The City of Modesto, is the county seat and largest city of Stanislaus County, California. With a population of over 200,000 at the 2010 census, it is the 18th largest city in the state of California and forms part of the Modesto–Merced combined Statistical Area. The Modesto Census County Division, which includes the cities of Ceres and Riverbank, had a population of over 300,000 as of 2010.
Modesto is located in the Central Valley, 68 miles south of the California state capital of Sacramento. Modesto has the won the honor of a Tree City USA multiple times. It is surrounded by lucious farmland. Stanislaus County ranks sixth among California counties in farm production. Led by milk, almonds, chickens, walnuts, and corn silage, the county grossed nearly $3.1 billion in agricultural production in 2011. The farm-to-table movement plays a central role in Modesto living as in the Central Valley.
Filmmaker George Lucas, who was born in Modesto, graduated from Thomas Downey High School in 1962 and attended Modesto Junior College, immortalized the city in his award-winning 1973 film American Graffiti. Although it was not actually shot in Modesto, the film portrayed the spirit of cruising and friendship on Modesto's 10th and 11th Streets in 1962, and inspired a revival of interest in 1950s pop culture, including the TV show Happy Days and its spin-offs. You can read more about this in our blog post.
The city's annual Architectural Festival honors Modesto's history as a testing ground for mid-century modern architecture during the 1940s and '50s. Modesto's mid-century buildings have been featured four times in Museum of Modern Art publications. People interested in architecture will definitely want to check out the famous McHenry Mansion.
Do you remember the funny and popular Bartles & James commercials (Gallo)? Modesto is the home of Gallo Family Winery, the largest privately owned winery in the world.