesto has an amazing history. No matter where you go, or what current events happen, one thing sets Modesto apart from every city in the entire universe; Modesto USA is the home of American Graffiti. Modesto is home to the people and places that created the stories that George Lucas told in his amazing ‘1973 movie. The Historic Cruise Route of 10th and 11th streets in downtown was where it all began and people around the world know Modesto. This is exciting and it should make every Modestan feel proud.

The Cruise was a simpler time. The police officers on the beat would write multitudes of tickets for illegal turns, lowered cars and excessive speeds for “dragging 10th”. The cruise from Burge’s Drive-In was underway in 1947 and evolved through the early 90s from downtown to out McHenry. Cruisers, frequented Al’s, Felix and Warren’s drive ins and drag raced from light to light, pranks were pulled everywhere with oil slicks and smoke shows but most of all, it was about hanging out for some harmless fun, going on dates and showing off your car. You could dance to Kent Witt and the Downbeats with Roddy Jackson at the California Ballroom or the Fable Room and the music of the day was broadcast by 1360 KFIV so we all shared the same soundtrack. Whether you had a Gene Winfield Candy Apple paint job, or your car was lowered and chopped, or even drove the family car, downtown Modesto was the place to be. If you were in the Faro’s, Road Rebels, or Century Toppers or one of the fraternities, or sororities or just enjoyed the night with your date, most cruisers agree that George Lucas got it right and the cruise in Modesto was just like the movie

Now it the time for the people of Modesto to spread the word around the world about how special we are. We need to fly our Graffiti flag and treasure our past so we can take our place in the future.

The Modesto Historic Cruise Route tells our story from the early days of the cruise and include agriculture, music, Modesto, radio, theatre, car club and George Lucas history on 25 kiosks ringing 10th and 11th Streets.

We all need to spread the word that we are Modesto USA and the spirit of American Graffiti lives on with MoBand, our parks, our people, places and Graffiti Summer.

We are a Classic American City.

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