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Escalon Historical Society celebrates 20th Anniversary
Mary Loumena recalls how the origins of the Escalon Historical Society came about.

"It all started at my 50th class reunion," she remembered.

Loumena, a charter member of the group, was one of the hosts of the Escalon Historical Society and Museum's 20th anniversary celebration on Saturday, June 13.

People from throughout the community turned out.

The event opened with the unveiling of the large mural painted by Modesto artist Alexandra Riddle on the side of the museum building. Dorothy Miller, president of the organization, provided a history of the historical society and museum in the adjacent parking lot.

After the presentation the crowd headed into the museum, where they were met with songs from Sweet Harmony, a local a cappella community chorus, and were served cake and beverages.

Barbara Willis, who released a book about the history of Escalon last September, was also on hand to provide information.

Dan Swass of Escalon was one of the residents attending the celebration. Swass said he occasionally visits the museum, and has also donated items in the past.

"It's just changed so much," he noted.

The present location of the museum is the old Bengston's Dry Goods. "It was like a little Wal Mart," Miller said of the dry goods store.

Loumena said she and some her classmates were at their 50th class reunion when they observed the history of Escalon was being lost to time. She said a group quickly formed, and approached the City of Escalon for assistance.

"We went to the council with an idea for a museum, and they were all for it," she said.

Riddle, the artist, recently completed the mural that now adorns the outside wall of the museum. She said she worked off of about 30 photos to recreate a scene of Escalon's origins as a railroad community. It was her 25th mural.

What's next for the Escalon Historical Society and Museum?

"This is a farming community," Loumena noted. "We need to start collecting and preserving some of the farm equipment used in the past."