HistoryView – Preserve our History

By Harrison Power

With the New Year of 2022 officially here, that means that 2021 is in the history books! Many of us hoped that 2021 would allow us to get back to some semblance of pre-pandemic life, but with 2022 now underway, we will hopefully have the resources and community support to get things going again in a safe and healthy matter. As we move into 2022, and as things hopefully continue to safely return, Modestans have an opportunity to re-commit to civic engagement and re-engage our passions in the community – both for continued city planning and for local landmark preservation.

Using the start of the new year as a point of reflection and optimistic planning, we can see plenty of opportunities for the community and the City to commit to preservation efforts and to keep the overall conversation of preservation active. The City of Modesto Landmark Preservation Commission has not met recently, but hopefully 2022 will allow for the business of the Commission to carry on and for opportunities to arise where community members can present potential considerations for city efforts.

Modesto has a wonderful list of designated city landmarks, all with their own unique contributions to Modesto’s history and the lives of prior generations. One of these places, McClure Country Place built in 1882 and designated a landmark in 1991, has spent the last several years being fenced off with conditions that have deteriorated putting the structure at risk. This landmark home, with its long local history, deserves a new lease on life and has the potential to become a true showpiece of civic pride.

With the variety of architectural styles and rich history in Modesto, there are many buildings in the city not deemed landmarks that have important contributions to the progression of our city and our community fabric. With the ongoing master planning of downtown underway, the handful of buildings dotting the Modesto skyline not currently designated as landmarks warrant the attention and appreciation they deserve as local historical structures. For instance, the Beaty Building has been at the heart of downtown since the 1920’s, was the first building in Modesto to have an elevator and was one of the most modern buildings in the Valley at the time. Modesto’s Fire House Number 1, built in 1939, is the City’s oldest firehouse in use and the only one with a functional fire pole. These places, and others like them, are tangible parts of Modesto’s history that have lasted and remained part of the Modesto story today. Some structures that passionate community members love may not meet the checklist of requirements for formal landmark designation, but even then, there ought to be a way for these iconic sites to be acknowledged and protected for their contributions to the lives and memories of Modestans.

From past experience, great strides and successes have been made when there are group partnerships to formulate and energize preservation efforts. As we start of 2022 with fresh eyes and optimism, take a moment to think about the places in Modesto that meant something to you growing up, or a building that caught your eye when you first moved here – chances are there are others like you with the same appreciation and desire to see it saved. Connect with us: hpower@spwg.com<mailto:hpower@spwg.com>

Posted in: news

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.