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The Modesto Census County Division, which includes the cities of Ceres and Riverbank, had a population of 312,842 as of 2010 Modesto is located in the Central Valley, 90 miles (140 km) north of Fresno, 40 miles (64 km) north of Merced, California, 92 miles (148 km) east of San Francisco, 68 miles (109 km) south of the state capital of Sacramento, 66 miles (106 km) west of Yosemite National Park, and 24 miles (39 km) south of Stockton.Modesto has been honored as a Tree City USA numerous times.In this ranking, Modesto ranked 8th in housing affordability and travel time but also ranked 86th in job forecast growth and 99th in foreclosures.The City of Modesto was originally a stop on the railroad connecting Sacramento to Los Angeles.When Modesto was founded in 1870, it was to be named Ralston after financier William C. Ralston's modesty prompted him to ask that another name be found, and the town was named Modesto in recognition of his modesty.Modesto's population was over 1,000 residents in 1884.Modesto is served by the Modesto City-County Airport that lies east of California State Route 99 within the city limits.
Three public transit systems serve Modesto: Modesto Area Express (MAX), Sta RT, and the San Joaquin Regional Transit District along the northern edge of the city on Mc Henry Avenue.
The city's annual Architectural Festival honors Modesto's history as a testing ground for mid-century modern architecture during the 1940s and '50s.
Modesto's mid-century buildings have been featured four times in Museum of Modern Art publications.
The airport is used for manufacturing and the shipping industries throughout California and the United States.
Interstate 5 and California State Route 99 provide major highway access to Modesto.
Modesto also will be served by the future California High Speed Rail.