Patterson's history on display again
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Sep 13, 2012 | 1106 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Supporters of Patterson’s rich and unique historical past will gather this evening (Thursday) when a re-opening party will take place in our downtown museum to celebrate its major renovation.

The event is a fundraiser of the Patterson Township Historical Society, which has operated the museum in the city-owned Center Building since 1978. Food and beverages will be offered.

The structure itself is Patterson’s very first commercial building, and after its completion in early 1910, it became the sales office for Patterson Irrigated Farms as well as our first post office.

Many of Patterson’s earliest photos are on display in the museum, as well hundreds of items dating back nearly a century. The displays include Patterson schools, military, agriculture, Del Puerto Canyon, business, El Solyo Ranch, kitchen items, household items, Portuguese, the Apricot Fiesta, organizations and special events.

One new display, completed just this week by Soroptimist Club members, features local wedding dresses by the decade. Several displays will be changed regularly.

The local Lions, Rotary and Soroptimist clubs have contributed greatly to the renovation project, the first time in some 20 years that the interior of the building has been improved.

Then this Sunday afternoon, the museum will be open 1 to 4 p.m., and Pattersonites young and old are invited to stop by. No admission to the museum is charged. It will soon open with regular hours to be announced.


Might I suggest a 60-mile hike in the Bay Area, across the Golden Gate Bridge and over the steep ups and downs of San Francisco.

That’s what 41-year-old Tammy Rodney of Patterson accomplished last Friday through Sunday, accompanied by her sister-in-law, Cindy Anderson of Manteca. They were participating in Susan G. Komen organization event to raise funds for the battle against breast cancer. The entry fee was $2,300 a person, and Tammy raised much of hers right here in Patterson.

Twenty miles of walking a day, requiring seven hours or more, for three days. How did it go?

“After the first day, I felt horrible,” Tammy said this week. But she also termed the event “amazing” and already has signed up to participate a second time around next June.

She was motivated by a couple of factors, including the cancer deaths of her grandmother and her husband Bryan’s mother Mary, the latter a long-time Patterson resident.

The other reason was very personal. After weight-loss stomach surgery last October, Tammy has lost no less than 93 pounds and would like to lose 15 more. That gave her strong motivation to begin training six months before the Bay Area event, first using a treadmill. Her longest training walk in one day was 17 miles, and she was accompanied some days by friend Beth Reyna.

And Tammy did exceptionally well on the long walk. The participants number more than 1,300 on Friday, but that figure had dropped to 820 on Saturday and 700 on Sunday. Tammy finished among the first 145 on Saturday and 300 the final day. Participants were offered plenty of sweets and carbs, which Tammy had to decline because of her surgery.

Medical personnel were available, and severely burned lips that became infected by Sunday nearly pulled the local woman from the event. Others fared worse. On the first day one woman fell, requiring 14 stitches in her head, yet returned and finished the course.

At our house, Housemate was heard to comment, “Let’s try that next year.” I hope she enjoys herself.


A while back it was mentioned in this column that Patterson High School will soon turn 100. Whether that notable occasion will be officially observed remains to be determined by those (if any) interested in such matters.

Patterson voters formed a tax district for a local high school in 1913. Soon thereafter, they again went to the polls and passed a bond issue to construct a building.

The construction commenced the next year and was finished in the spring of 1915. The first senior class of six graduates received their diplomas that June.

We knew that prior to the completion of the new building, high school classes met in the Patterson Grammar School building, later renamed Las Palmas School. But what has not been known is that in September 1912, just 100 years ago this week, classes were held at the new Presbyterian Church for freshmen and sophomores. Rev. A.S. Mason served as the teacher, and even offered Latin instruction to an elementary school teacher.

I assume the good pastor was unpaid since there was not yet a tax district to cut him a check.

If you happened to be a junior or senior, you had to arrange your own transportation to Orestimba High in Newman.


Last week’s back-to-school class assignment was just a warm-up for you readers to get on your thinking caps. Now we get down to some serious learning and you are asked to answer these two questions. Answers are at the end of this column.

1. They say that change is inevitable, but when is it not?

2. Why should Congressmen wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers?


New rules I hope to see:

1. In field goal situations in football, no time outs could be called when the center touches the ball. These ‘freezing the kicker’ delays are annoying.

2. In baseball, no adjusting the batting gloves after the first pitch to the batter. With many batters, it’s a habit that needs to be broken. If gloves need to be tightened, some company should invent new ones. Otherwise, do away with batting gloves. They weren’t worn 100 years ago.

Wow! How’s this for a start? All three PHS football teams – varsity, jayvee and freshmen -- have 3-0 records, with none of their games particularly close. Has this ever happened?

But “biggies” loom, starting this Friday at Escalon. In league play the Tigers will face both Los Banos and Central Catholic here at home, plus a good Livingston team and improved Pacheco.

And while the so-called experts figure that Escalon and Ripon will fight it out for the Trans-Valley League title, I think Hilmar will be right in there.

My alma mater, Iowa State, is on a roll, having beaten Tulsa to open the season and then trouncing rival Iowa last weekend, 9-6. That should put the Cyclones in the Top 10 or at least the Top 25 heading into a Saturday game against a tough opponent, the Western Illinois Leathernecks, known to be tough in the trenches. Got it?

At that point, the Cyclones should call it a season. However, they’ll still have to face Kansas State and Oklahoma at home and Oklahoma State and Texas on the road. Watch the obituaries.

To the NFL: Do whatever you have to do to get your regular game officials back on the field. The pros are just too much for your subs to handle.


Answers to those two questions above:

1. When change should come from a vending machine.

2. So that we could identify their corporate sponsors.

Oh, we’ll toss in one more for good measure. What is a soldier called who survived mustard gas and pepper spray? A seasoned veteran.

But of course you knew that.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

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