History of Lathrop, California

History of Lathrop, California

I’m Ed Smith, a Lathrop car accident attorney. I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the history of Lathrop, California. It is an amazing example of perseverance and the pioneering spirit that makes this country great.

Lathrop: Promoting Economic Development

Lathrop, in San Joaquin County, lies close to Manteca with the San Joaquin River flowing through its middle. Interstate 5 and SR 120 are roads that connect Lathrop with nearby cities and towns. Located within the triangle formed by the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Stockton, Lathrop is an area that not only is growing but avidly promotes economic development.

Founding of Lathrop

The city was founded by former Governor Leland Stanford, who was one of the founders and president of the Central Pacific Railroad. Wanting the right-of-way to build the railroad through Stockton in 1867, as railroad crews blasted their way through the Sierra Nevada, he became frustrated with the indecisive Stockton officials who could not agree on which street the railroad line should follow. Stockton officials finally reached agreement on where the rail line should run early in 1868. By that time, Stanford’s crew had already begun grading and surveying a county road, 200 yards east of Stockton’s city limits. The railroad established the town of Lathrop in an area used for switching train cars. It was named Lathrop after Stanford’s wife, Jane, and Charles Lathrop, her brother.

The Beginnings of the Town

Early construction in the area included a roundhouse for train engines and machine shops to work on them. Lathrop grew quickly enough that by 1871 a post office was built to serve the town. That same year, the railroad constructed a large hotel to serve meals to passengers on trains that stopped in Lathrop. As the town grew, more hotels serving food were built. However, the railroad did not appreciate the competition, since passengers on the train preferred the cheaper meals offered by other hotels. At one point, the railroad used a sidetrack to park freight cars, blocking the way to other competitors.

Growth and Prosperity

By 1879, the city had three hotels, two restaurants and general stores, seven saloons, several blacksmith shops, a bakery, firefighting companies and a school that doubled as a meeting place for three churches. It also had a newspaper called the Railroad Journal and a Wells Fargo office.

Changes That Helped Form Modern-Day Lathrop

In 1886, the hotel belonging to the railroad burned. Following this, the railroad closed up in Lathrop and moved its terminus and roundhouses to Tracy, which almost dealt a deathblow to the city of Lathrop. During World War II, Lathrop’s location near the interstate and major railroads breathed life back into the town with industrial plants. During this period, the Sharpe Army Depot employed over 1,500 workers. Kaiser Magnesium also opened a plant that employed about 600 people to built airplane parts. In more recent years, the low housing prices have drawn home buyers from the Bay Area, which has made Lathrop’s population grow.


Attorney Ed Smith

Lathrop Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Lathrop car accident lawyer. Personal injuries are those that are caused by the negligence of another. If you have been injured, please call me at 209-227-1931 for free and friendly advice. Outside of Lathrop, call me toll free at 800-404-5400. You can also contact me by using my online form.

I am happy to have served the injured in California as a lawyer since 1982.

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