Wood Colony now has welcome signs, courtesy of the Stanislaus County Public Works Department.
A few months ago, residents of the farming area west of Modesto asked the county for the roadside welcome signs to better identify their community. Motorists won’t find a Main Street or housing tracts in Wood Colony. It does have a school, churches, a historic cemetery, farm-related businesses and a few thousand residents who enjoy the country lifestyle.
Steve Goldstein, a colony resident for 10 years, said the three welcome signs posted this week – on Beckwith Road just west of Highway 99, and on Dakota Avenue near Murphy Road and Maze Boulevard – should answer a question often asked about Wood Colony: Where is it?
“So many residents in and around Modesto have heard so much about Wood Colony in the last six or eight months through our appeals in the media, but I run into so many people who ask where Wood Colony is,” Goldstein said.
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County Public Works Director Matt Machado said the welcome signs for Wood Colony are not the traditional green, but instead are brown to convey the historical flavor of the community. The colony was settled by Old German Baptist Brethren a few years after the Civil War. The signs read, “Welcome to Wood Colony, Established 1869.”
Three more welcome signs also were posted for Salida on streets leading into the county’s largest unincorporated community. Supervisor Terry Withrow said they are needed to identify the boundaries of Salida, which has 13,722 residents.
Machado said the signage was approved through an administrative decision and cost less than $1,000 out of the county roads budget.
There is a political context for the signage as Wood Colony advocates appeal to Modesto to exclude their area from the city’s growth blueprints. Over the years, Modesto development has blurred the lines between the city and Salida, and vocal residents have actively opposed recent moves to explore annexation to Modesto.
Salida remains an unincorporated community despite several efforts to explore city incorporation since the 1980s.