Take a drive east on Highway 88 out of Lodi. Keep your eyes open as you wind through vineyards and cattle pastures. Before you’ve gone 10 miles, you’ll encounter the quaint unincorporated community of Clements.
The main drag lasts just about a mile, filled with small shops, a drive-up burger joint and imposing brick buildings that have stood the test of time.
It’s easy to pass off the place as just another small town. The population runs about 700. But take a moment to wander down the side roads, and you’ll discover a few gems of country living.
On a nice day, residents and visitors flock to the Mokelumne River flowing just north of the town. Take North Mackville Road out to Stillman Magee Park and follow the walking trail to a shaded picnic area tucked under the bridge. There’s plenty of room for fishing, wading or getting a canoe in the water.
The park is home to the site of the former Lone Star Mill, a historical site near the river. Flat-bottomed cargo boats floated up the river to the mill, transporting ground grain to Stockton. The land belonged to Stillman Magee, who donated a tract of land a short ways up the road that has become a special piece of history and modern life: The Glen View Cemetery.
The cemetery harbors a handful of relocated pioneer graves dating back to the 1800s. Magee hailed from a town in Ireland called Glen View, and the people of Clements named the donated cemetery after his home. The property was deeded to the town in 1890, and the Glen View Cemetery Association was established five years later. To this day, the association is a nonprofit organization that keeps the grounds clean and manages cemetery finances.
Cattle and horsemanship are a way of life. Cattle and grain were hauled by rail from Clements out to the rest of the state and beyond. The Clements Buckaroos Arena is the former home of the world’s largest amatuer rodeo, the Clements Stampede, an annual event that has roots dating back to the 1940s. Junior rodeo events are still held there annually. Legacy Ranch, a racehorse training and breeding facility, sits just outside town on 145 acres.
Another historic site is Clements School. Originally built in 1879, the school is still standing. While it no longer serves students, the town will soon use the space as a community center.
Not To Miss:
Stillman Magee Park, where you can picnic or set out on a kayaking adventure.
The historic bell at Clements School
Clements Stampede summer rodeo
Key Contacts: Clements Firehouse: www.clementsfire.org; 209-759-3371