Star Wars trek: Modesto - March 2001

Star Wars stories

It seemed to be my mission in 2001 to track down all things Lucas and that wouldn't be complete without first visiting where it all began, Modesto, California. I actually went to High School nearby in Hilmar and lived 20 minutes away in Turlock for several years but never bothered tracking any of these spots down until after I moved away. My parents were still in the area so it seemed perfect to pay them a visit and ride around a little looking for these places.

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There are lots of points of interest in Modesto since Lucas was born and raised here. To start off though you might as well see the George Lucas Plaza Statue dedicated in 1997. Located at the entrance to the downtown area at "five points" (the intersection of Downey, 17th Street, McHenry Avenue, J Street and Needham Avenue). By the Denny's at 110 McHenry Ave.
Thomas Downey High School, 1000 Coffee Road, Modesto, CA 95355
John Muir Elementary School, 1215 Lucern Avenue, Modesto, CA 95350
Roosevelt Junior High School, 1330 College Avenue, Modesto, CA 95350
Modesto Junior College, 435 College Avenue, Modesto, CA 95350
He decided to attend Modesto Junior College before enrolling in the University of Southern California film school. - Biography
George Lucas born and grew up 530 Ramona, Modesto until 1958.
"House on Ramona is a single story frame house...later they built a back addition on the house" - Skywalking
"Lucas' house at 821 Sylvan Road in Modesto" - Modesto Bee, June 13, 1962
"moved out to a ranch style house set on thirteen acres of walnut trees" - Skywalking
"In about 1957 the family moved to the seclusion of a walnut ranch on the edge of town." - Empire Building
"accident happened turning into his parents driveway from Sylvan road" ... "He was taken to Modesto City Hospital". - The Making of ROTJ
"Mr. and Mrs. George Lucas (Sr.) live in a spacious home at the side of a Del Rio Country Club green." - Modesto Bee, June 5, 1977
"George jr. spent a lot of time souping up his Fiat at a Modesto garage called Foreign Car Service and also raced it at the go-cart track behind the garage" - Empire Building
"He joined his greaser friends at a hamburger joint called the Round Table, across the street from Downey High." - Skywalking
"He and his friends also cruised other areas in addition to the principal loop that went up 10th street and down 11th street." - Skywalking
"He became an active member of the Ecurie AWOL Sports Car Competition Club, a local hotbed of racing enthusiasts." - Skywalking
"Barge's on 9th st. is accepted as the model for Mel's Drive-In in American Graffiti" - Modesto Bee, June 28, 1982
He was studying at the downtown library before..."deciding to go home, George drove east on Sylvan Road through Modesto's scraggly pastureland"..."As he neared the Lucas Ranch, George began to make the left turn onto the short dirt road that led up to the house."..."the ambulance sped the five miles to the local hosptial" - Skywalking
Modesto Library that Lucas used is now called the McHenry Museum, 1402 I Street, Modesto, CA 95354
More American Graffiti - "The Vietnam sequences were filmed in the Sacramento Delta, midway between Stockton and Modesto" - Skywalking
Thomas Downey High School 20th class reunion held at the Modesto Elks Lodge - Skywalking
Elks Lodge, 945 McHenry Avenue, Modesto, CA 95350
There were quotes in 2 books that mentioned a church that Lucas attended but I'm not sure which one exactly. It would probably be easy to guess if someone looked into it more to find out which one was around back then and closest to his house.
George Jr. "was forced to attend the local Methodist Church" - Empire Building
"Till sometimes took him and Wendy with her on Sundays to the German Lutheran church she attended." - Biography
I got an email from a guy named JC that said this - "One tidbit you won't find on the internet is Lucas' youthful bravado with his Fiat. He had a tiny one, probably a 650 or an 850 (as in cc's). He had bolted on an Abarth muffler, or something similar, which was the next thing to a straight pipe. He'd sit at the light in front of Downey High, revving the engine then dropping the clutch. Of course, it was too underpowered to peel out, but he would wind it up unmercifully through the gears as he headed north on Coffee road towards where he lived, blaring exhaust sound all the way."
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