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New mural keeps track of history

Highlighting Manteca’s history, culture, and economy are among the goals of the Manteca Mural Society.

The organization’s  seventh Mural in a Weekend project taking place this weekend during the Manteca Pumpkin Fair does just that by portraying the final link of the Transcontinental Railroad being completed at the nearby Mossdale Crossing on Sept. 8, 1869.

But it is also a nod to the history and economy of downtown that grew up along the valley mainline of the Southern Pacific Railroad that is now owned by Union Pacific.

The mural design by muralist Dave Gordon is being painted by volunteers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday is on the east facing wall of The Spin Cycle in the 100 block of East Yosemite Avenue in downtown Manteca. It is less than two blocks north of the Manteca Transit Center where Altamont Corridor Express passenger trains are targeted to start stopping in 2024. It is three blocks east of Manteca’s original Southern Pacific depot that once stood on the north side of Yosemite Avenue where Library Park is today. 

The Mural Society was founded in 2002 as the outgrowth of the Manteca Vision 2020 Task Force plan’s vision for downtown that has been partially implemented not only with the mural public arts endeavor but also building the transit center with space to serve as a community gathering place, expansion of Library Park, the creating of mini-plazas in front of the Legion hall and in the 100 block of North Maple Avenue, and installing Tidewater-style street lights and traffic signals along with street furniture.

The final link in the 1,800-mile transcontinental railroad was not at the much-celebrated meeting of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific on May 10, 1869 at Promontory, Utah where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific track building efforts met each other. It was at Mossdale Crossing on the San Joaquin River.

Building on the last link of the Transcontinental Railroad simultaneously started from the Bay Area and Sacramento and met at the San Joaquin River. The first train crossed the bridge on Sept. 8, 1869.

For several months in 1869, a passenger would board a train in New York City and travel west until they reached Mossdale. At that point, they would unload their luggage, cross the river by ferry, and board another train on the other side of the river before the trestle was completed.

The brass plaque depicting that historic event — California Registered Historical Landmark No. 780-7 — has since been stolen from the stone monument on the north side of Mossdale Crossing along Manthey Road.

Other Mural in the Weekend murals include “Pitching Pumpkins”, “Manteca Snow”, “The Family Center”, “Our Bountiful Valley”, “Free for All” and “Cow-munity.” That is in addition to two murals painted exclusively by children that adorn the outside walls of the Library park restroom building.

Manteca is nearing 40 murals overall.

For more information and to sign-up visit or call Gayl Wilson at (209) 825-4700 or email her at 

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email