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Thank-you reception for museum set Nov. 15

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Thank-you reception for museum set Nov. 15

Manteca Historical Society treasurer Mark Abram shows off the new exterior work on the museum. An appreciation reception takes place Sunday, Nov. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. for those who helped with the ...

DENNIS WYATT/The Bulletin


POSTED November 5, 2009 3:09 a.m.
You’ll find a replica of the beloved Manteca High bell tower within its walls as well as parts of the old Manteca railroad station and the original Manteca phone company.

At 8,200 square feet, the Manteca Historical Society Museum is a depository of the community through the ages. It will continue to be a secure home for everything from the “Towering Inferno” poster salvaged the night the El Rey Theater burned to remnants of a 19th century household thanks to a just completed exterior renovation.

Plastic siding was replaced with stucco and painted as part of the project costing more than $65,000 that included a $30,000 infusion of Manteca Redevelopment Agency funds. The majority was funded with donations given in honor of all remembered deceased.

The renovation will be celebrated Sunday, Nov. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the museum located at 600 W. Yosemite Avenue. It will include refreshments and entertainment.

The building that houses the museum was built in 1917 as the Methodist Episcopal Church at the corner of  Yosemite and Sequoia avenues.

It wasn’t the original choice for the museum but it ended up being the one that best fit the needs of the society that traces its beginnings back to the spring of 1989.

It started with a core group of 25 people that eventually adopted the group’s mission statement: “To establish a place where people could gather to share memories, heritage; to preserve and store photographs and other artifacts for future generations to enjoy.”

The group purchased the old Christian Science Reading Room – later known as the Boy Scout Hut - in the 200 block of Poplar Avenue adjacent to the tennis courts. It soon became clear it was way too small based on the amount of artifacts the group was collecting.

In April of 1992 they inked a deal to buy the old church. An infusion of $90,000 in RDA funds and a $50,000 anonymous gift allowed remodeling needed to make the building work as a museum to proceed. The remake also included a new roof.

The museum opened in July 1992 and by the end of 1995 recorded 10,000 visitors.

An adjoining house was bought allowing the society in 1999 to dedicate a new parking lot and eventually add the memorial Building that houses numerous artifacts including farming implements and the City of Manteca’s 1927 LaFrance fire engine.

More than 55,000 people have visited the museum since it opened 17 years ago.
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