Produced by Jennifer Fischer
In the middle of
the great Central Valley lies the City of Stockton. Founded by German
immigrant Charles Weber, this land was originally lush grasslands and
dense oak groves. But with the discovery of gold in 1849, Weber's small
settlement was transformed into a major city almost overnight.
After the Gold Rush,
many California towns were abandoned, but Stockton flourished. The transition
from mining to farming, for Stockton's manufacturer's, wasn't a problem.
It was during this time that the great grain era began. The city led
the state in the processing of wheat and the manufacture of farm equipment.
The town grew steadily
through the late 1880's, but even bigger changes were just ahead. Not
long into the 20th century, Stockton lost two of its leading industries:
the Sperry Flour Company, and the Holt Manufacturing Company. With the
changing times, the need for workers increased. Although the city wasn't
immune to the Great Depression, local developments and good weather
for farmers eased the severity of those hard times.
to settle in Stockton. As World War Two approached, the city would once
again roll with the times and chance its economic focus, employing more
than ten thousand residents as ship builders.
From the Mexican
farm workers coming in during World War Two, to the influx of the South
East Asians from the Vietnam War, the city's changing demographics pose
many challenges for Stocktonians. As they take on the 21st Century,
many have a positive outlook, learning from mistakes of the past, with
high hopes for the future.