Lodi recently turned 110 years old at the end of 2016, but it only grows stronger and wiser with age. The city’s rich heritage is preserved and celebrated at several spots in town, including museums and public art. Here are a few suggested stops for history buffs.
San Joaquin Museum
One facility, bursting with stories and artifacts, is the San Joaquin County Historical Society & Museum. This museum, at Micke Grove Park, showcases life all the way back to when Lodi was founded. Particularly interesting is that it charts the progression from the area’s first farmer all the way to modern agriculture. Displays include hand tools and equipment through the years. The museum boasts eight exhibit buildings and four historic buildings, including the 1848 Weber house and the 1866 Calaveras School.
Hill House Museum
This turn-of-the-century Victorian – built and owned by famous early-Lodians George and Mary Hill – is filled with many of the original furnishings and artifacts. Docent-led tours that include tales of the life and times of the Hill family are offered on Sundays.
Although great pains were taken to keep the house true to the times, it isn’t set in its original place. In 1948, the house was moved about six blocks. It traveled from School Street to its current location: 826 South Church. At that point, some changes were mandated in order to bring the house up to code, and an upstairs room was added.
Lodi All-Veterans Plaza Memorial
The area between city hall and Carnegie Forum has been transformed into a state-of-the-art living tribute to our nation’s veterans. The plaza, which was dedicated in 2002, incorporates various artistic elements, representing service and sacrifice to our country. The 21.5-foot stainless steel obelisk honors courage and graces the plaza entrance. As you enter the plaza, 13 granite stones are engraved with poetry from both historical figures as well as local artists. An eternal flame (representing valor and sacrifice) burns in the center of a 16-foot-tall curved granite wall, which serves as a backdrop for a beautiful waterfall.
The city commissioned the “pack” of highly-skilled and world-renowned Walldog painters to create nine murals throughout town during a three-day birthday celebration in 2006. Some of the murals depict Lodi’s earlier days, such as one titled “Lodi: A Century Past.”
For a list of many of Lodi’s historically significant dates, visit www.lodi.gov/city-council/history.html.