Turlock, California

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Turlock is a city in Stanislaus County, California, United States, part of the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 Census, Turlock had a total population of 55,810, the second-largest city in Stanislaus County. The city's recent rapid growth is evident in its current official population of 70,158.[1]



Turlock lies in the Stanislaus County, at 37°30′21″N 120°50′56″W / 37.50583°N 120.84889°W / 37.50583; -120.84889 (37.505725, -120.849019),[2] between Modesto, California and Merced, California, at the intersection of State Route 99 and State Route 165. It's elevation is about 31 m (101 ft) above MSL.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 13.3 square miles (34.4 km²),[2] all land.


Turlock was founded on December 22, 1871 by John William Mitchell. Construction of the Central Pacific Railroad at that time had reached a station designated to be named after Mitchell, but he declined the honor and suggested instead it be named after Turlough in County Mayo, Ireland. Thus, the new railroad town was named Turlock.

While it grew to be a relatively prosperous and busy hub of activity throughout the end of the 19th century, it was not incorporated as a city until February 15, 1908.[3] By that time intensive agricultural development surrounded most of the city (agriculture remains a major economic force in the region in current times). Turlock became known as the "Heart of the Valley" because of its agricultural production. In the 1930s Turlock was cited by Ripley's Believe It or Not as having the most churches per capita in the U.S.; this had partly to do with the variety of ethnic churches, which were established for the relatively small settler population. Various religious centers reflecting a diverse population, such as Sikh Gurdwaras, various Christian Assyrian churches, and many mainline Protestant, Mormon and Catholic churches have been built.

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