Manteca Historical Society

The Manteca Historical Society, founded in 1990 as a non-profit organization, has made great strides in providing a local historical museum in Manteca, California. The museum is a fascinating learning facility for people of all ages. The museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts, documents, and thousands of photographs. Visit the museum on a regular basis and bring a friend!



The early settlers in California’s central valley saw their beginnings as centered on farming. Due to a lack of rain in the summers, wheat was the primary crop in the early days. Manteca got its start in the early 1900s when farmland was cheap and new irrigation methods, the Historya railway, and the river-system all held promise for growing multiple crops and getting them to market. A farming boom began, with almonds, alfalfa, grapes, pumpkins, walnuts, and other crops. Dairy operations became a reality as well. With the availability of SSJID irrigation water in 1913, many would begin to prosper.



Native Americans


Yokuts tribes inhabited the San Joaquin Valley, stretching from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta south to Bakersfield. They also lived in the Sierra Nevada mountain range’s adjacent foothills, as well as the Coast Range’s foothills. They were thought to have had one of the largest regional populations in early North America, and they spoke the same language. Though there was conflict in the Central Valley in the early nineteenth century between Miwok people and new settlers, the Museum exhibit honors our Native Californians.




The Southern Pacific Railroad was the first to provide a vital transit link to ship milk to San Francisco and produce and sugar to East Coast markets. The Tidewater Southern, which served this area, began freight service from Taylor Street in Stockton to Modesto in October 1912.


1927 LAFrance Fire Engine


Manteca’s first brand new fire engine #876, is housed at the Museum and is still used for special occasions and parades in celebration of those who served to protect our citizens.


Delicato Vineyards


Delicato Family Vineyards, founded in 1924 by Gasparé Indelicato, has contributed to Manteca’s reputation as a destination spot for nearly 90 years. Today, the third generation of Indelicato family members carry on Gasparé’s original vision. Grapes are one of the area’s most important crops. A vintage display can be found in the museum, and their tasting room can be found not far away along Highway 99 at French Camp Road!


Dentist Office


A 1930’s vintage state-of-the-art dentist chair owned and used by Dr.Lloyd Henry is displayed at the museum. Donated by Dr. Richard Cuevas.


D2 Caterpillar Tractor


The Frank Avilla Family used this original 40″ narrow gauge Tracklayer 3400 with its massive 38 HP engine in the fields around Manteca and Roberts Island. Rhonda Avilla made the donation. “Privy” Rustic Outhouse, circa 1939. This was a well-known part of farm and even city life at one time, built by Jim Tocco to replace another. Ed and Margaret Tocco-Sequejra made the donation.


Goodwin Ranch Blacksmith Shop


A complete display from the Goodwin Ranch, with some items dating back to Benjamin Goodwin, the pioneer, who the Goodwin Dam was later named after. Donated by Ben and Neva Goodwin.




Agriculture was and continues to be an important part of the Manteca economy. A 1949 Ford Model 8N Tractor is shown, which was first sold to Harvey Smith by M & J Tractor Co., who then sold it to Frank Mendes in 1961. Ray Mendes restored it, and it is now on display at the Museum.


Spreckles Sugar Company


One of the first large companies to locate in Manteca, the Spreckles Sugar’s Manteca Factory No. 2, was a part of the community for nearly 80 years. Now named Spreckles Park, the re-developed southeast area of town continues to provide jobs in retail, agriculture, warehousing, medical and housing, while preserving the brand of its namesake, which shared an important role in Manteca’s history.

Gift Shop


The Museum Gift Shop is brimming with gifts ranging from collectibles to memorabilia. The proceeds from Gift Shop items go directly to the Museum’s operations, so please shop frequently for your gifts throughout the year! The Gift Shop is open during Museum hours and also sells gifts at special Museum events throughout the year.




Why should you become a member? Visitors to the museum include schoolchildren, families, government and business officials, and tourists. The Museum teaches us all about our history! The Museum receives no government funding for its operations. Citizens and businesses who provide annual membership dues, as well as memorial donations and other fund-raising events, keep the doors open. The Museum has a large number of Volunteers who handle the majority of the business of running and maintaining the Museum, but keeping the Museum open costs money. Thank you for your consideration and assistance in preserving our history! Your membership entitles you to unlimited visits and a 10% discount.

San Joaquin County in California is blessed to have some amazing attractions you shouldn’t miss on your next trip. Here’s a short list of some of our favorites:


  • Haggin Museum
  • Micke Grove Zoo
  • Wonders of World Science Museum
  • Oak Farm Vineyards
  • Oak Grove Regional Park
  • Spenker Family Farm
  • M2 Wines
  • Manteca Historical Society
  • Estate Crush


After visiting these amazing places make sure to stop by Remote Fill Systems on Murphy Parkway in Lodi and say “Hi!”