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Name of historic figures may grace new Lathrop parks
paerk west

Two of the City of Lathrop’s newest parks could soon have names of historical importance based on the area’s history.

When the Lathrop City Council meets on Monday, June 8 at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive – at 7 p.m., they will discuss potentially naming the new Mossdale Neighborhood Park and the park in Stanford Crossing in Central Lathrop after two men whose decisions left a lasting impact on the growing community of more than 23,000 people.

The new park in the Mossdale development, Mossdale Community Park, sits on a 4.15 acre lot located at the corner of Inland Passage Way and Golden Spike Trail – serving the community not far from Lathrop’s own city complex. The city is proposing naming the park William S. Moss – a former riverboat captain from Ohio that arrived in California as part of the Gold Rush, arriving in San Francisco before making his way east and crossing a ferry over the San Joaquin River near Lathrop. According to the staff report prepared for the potential park renaming, Moss recognized the ferry as a business opportunity and negotiated its purchase from the owners and renamed it Moss’ Ferry.

It turned out to be a very fruitful move for Moss, who eventually returned to Ohio and sold off all of his holdings in the Midwest and returned to California with his family to settle on 10,000 newly purchased acres along the eastern bank of the San Joaquin River South of Stockton and named it Moss’ Dale.

That original land block includes the land that eventually became Lathrop’s Mossdale Crossing development.

Just north of Mossdale Landing in the Central Lathrop area – near Lathrop High School – the Stanford Crossing neighborhood park sits on a 4.13 acres site located on Locomotive Street adjacent to the Lathrop Generations Center – a park that will be joined to the existing facility.

If the council gives its blessing, the new park will be named after Leland and Jane Stanford, the wealthy railroad family that donated an 8,010 acre farm site in Palo Alto that would eventually become Stanford University – named after the couple’s only son lost to typhoid in 1884.

While Stanford played a prominent role in the construction of the transcontinental railroad – hammering in the golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah – the final section that connected the coasts wasn’t completed until later that year when work crews finished the bridge over the San Joaquin River at Mossdale Crossing. As was customary at that time, the railroad company named the landmarks along the map where the track passed through and given the area’s importance towards completing the massive project, Stanford renamed the small community not far from the bridge site – which was known at the time as Wilson’s Crossing – after the family name of his wife, who was born Jane Lathrop.

Monday’s meeting marks the first time in months that attendance and participation in the meeting via teleconference is not mandatory – giving the public the opportunity to speak on the record at Lathrop City Hall if they so choose. Participating via teleconference is still available as an option for those who wish to speak or follow the meeting remotely, and additional information about how to access the interface can be found by visiting the City of Lathrop’s website at


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.