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The real story behind Manteca High Schools Pennebaker Softball Field
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Manteca High School’s softball field does not have any connection at all with the former Pennebaker Apartments in Manteca.

The clarification was provided by retired Lincoln Elementary School principal and Manteca Bulletin columnist Marion Elliott in an e-mail sent Friday, April 20.

In the story that ran in the paper Friday, it was mentioned that the school’s softball area was christened Pennebaker Field in honor of the owners of the Pennebaker Apartments in Manteca now known as the Sandpiper Apartments. That information was provided to me by school staff. Apparently, that was incorrect.

“In describing different parts of the Manteca High campus and their names, you mention that Pennebaker Field was named for the owner of the Pennebaker Apartments. That is not true. The Pennebaker Apartments are named for the street on which they are located,” clarified the retired school principal.

Elliott further explained, “Pennebaker Field, the current softball field at MHS, retained the name of the original football stadium located at that spot. That field was actually named for an early Manteca businessman who financed the installation of lights and turf on that football field in the early 1930s. Prior to that stadium improvement, Manteca High football teams played day games on the Manteca sandy loam dirt.”

He should know. As Manteca Planning Commissioner for many years, and as a longtime resident of the Family City, Elliott is privy to a lot of facts regarding the city and the many changes that have happened through its nearly a century history.

Much of the information contained in the list of areas and facilities on the Manteca High campus has been culled from memory, especially those that go back to the 1970s and earlier. A brochure, much like the one at the Manteca Historical Museum detailing the locations and stories behind the collection of murals in the city’s downtown area, sounds like a project whose time has come. It would make a nice Eagle Scout project, for example. I think that’s how the mural project’s walking map got started. Something similar to it with information encapsulating the backgrounds of the named areas at the city’s first high school campus would also be a good public relations vehicle for Manteca High. It would also make a nice reference brochure for every resident in the city, and visitors as well, not to mention reporters and editors.

To be sure though, Elliott stated that his information about how Manteca High’s Pennebaker Softball Field got its name can be confirmed by simply searching the Bulletin micro-film files. He also should know this fact because searching the paper’s micro-films is what he does every weekday at the newspaper, culling historical highlights that he then puts together into his column, Yesteryears, which is a favorite of many Bulletin readers.