By March 2, 2016 Read More →

ArchitectureView – Modesto Landmarks

Modesto Landmarks
By Barrett Lipomi

March is often the month where seasons start to change in Modesto and our residents get outdoors to enjoy all that our town has to offer. So I thought this would be a great month to encourage you to get out and explore the amazing historic buildings and sites in Modesto. Did you know that the City has designated 59 Landmark Preservation Sites? Several of them you would likely recognize; the McHenry Mansion or the former downtown post office for example. However, there are numerous other historic sites and structures that have likely gone unnoticed by many.

Of the 59 landmarks in Modesto the majority of them are within downtown and the Graceada Park neighborhood. This makes for an amazing opportunity to bike or walk these historic neighborhoods and take in wonderful examples of early 20th century architecture. In fact, the Modesto Art Museum has hosted guided tours through these neighborhoods and currently has self-guided tours available to download for free online at:

Ten of Modesto’s landmarks date back to the nineteenth century. One of my favorite surviving buildings from this era is the former Modesto News Herald Building at 726 10th street. This rectangular cut-stone building was built in 1894 and is Modesto’s oldest commercial structure still housing a business. Another landmark from the nineteenth century that you may have passed by and not noticed is the Turner Hitching post which dates back to 1871. Take a walk down 14th street between K and L streets and see if you can find it.

As you walk through the Graceada Park neighborhood, be sure to visit the park itself. Graceada Park, which was donated in 1914, is a city landmark and was designed by John McLaren, who was also the designer of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Graceada Park has a tree of such significance that it too has been designated a landmark. The Bunya Bunya tree located on the southeastern side of the park rises nearly 120’ tall and was a gift from the Native Sons of the Golden West in 1916.

There is an amazing history housed in each one of these great community landmarks. I encourage you walk around downtown and through our historic neighborhoods and take in these wonderful structures and sites. Most of the landmarks are designated with a special tile, so get out there and see how many you can discover. Post pictures of your discoveries on your social media sites and share with friends! (#modestoview) If you are interested in finding more about Modesto’s Landmarks, visit the McHenry Museum at 1401 I Street.

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