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Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.)
The Modesto Irrigation District is located on the eastern side of the Great Valley about half way from North to South. The Great Valley is really two distinct river valleys further divided by lesser stream valleys. The Sacramento River Valley is about 500 miles long and forms the northern half; and the San Joaquin Valley is about 350 miles long and forms the southern half. For many practical purposes local residents of this great Valley call it the Sac-Joaquin Valley. There are no hills or mountains to separate these valleys so we may consider them as one.
The Sac-Joaquin Valley is almost ideal as far as irrigation is concerned. It is almost as flat as a table, dropping about 2-3 feet per mile toward the middle of the valley from the beginning of the valley proper westward to the Sacramento or San Joaquin River. The summers are long, hot, and cloudless; ideally suited to the ripening of tropic fruits.4 All the valley lacked was sufficient water. And the mountains now furnish that.
We shall consider the Modesto area as being the area north of the Tuolumne River to the Stanislaus River and from the San Joaquin River on the west to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. By the early settlers this area was called Paradise Valley.2 A town of Paradise existed for a few years, having been laid out by a Mr. Jon Mitchell about 1867-683 It gave up and moved a few miles east into the new town of Modesto soon after the latter was started in 1870.4<68/sup>
The Modesto Irrigation District now inclueds about 81,000 acres in the weatern part of this Paradise Valley.2 The land is almost flat, consisting of soils that are, as a whole, "light, the largest part of the area consisting of sandy loams and sands".3 The soil ideal for diversified agriculture, and it has now been proven that the soil types of Modesto District are best adapted to the applicaton of irrigation.4
Graham, Robert Malcomb. (1946). An epic of water and power : a history of the Modesto Irrigation District. University of the Pacific, Thesis. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/uop_etds/1043