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Vintage Modesto


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Modesto offers a wide variety of architecture from its downtown Victorians with their Italianate and Queen Anne influence to the upscale Renaissance Revival in the Hintze-Fairmont area, the California Bungalows in Enslen Park, Mission Revival designs found in the College area and the hint of Frank Lloyd Wright designs found in the La Loma neighborhood.

The wide variety of architecture has changed over time and has been influenced by style, available material and technology. Interspersed with those highlighted below you will find sprawling Ranch style homes with long front porches, the Colonial style with columns, Arts and Crafts and Art Deco with its 50’s futuristic look and Cottage style homes that were designed to mimic cozy French cottages.

Use this section of the web site to learn more about specific Vintage Modesto neighborhoods:

Graceada Park

The GRACEADA neighborhood in Modesto is a reflection of many of the first homes built in the downtown area that were derived from Victorian architecture including the McHenry Mansion built in 1883 with its Italianate influences.

Another popular influence was the flamboyant Queen Anne style which was popular from the 1860’s to early 1900’s. Victorian homes are typically two-stories with round or square towers, wrap-around porches, wall surfaces textured with ornately designed shingles and gingerbread cutouts at the eaves. Some will have turrets and bay windows.

One of the most famous homes in the Graceada neighborhood, and still standing today, is the Hawke Castle. Built in 1929 on Magnolia Avenue near Needham in the Norman style it was the home of Ed Hawke, the manager of J.C.Penny.

Enslen Park

Another style of homes popular from the 20’s to the 50’s was the California Bungalow. This can be seen in many residences in the ENSLEN PARK area.

The bungalow style is derived from homes in Bengal, India called bangla which were built by British soldiers as summer homes.

Bungalow homes feature space-efficient floor plans, low-pitched roof with a horizontal shape and often a gable over the main entrance, living rooms in the center, connecting rooms without hallways, built-in china hutches, cabinets, desks, shelves and seats.

Many of these homes in Modesto feature a covered patio surrounded by low walls and steps leading to the street.

Hintze-Fairmont

Also popular in the early 1900’s in Modesto and found in many homes in the Hintze-Fairmont neighborhood is the Renaissance Revival style which is evident in what is now the McHenry Museum but was originally built as the city library and given to the City of Modesto in 1912 by the Oramil McHenry family.

It can also be seen in the El Viejo Post Office located on I Street which was built in 1933. The post office was closed over a year ago and today the building is simply known as The El Viejo.

La Loma

There are many homes that were built in the mid 1900’s in the LA LOMA area that were inspired by the organic architecture that Frank Lloyd Wright was well-known for.

One inspiration may have been the Usonian style home and furnishings that Wright designed which was commissioned by Robert and Mary Walton and completed in 1957 in an agricultural area of Modesto. This style is usually a single-story home with flat roofs and over-hangs, using native materials.

Wright’s design was generally an “L” shape to fit around a garden area so that the many windows he incorporated into the home mirrored the natural area outside to the one he liked to create inside. He coined the phrase “carport” and used them for a car to park under instead of building a garage onto his Usonian designed homes.

College

Built between 1930 and 1970, the COLLEGE area offers a variety of homes including Ranch style, California Bungalow and Mission Revival. The Mission Revival style was made popular in Modesto in the early 1900’s and is a reflection of the Spanish missions in California.

This style can still be seen in the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot on Ninth and I Streets. This building was built in 1915 for the Southern Pacific Railroad, formally the Central Railroad, and is now used as the city’s transportation center. Although it has been restored, it is still shows evidence of Mission Revival architecture with its stucco siding and roof parapet’s rising from the long arcade.