Last week’s Fast Talk gave readers a bit of local history about American Legion Post #168, noting the 100th anniversary of its founding in late 1919.

This week we examine the same month of December 1919, when Patterson overwhelmingly agreed on city incorporation. On Dec. 18 of that year, residents became Stanislaus County’s sixth city municipality by a margin of 136-47. It was their second vote on incorporation, the first having failed.

Prior to that, Patterson was a town that had no elected officials, no tax base, and no public services such as streets, parks, sewer, law enforcement, etc. To grow, incorporation was needed.

Local attorney William Logan, who had moved here in 1915, drew up the articles of corporation for both elections. He was a World War I veteran who went on to serve as Patterson’s city attorney for 53 years.

After county supervisors met the following Monday to ratify the vote, newly-elected officials met that same evening for the first time in the county’s Justice Court building (still standing) on South Third Street. It was to be used for a time as the first city hall.

Five local men were elected to the first Board of Trustees, now termed the City Council. C.J. Carlson, a local bank manager, was the top vote-getter, and at the first meeting was named chairman of the board, thus becoming the city’s first mayor. Other elected to the panel were W.H. Gilbert, J.M. Kerr, J.H. Evans and Robert Edwards. Most were local businessmen, and they were elected from among nine names on the ballot. James F. Donovan was elected clerk and Ole Torvend, running unopposed, was named treasurer.

The first board decided to meet only once a month. Its members put off the hiring of a city marshal until its January meeting.

Because the new city had no revenue in its coffers, the county agreed to advance Patterson funds to begin municipal operation.

And thus, although we consider the founding of this community as being in 1909 when property was subdivided by the Patterson Ranch Co., city government did not formalize and begin operation until 100 years ago this week.


Many long-time Patterson residents remember Ken Nordell, who owned and operated a jewelry business in our downtown for many years. Ken now lives in Turlock, where he will receive his 75-year Masonic membership pin this Friday. He has been a member of the Turlock lodge all these years, and we send him our congratulations. (He’s the only 75-year Mason I’ve ever met.)

News reports claim that our combative president put out no fewer than 123 tweets last Thursday. Obviously somebody is keeping count.

I don’t know about you, but I get sick and tired watching the same commercials aired over and over on the telly. I suggest a rule that prohibits showing the same commercial more that 10 times. If it hasn’t sold you by then, it’s not going to.

That proposed dam across the mouth of Del Puerto Creek where it runs out of the hills was the subject of interesting debate last week when a public meeting drew a large crowd. More questions will be asked (and hopefully answered) when another public meeting is held in mid-January.


Our Patterson area Persons of Maturity surely remember back decades ago when fog blanketed the West Side this time of year. Some days it was late morning before the white covering burned off.

Then came years seemingly without much fog – until last week when it reappeared.


When the 49ers and LV Raiders both lost at home last Sunday, fans were naturally deflated. Especially the Niners, who were heavily favored and after starting 8-0, fell to 3-3 in their last six games.

With the playoffs looming, that doesn’t bode well.


How about another Burma Shave sign:

No matter the price

No matter how new

The best safety device

In the car is you – Burma Shave

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

PI editor/publisher emeritus

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