Beautifully engraved certificate from the Turlock Irrigation District
issued in 1893. This historic document was printed by the H. S. Crocker Company SF and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a valley with a river and farmland and a large dam overflowing like a waterfall in the background. Embossed seal. Small vignettes of a bear’s head in the corners. This item has the signatures of the Company’s President, E. V. Cogswell and Secretary, R. M. Williams and C. N. Whitmore.
Stanislaus County land was originally a wilderness with natural grasses with deer, antelope, grizzly bear and coyote. It was only visited by Indians.
Settlement of Stanislaus county started in 1849 on the San Joaquin River. In 1854 the Tuolumne and Stanislaus River lands were occupied and cultivation began. The first thought or reference to irrigation was by Silas Wilcox, the county's first surveyor in 1854 when he made the suggestion of taking water from nearby rivers to use on crops.
Although the interest in irrigation goes back to the time of the county's organization, the actual use of irrigation began with the Modesto Irrigation District in 1878/1887 and the Turlock Irrigation District with the La Grange and Don Pedro Dams. The Turlock Irrigation District was the first irrigation district in the state and in 1923 became the first to provide electricity on a retail basis to customers within its 425-square-mile service area in Central California.
The Oakdale Irrigation District was the first organized after the State Legislature passed the Wright Act. The Oakdale Irrigation District was organized on November 1, 1909.
The Tullock System was purchased by the Oakdale Irrigation District and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District jointly in 1910 and plans were made to construct a dam on the Stanislaus River 16 miles east of Oakdale. This was called the Goodwin Dam and was finished in December 1912.