Lodi Centennial Celebration: 1906-2006

Share your fondness of Lodi in a story for all to read and enjoy. 

Your Stories

The stories below have been shared by fellow Lodians -- family histories, remembrances of times past, great moments in Lodi history.  We hope that you will submit yours as well.

Making it Happen
By Richard Prima

As a Stockton native through high school (A.A. Stagg, '68), I thought of Lodi as the place with the Lake and the Stadium. Both have aged, but then, so have I. I wound up coming to Lodi - to stay as it turned out - when I returned to Stockton in 1975 to work in the City's Engineering Division, and moved to Lodi in 1981. After more than 30 years of work, raising a family and being involved in various activities, I look forward to another 30 years or so. (Well, not the work part for that long...) The people's desire and actions to make Lodi a good place to do these things is very special.

Lodi's Downtown has always been a fabulous place. From my early days with with the City to right now, Downtown has been great for walking around, shopping, eating and being entertained. I remember going to the Turnage Market, at Church & Pine where the City Hall parking lot is now, and having morning coffee. It seemed as if it was a staff meeting of many Department Heads and senior managers and I felt almost privileged to be there. We were often joined by Paul Zimmerman, who wrote a column at the News Sentinel. There was no need to issue press releases - we just told Paul!

Once commercial development started to take place on Lodi Avenue, Ham Lane and Kettleman Lane, Downtown always has, and probably always will, need care and attention. But many people have taken actions - not just talked - to keep Downtown going. Such things as:

  • Efforts to convince the Post Office to renovate the main office rather than build a new facility elsewhere.
  • Building and keeping public facilities Downtown, such as the Courts, City Hall, the Library and the Police Building.
  • Convincing the railroad to leave the depot intact when they considered tearing it down.
  • Forming the "United Downtown Improvement District" in the 1980's to reinvest in Downtown. Maybe the "hot tubs" weren't the greatest idea, but they did make it easier for pedestrians and it certainly generated some interest!
  • Renovating the Hotel Lodi (although I do miss the Tokay Players and the little theatre in the dining room.)
  • Keeping transportation facilities Downtown - Lodi Station - I clearly remember walking with the depot as it was moved across Pine Street. That was a mini event in itself, drawing hundreds to watch.
  • The "Central City Revitalization" project, which took a lot of discussion, public meetings at which hundreds of people participated, the phone bank to contact property owners who were being asked to foot part of the bill, the "Visualize ~ Revitalize" T-shirts and buttons. And, I'll never forget seeing the first yellow concrete come out of the mixer!
  • Building or renovating other properties for new or "reuse" - for example, the Toggery Men's Clothing became Hazel's (now Rosewood), a plumbing shop became a restaurant and is now School Street Bistro, and of course, the Lodi Stadium 12 Cinema. And there are many others.
  • Lodi's first "public art" project - the sandhill crane sculpture in the Lodi Station fountain.
  • Building Lodi's first, and probably not the last, parking structure.

So, I hope we keep "visualizing" a better place, but more importantly, work to make it happen!

Returning to Lodi
By: Elida L. Manna Harris

In 1940, I was born to parents that had lived here since 1914. The population of Lodi at that time was approximately 11,000 folks. I lived in the country, in a cute little house, to enjoy the blossoms in the spring and the rains in the winter.

I don't remember a lot of the early 40’s, but my parents lived on a farm in Acampo and we were raised with different kinds of animals, and even raised chickens. I was raised in a very simple life, but my parents made it so special for us (also with a sister and a brother). Both sets of grandparents, who originally came from Italy, lived nearby. Whether it was making mud pies, playing in the vineyard in the ditches, having many family get-togethers, or whatever, we were clothed and fed by very concerned parents. No computers, no cell phones, etc. Our lives were filled with love, fellowship, and time together at the kitchen table, doing family projects or making wonderful Italian foods.

My Father was a farmer (and owned a small winery in our yard) and my Mother a housewife. She was an excellent cook. They both showed us a lot of love. We participated in many of the local events growing up. The Lodi Grape & Wine Festival was a highlight, along with attending monthly dinners with parents at the Lodi Italian Club, active in Lodi Woman’s Club, and other fun things that were happening in Lodi in the 50's.

After I graduated, I moved to San Francisco where I totally enjoyed 35 years in the Bay Area.

I have moved "back home" (now more highly populated) and love this little town for so many reasons. I still have a Mother living here (nearly 90 years old) and brother and family, along with many wonderful friends. Our children and grandchildren come visit us and really love it here!

When I returned home to Lodi, my husband opened his shop in Lodi and loves being a part of this area too.

I love being involved in all Lodi activities and also the activities at Hutchins Street Square, where I presently am employed as a "part-time clerical floater."

It is so wonderful to run into folks that I have not seen for many, many years, and it feels like I never did leave Lovable, Livable Lodi.

May the upcoming years in this area be fun for all and participation in local events should be a highlight of all families. There are a lot of wonderful events presented here.

I am so proud to say that I was a graduate of Lodi High in 1958...those were the good old days!

Walking in Lodi
By Jacqueline L. Taylor

Slipping on my sneakers, I rise before the sun, eager to greet a fresh new day – a Saturday ritual that reaps its own rewards. Walking south, I’m able to make it to the Lodi Arch in time to see the golden bear sparkle with the dawn of the new day. I enjoy looking at the bungalow homes and quaint gardens located downtown, the fresh air delivered by the Delta breezes of the previous night.

Making my way east, I spot birds in the park, delighting in the rewards offered by the newly watered grass. Few others are out at this time of day, but for us there seems little reason to rush. There is plenty of time for a courteous nod and a morning greeting as we pass.

As I head north toward home, I enter the lake for a single lap. Filled with music, fireworks, and thousands of people on the Fourth of July, the park seems especially quiet and peaceful... the traffic here consists of geese swimming by as they primp their feathers in the warming sun.

Having finished another beautiful walk in Lodi, it occurs to me that in life we often come full circle. Raised in a small town, I left to make my way in the world, and eventually returned to my home... Lodi.