Turlock, like many communities across America, can trace its early development to one individual. John William Mitchell, wheat producer and entrepreneur, brought the Southern Pacific Railroad and a depot to what would become Turlock. This transportation link was the catalyst that brought business proprietors and settlers to the area and changed the 1850s settlement into an organized town. At the turn of the 20th century, the Turlock Irrigation district, the first California district under the Wright Act of 1887, brought water to the valley. A dam and system of canals provided the needed resources for crop diversification and the development of agricultural industry that changed the small town into a culturally rich, successful city. This volume focuses on the evolution of Turlock from the 1850s to 1950s.