The Central Valley: Places to Explore

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Modesto

Modesto, a gateway to Yosemite and the southern reaches of the Gold Country, was founded in 1870 to serve the Central Pacific Railroad. The frontier town was originally to be named Ralston, after a railroad baron, but as the story goes, he modestly declined—thus the name Modesto. The Stanislaus County seat, a tree-lined city of 201,000, is perhaps best known as the site of the annual Modesto Invitational Track Meet and Relays and the birthplace of producer-director George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars film series.

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