Real Estate and community informationTurlock, California became a prosperous hub of activity in the late 1800s but the city was not incorporated until 1908. Agricultural development surrounded the city at the time and is still a major economic force in the area. The initial immigrants to the area were Swedish, and the town was originally supposed to be known as Sierra. However, it was believed that there would be confusion with the mountains and county with the same name. Despite the large number of Swedish immigrants in the area, it is believed the name Turlock came from the word “turlough,” an Irish dry lake.
The town was initially founded in 1871 by John William Mitchell who owned 100,000 acres of land that stretched from Keyes to Atwater. By the 1890s, Turlock had three hotels, restaurant, three general stores, a tin shop and many other thriving businesses. As word spread about the thriving town, more immigrants arrived, bringing with them additional farming and business skills. In addition, the variety of cultures led to an increased number of churches. At one time, Turlock was said to have the largest number of churches for a city of its size in the country. Many of the churches were small, ethnic churches created by the immigrant populations in the town. The town later became the “Heart of the Valley” due to its high agricultural production.
By 1930, approximately 20 percent of Turlock’s population was Assyrian, mostly due to the agricultural sector. The Assyrian population was so large, one section of the town became known as Little Urmia, referring to the region of Iran where they came from originally. During World War II, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock was used as a Japanese “assembly center,” where over 3,600 Japanese-Americans were held.
Today, Turlock has a population of more than 70,000 and is the second largest city in Stanislaus County.
California State University, Stanislaus
California State University opened a campus in Turlock in 1960, helping spur growth in the town. The college sits on a 228-acre campus in the city’s historic Magnolia District. It is widely recognized for its dedicated faculty and high-quality educational programs. The school opened as Stanislaus State College in 1960 with fewer than 800 students on the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. It moved to its current location in 1965 and gained university status in 1986. Today, the college has more than 400,000 students and is part of the largest, most diverse university system in the United States.
Carnegie Arts Center
Turlock recently restored and expanded the original Carnegie Library, which was built in 1916. The library now houses two large exhibition galleries, a multi-use performing arts space and kitchen. The dramatic lobby and outdoor gathering areas are used for special events throughout the year. There is also a state-of-the-art visual arts center and there are many classes, performances, lectures and more held at the Carnegie Arts Center. It is located at 250 North Broadway Street in Turlock.
There are many agricultural attractions surrounding Turlock. Beekman & Beekman is a five-generation farm and apiary on Geer Road. The farm offers tastings of varietal honeys and wines made with premium honey. The Pageo Lavender Farm, located on Golf Link Road, is a pesticide-free and eco-friendly farm that uses reclaimed wood and metal for the handmade gifts they offer. They also offer specialty soaps and lotions made with herbs grown on the farm as well as coffee, tea and lemonade, all made with farm products.
Turlock Poker Room
Known as the “Biggest Little Card room in California,” Turlock Poker room has fourteen tables in a Las Vegas style atmosphere. The room offers a venue that is designed for beginners, intermediate and professional players. The Turlock Poker Room is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week. There are also free classes for beginners each Thursday and Friday from 7 to 9 PM. The Turlock Poker room is located at 2321 West Main Street, just off of Highway 99.
History lovers will find many activities in Turlock. The Turlock Historical Museum is located in the heart of historical downtown Turlock. The museum is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with free admission. Visitors and residents can return to an era when trains were the premiere mode of travel in the area. The Sierra Railroad was formed in 1897 to connect the Central Valley to the Gold Country. It is the third oldest railroad in North America and it continues operation today. The Historic Sierra Railroad Dinner Train offers a sunset dinner ride every Saturday, traveling from Oakdale to the foothills.
There are many different activities available in Turlock and it is an excellent area to raise a family, with outstanding schools, low crime rates and a booming housing market. Contact Karen Cadinha to learn about the excellent housing options available in Turlock.