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Chamber Marks Town's Centennial
Although Riverbank was not incorporated until 1922, Chamber of Commerce officials claim it was founded in 1911 when a Charles Minniear began buying land for the Italian Colony Company and that same summer a Felix Raney arrived as agent of the Guy M Rush Company and started selling plots for the town site.

To celebrate the 100th birthday the Chamber published a pamphlet called 'The Riverbank Story 1850-1970' that was written in the 1970s by Florence Wilson Bessac and sold copies at the Saturday morning Farmer's Market in the downtown on Oct. 1 in addition to distributing 200 cupcakes.

Chamber official Milli Sanders said several hundred pamphlets were printed and they will remain on sale for $1 each through the chamber.

For the last farmer's market of the year, Riverbank Community Gardens Association leader and city councilmember Dotty Nygard also made it a harvest festival with tasting of fresh produce and games for the children such as the breaking open of a candy-filled piñata made in the shape of a Halloween pumpkin.

Meanwhile just around the corner from the Plaza del Rio, members of the Riverbank Historical Association opened the museum, invited visitors to look over its exhibits and reminisced on the town's beginnings.

Former fire chief Preston Tucker and longtime pharmacy owner Ron Smith sat chatting over the good old days. Former residents Tony Iriqui Jr. and Jorge Magana who now reside in Modesto examined antique photographs of Riverbank. Iriqui noted his family first came to Riverbank in 1951. Magana added his father was born here and he was raised in town.

Family members of Nat Garcia Sr. paid a visit. It was Garcia who in 1997 made and donated a model of the river ferry to the museum. It represented the Burneyville Ferry that carried men and goods back and forth across the Stanislaus River in the early 1860s long before a bridge was built.

Florence Bessac, in whose honor the Riverbank Library was named, began publishing the Riverbank News with her husband in 1922 and after his death in 1958 continued as publisher, reporter and business representative for 16 years. She championed several causes including the city's incorporation and dial telephone service in the 1950s.

"Riverbank as a town was created in 1911," she wrote. "It is young when compared to other towns in Stanislaus County or nearby counties. But Riverbank's comparative youth and freedom from hide-bound customs or too-deep rooted past, are two of the qualities which have appealed to people settling here."

"When the town was laid out in 1911, small acreages were sold and buyers, mostly from southern California, visualized an adequate income from a five or 10-acre plot of fruit trees, apricots, peaches, almonds or maybe chickens.

"At once two important buildings were erected, the King Hotel and the Bank Building" (finished around 1913).

"Immediately there were all the important and needed businesses here - a lumber yard, ice cream parlor, restaurant, gift shop, variety store, drug store, grocery stores and hay and grain stores."