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Jackrabbit drives give way to housing developments

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Jackrabbit drives give way to housing developments

Victor Gully – a lifelong Manteca resident – shows a picture of himself when he was 19-years-old and a Merchant Marine on leave in Italy. Born in 1934, Gully has seem Manteca drastically change in ...


POSTED January 7, 2012 2:08 a.m.

Victor Gully grew up in a much different Manteca.

Born in 1934, he used to play on a hill that was eventually cleared to make way for East Union High School and remembers driving past the hog farm that now houses the Walgreens at the corner of Main Street and Louise Avenue.

And as a member of the Board of Directors at the Manteca Historical Society, every time he takes a stroll through the museum for a program or a maintenance project he gets a chance to relive some of the fascinating moments of Manteca’s illustrious past – back when irrigation canals ran through what are now the neighborhoods that spur off of downtown.

“We moved a lot, so I lived in a bunch of different places and I think that I went every school in town then,” Gully said. “But the city had a much different feel back then. The city limits used to start right on Alameda and everything beyond that was country, and even when we moved into the house we live in now in 1983 it was an area that was still part of the county.

“Almost all of that has changed now.”

During his young years living in a house across the street from what is now the Manteca Industrial Park, Gully recalls when all of the hunters in town would show up with their shotguns and embark on a “Jackrabbit Drive” – traversing the field and taking out as many of the quick hoppers as they could.

When he was a young teenager, Gully worked at the Beacon station that used to be at the corner of Alameda and Main Street for his brother in 1947 – recalling how he would have to pump the gas into a glass container before filling the tank of the car that came in for service.

When his family lived across the railroad tracks from Eckert Cold Storage, he would walk to class at Yosemite School until when in 7th grade a massive fire engulfed the historic building and destroyed the second story. The school is still in use by the Manteca Unified School District today, and while the site name has changed it still retains the original sign out front.

“I ended up spending an extra four months at Manteca High when that happened because Lincoln School wasn’t finished yet,” Gully said. “I used to go to Summer Home School as well, and there’s a picture in the museum from 1945 with me in it that I have to point out to people when we walk through there.

“Things have changed a lot, but we’ve got pictures of old time Manteca and that helps keep the memories.”

Gully lives in a home in the Lincoln Estates subdivision with his wife Maria. They’ve been married for 28 years.

— Jason Campbell

staff reporter

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