Today is the big 100th birthday bash for Modesto’s iconic “Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health” arch. A little history lesson about the arch which few people know, is that the words on the arch were the result of a contest held in 1912 and the words chosen were the second place winner. The first place winner was “Nobody’s Got Modesto’s Goat”. Then Mayor of Modesto, a Mr. Sol P. Elias, and the Modesto Business Men’s Association were “outraged over the judges’ choice” and successfully lobbied for the second place runner up.
One hundred years later, another Mayor of Modesto, Garrad Marsh, has suggested another arch – but this time, its for Salida. Several weeks ago, when Salida’s sense of community was brought up at a meeting while discussing the potential annexation, Mr. Marsh replied, “Well then, Salida could have an arch that says “Salida”, but they’ll still be Modesto”.
An arch is THE icon of Modesto. An arch in Salida would be a constant visual reminder for Salidans of what Salida has lost – our independence. And if Salida capitulates to the taxpayer boondoggle of annexation, and accepts an additional frittering-away of taxpayer dollars on an arch when Modesto is in dire need of more police and firefighters, then we should at least right a one-hundred year wrong and give James Hanscom’s tossed aside first place (slightly edited) entry its due on Salida’s arch with, “Modesto’s Got Salida’s Goat”.