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New book depicts Lathrops history
Pictured here in 1903 are business along Seventh Street between J and K Streets. - photo by Photo Contributed
LATHROP – Before there was Manteca, there was Lathrop.

Lathrop’s history – which started as a Central Pacific Railroad tent town in 1869 – is documented in photographs and text in the latest in the Arcadia Publishing series dubbed “Images of America.”

The compilation by Lathrop resident Jennifer Pyron, 32, offers an extensive photographic capsule of the community’s past as well as a glance at today. The 128-page soft cover book is available starting March 1 at area bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing at (888) 313-2665 or .

It is the latest in a series of books offering an extensive photographic history of Northern San Joaquin Valley communities including Lodi, Tracy, and Modesto.

“I hope this photographic history of Lathrop resurfaces stories of the town’s significant past and hope it educates and excites the community about the rich history its members share (as) residents of Lathrop,” Pyron is quoted as saying in an Arcadia press release.

Lathrop’s history is indeed significant.

That history includes:

•The first attempted modern-day settlement by non-natives when a group of 30 Mormon pioneers landed near Mossdale Crossing and then trekked six miles to the south to the confluence of the San Joaquin and Stanislaus rivers to establish New Hope in 1846. Floods destroyed the settlement after a year.

•The first ferry on the San Joaquin River was established at Mossdale Crossing in 1848.

•Modern-day Lathrop got its start in 1869 when Central Pacific Railroad started it as a canvas tent railroad town.

•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.

•California Supreme Court Justice David Terry was murdered on Aug. 14, 1889 in the dining room of the Railroad hotel.

•Lathrop was given its name by the engineer who laid out the railroads in the valley. He named it for a friend – Lathrop J. Tracy. It was also how Tracy got its name.

The book should appeal to railroad aficionados as it has a large number of early railroad photographs as Lathrop was a teeming railroad town.

For years, Lathrop was the largest city on the South County and not Manteca.

The book contains a foreword by former Lathrop Mayor Mac Freeman.