Frank Hardy Made My Photographs Two

Modesto, CA in the 1950’s …

with 12 comments

This image is one of downtown Modesto, CA in the 1950’s that my father made on one of his trips out west to visit his sister.  I know nothing about Modesto and have never been there myself, so I do not have any information about this photograph.  Modesto looked to be a fairly thriving town during this era … WW II having been over for ten years or so and all the soldiers returning home looking to start families and buying homes.  This being California, I am sure that there must have been defense contractors in this area that added to the local economy … maybe even a military base or two, they seem to be all over California.  Anyone that has anything to offer about Modesto, please feel free to post … this image is one that I had posted on the old site also.  Thanks for looking …

Written by Frank Hardy

July 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

Posted in California

Tagged with ,

12 Responses

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  1. Just came across your site. Loved reading the nostalgia comments.
    I was born and raised here and STILL live here! My grandmother worked as a pastry chef at the Covell back in the 40’s. I remember shopping downtown when Sears and JCpenney were there. Also, Loeb’s, Peggy’s Dress Shop, Priesters, and Woolworth’s.
    But the one thing I wish I could find info on is Playland, which was on Kansas Ave, where Bordens used to be. It’s the place where we kids would get dropped off and swim almost every day!
    Thanks for the wonderful photo. It’s the decade I was born and I love that it takes me back….


    Debbie Callas

    February 25, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    • Thanks for the comment Debbie. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have never been to Modesto and my father never mentioned anything about traveling through on one of his trips to visit his sister in California. These Modesto photos have received the most comments over the years that I have had these blogs on my father’s photography. We just traveled out to Southern California this past Christmas to visit our daughter and her family, but the furthest north we went was to Los Angeles. As far as the businesses that you mentioned, you might want to try a place like the Modesto Historical Society or something like that. Most all large cities have them and they are a great source for photos, publications, audio-visual presentations, etc, etc. I also have found that it is best to go to these places in person and not try to get information over the telephone. Also, if there is a college in area, a lot of people donate their photography collections, files and other information for safekeeping. Thanks again for commenting … I am sorry that I could not be more help. Frank


      Frank Hardy

      February 28, 2016 at 10:36 am

  2. see page you know you grew up in Modesto when / Facebook


    Madell Juanece Scudder

    February 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm

  3. I loved that area, having moved there in 1952, when my father took a job on a dairy farm south of town, this same dairyman raised turkeys, lots of turkeys raised in that area in the 1950’s . .

    I graduated from one of the local high schools in 1955 and then went into the navy, that area changed a lot from 1952 till 1960, – when I got out of the navy, it didn’t seem like the same place, so I soon moved to Reno Nev. – got a good job in the Aero-Space Ind. & have lived there ever since . .


    Dean Simar

    August 11, 2012 at 12:52 am

    • Dean – Thanks for the comment. I have never been to Modesto and my father never mentioned having been when he was alive, so he must have just passed through town on his way to Los Angeles to visit his sister. I cannot believe all the comments that I have received from these Modesto images since I started this blog several years ago. Thanks again for looking … Frank


      Frank Hardy

      August 14, 2012 at 10:47 am

  4. This is 11th and J streets in Downtown Modesto. The JCPenney building on the left hand corner now houses the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, the drugstore on the right hand corner now houses Tresetti’s World Caffe and multiple other little shops and bistros. Hotel Covell has been rebuilt into a huge building [which is now 1010 10th street], and the building across the street from the old JCPenney building is now Galetto’s Ristorante.


    Robyn Meyers

    December 9, 2011 at 11:45 am

    • Thanks for comment and information … my father must have passed through Modesto in the 1950’s. He never mentioned it and he died several years ago. I found the negatives of the town when I was cleaning out his some of his negative files and thought that it is an interesting view of the town. I believe I have one or two others and I will try to locate them. Thanks again for viewing and taking the time to comment … Frank



      December 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

  5. Oh, and there was an Air Force Base in Merced (not sure if that is still there or not)



    August 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    • Adrian – Thanks for the comments. I know nothing about Modesto, CA. My father must have passed through in the 1950’s after visiting Yosemite, maybe, or some other national park out west. He lived in Pensacola Florida and would travel out west to visit his sister in LA. Being a photographer, he visited the parks and made photographs and then would end up in LA. I discovered these negatives years ago and did nothing with them. I eventually scanned and cleaned the images up and decided to post them, hoping to find out info about the images / town. Anything you have to offer is appreciated … thanks again – Frank



      August 26, 2011 at 8:37 am

  6. There was a working plant (something Depot), that hired mechanics to work on equipment post WWII in Ripon, near Modesto, might even still be there. Many worked there. They also worked for Montgomery Wards, JC Penneys (seen in the pic as Penneys, that was located at the corner of 11th & J St, and Wards was on 10th st between J & K st, and Sears was on the corner of 10th & K (we think).
    Some also worked for TriValley Canery, and another one who’s name is escaping us at the moment.
    The biggest employers were dairy, ranching, and retail business.
    Oh, and Woolworths was across the street from Montgomery Wards, Toppers Jewelry on corner of 10th and J…and Sutton Shoes, Hartfields and Anitas, all stores in that area at the time…corner stores at 10th & J. Wow, my mom is waxing nostalgic here. LOL! A smoke shop, and a drug store, and shoe shiner, and two banks on the corners of 10th & I.

    My parents grew up there!



    August 25, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    • yes i remember all those things my folk’s moved there in the 40s bought property from Dr mcfeters and built there home worked at ship yards in stocton ca and drove back and forth till canneries opened up . they worked for Susy bell tell they retired lived the rest of there lives there till dad died and mom moved to Arkansas when Alzheimer came to her . she is now 93 i am 73 my time in Modesto was cherished and many good and not so good memories life is wonderful isn’t
      it .


      Madell Juanece Scudder

      February 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      • Thanks for the comments … I wish I had some type of response to your comment, but since I have never been to Modesto or never knew that my father went there until after he died, all of this is new to me. One of these days I hope to make it out that way again. Please check back … Frank


        Frank Hardy

        February 5, 2014 at 8:33 am

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