Modesto Heritage Links and Resources


Use these links and resources to help you with your research into Modesto’s heritage architecture and landscapes. Start your project by reading and completing the tasks in the Modesto Art Museum publication, Researching Your Modesto Property.

House Identification Resources and Catalogues

The Summer 2009 edition of the Stanislaus Historical Quarterly has an article about house architecture in the Modesto area from the 1870s to the early 20th century.

The Craftsman Style Guide

Aladdin Sales Catalogues 1906 – 1954

California Bungalows 1915

Montgomery Ward 1911

Montgomery Ward 1916

Model and Modern Bungalow Plans – California, c. 1911

Radford’s Artistic Bungalows 1908

Redwood Home Plans by California Architects 1925

Redwood Home Plans by California Architects 1927

Sears Catalog Homes

Stickley Craftsman Homes 1912

The Blue Book of California Bungalows c. 1920

Maps of Stanislaus County and Modesto

Historic Maps of Modesto Neighborhoods, Tracts, and Colonies

1906 Map of Stanislaus County a helpful map for finding out who might have owned your property in the early 20th century, particularly for areas still in the county.

1920 Map of Modesto

1930s Map of Modesto

Stanislaus County GIS Maps

Modesto GIS Maps and Parcel Information

Online Editions of City and County Print Resources:

Modesto Architecture Guides Five different tour guides to help you explore Modesto’s architectural heritage starting in the 19th century and continuing to the Modernist period.

Modesto Historic Structure Reports Various types of detailed reports on a growing collection of historic Modesto structures

History of Stanislaus County, The first history of Stanislaus County, by L.C. Branch, published by Elliott and Moore, San Francisco, 1881. Helpful popular resource for digging into the lives of mid 19th century county residents. The illustrations of 19th century houses and buildings are excellent.

A Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Merced, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa, California, by Lewis Publishing Company, 1892. Section on Modesto starts on page 120.

A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California, 1901, has short biographies of many Modesto residents.

History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley by James Miller Guinn (1905) provides interesting information about many late 19th century and early 20th century residents of Modesto and Stanislaus County.

History of Stanislaus County by George Tinkham was completed in 1921. A helpful popular resource for researching the lives of early 20th century residents of the county.

The Story of Stanislaus by John Bramhall, 1914, has interesting information about the county in the early 20th century. The photographs are worth seeing.

Stanislaus County 1902 promotional booklet produced to attract new residents to the county. Wonderful photographs.

Modesto, The Automobile Gateway to Yosemite 1913, published by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. This is a promotional booklet to attract residents to the city. More fun photographs.

Polk Husted Directory for Modesto, Turlock, & Stanislaus County, 1915 an excellent resource for discovering who lived where in 1915

Online Journals and Periodicals

These often mention building projects in Modesto including houses. Use search term Modesto or the name of an architect.

Architect and Engineer of California, 1905-1940s, Hathi Trust Digital Library

Daily Pacific Builder, 1907-1912, San Francisco Public Library

Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer 1909-1917, Hathi Trust Digital Library

Building & Industrial News, 1911-1914, San Francisco Public Library Site

Building & Engineering News , 1911-1930, Internet Archive

Arts and Architecture, 1912-1943, Hathi Trust Digital Library, AIA San Francisco

Southwest Builder and Contractor, 1917-1922, Hathi Trust Digital Library

Architect and Engineer 1920s-1950s, Internet Archive

Pacific Constructor, 1932-1939, Internet Archive

Local, State, and National Preservation Organizations

Modesto Landmark Preservation Program

National Trust for Historic Preservation

California Preservation Foundation

California Main Street Alliance

Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records

The Smithsonian has published this helpful guide to exploring your house history: House Detective: Finding History in Your Home

Other Helpful Web Resources

Googie Architecture Online

Online Archive of California

Identifying a Sears House