There's a very special town in an episode of Rod Serling's classic television series, "The Twilight Zone," called Willoughby. It's a place of serenity, and old-fashioned values; it is, as it turns out, one person's idea of heaven, and he tries his best to get away from the real world to take a trip back in time to Willoughby.
Well, looking back at Modesto, California, from its early years to the present, we see that our city is a kind of Willoughby. Founded by the Central Pacific Railroad in 1870, it has never grown to be comfortable in its metropolitan status. Even as its boundaries have expanded with an influx of San Francisco Bay Area commuters, Modesto is still the quintessential small town. We are still rural, agricultural to the core, and never very cosmopolitan.
Someplace, deep inside us, we all long for the days when the roads were made of dirt; you could ride a bicycle in the middle of the street and not get run over; and horseless carriages were those newfangled things that got in the way of the horse and buggy.
Welcome back to Historic Modesto.