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Mural society: Working on railroad
Next project salutes linking east with west
Those who helped create the “Manteca Snow” mural on Manteca Avenue across from Library Park posed for a photo in October. - photo by Bulletin file photo
In the not-too-distant future if the San Joaquin County Rail Commission is successful, sleek high speed Altamont Commuter Express trains will pull out of downtown Manteca on a 55-minute journey to San Jose.

Riders will board and disembark at a transit station that the City of Manteca is now designing to build on Moffat Boulevard just east of South Main Street.

Before either one of those becomes a reality the Manteca Mural Society will have in place a major mural depicting the South County’s role in linking east with west back in 1869.

A mural depicting the last actual link of the transcontinental railroad will grace a wall near the transit station site. At least three potential sites are being considered.

The actual last segment of the transcontinental railroad between San Francisco and Omaha – the railroad crossing trestle at Mossdale – was completed in November of 1869 some seven months after the driving of the Golden Spike ceremonies in Promontory, Utah.

It is one of two mural projects now in the works. The second will be another community mural that will be located somewhere on the fringes of the core of downtown as the society moves toward its goal of spreading mural art on appropriate wall locations throughout Manteca.

There are already 10 major murals in place as part of the society’s effort to promote civic pride, history, and culture while creating a tourist attraction at the same time.
Manteca’s murals also grace the pages of a 186-page art book.

Kevin Bruce complied photos and text describing more than 250 murals found in 24 different California communities in the 186 pages of his book “Large Art in Small Places Discovering the California Mural Towns.”

Ten Speed Press is offering the full-color 10.5-inch by 7.25-inch paperback with flaps book for $24.95. Copies are available at the Manteca Visitors Center at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley.

The author divides the mural towns into six separate sections packaged so a day trip – or multiple day excursions – could be made with the routes he’s provided. There are also more detailed local maps showing exactly where you can find the murals in each community.
The Manteca section covers six pages and 10 murals. Two of the missing murals are perhaps the most striking murals of them all  – “The Cruise” that graces the northern facing wall of Accent Carpets in the 100 block of Main Street and “Manteca Snow” on Manteca Avenue across from Library Park. Both were left out due to publication deadlines.

A listing of the murals and the brief comments Bruce provided are as follows:

•CROSSROADS (At Main & Yosemite): In 1918 the intersection of Main and Yosemite was the crossroads of the small farming community. On clear days like the one when this photo was taken, the blue sky of the mural blends into the real sky.

: (200 block of East Yosemite in front of Legion Hall): The centerpiece is Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, east of Manteca. The rocks in front of the mural mimic the painted rocks in the foreground providing a transition between reality and illusion.

•PUMPKIN HARVEST (100 block of North Main Street): Manteca is one of the largest pumpkin growing regions in the state.

•GOLDEN GATEWAY TO MANTECA (200 block of West Yosemite): The mural reflects the proximity of San Francisco to Manteca. As the area has grown, Manteca has in some ways become a suburb of the greater Bay Area and its ties to San Francisco have become more evident.

•SERVICE ABOVE SELF: (100 block of North Maple Avenue): Rotary International’s 100th anniversary prompted the creation of this mural.

: (200 block of West Yosemite): Local volunteers created the mural over a weekend and there was plenty of reminiscing about dairy life.

(Library Park): The mural provides a whimsical look at Manteca through the eyes of children.

•FREE-FOR-ALL (100 block of South Manteca): A weekend project painted by volunteers, the mural was sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club and includes some of its special projects: fishing derbies, reading programs, and the local pumpkin fair.

•OUR BOUNTIFUL VALLEY: (100 block of Sycamore Avenue): The mural recognizes the wealth of California’s Central Valley and those who have contributed to it.
For more information go to the mural society at and the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau at