The county seat for Stanislaus County had its genesis in the 1870s with railroad expansion into the area. Still a vital center of commerce, the city welcomes thousands of employees each day to its offices, retail shops, and entertainment centers. Several business parks provide contemporary amenities and a strategic location in the central valley. Although the city has grown into a small metropolis of more than 200,000 residents, the community has preserved the warmth and friendliness of its roots. Greater traditions, a multicultural lifestyle, excellent educational opportunities, first-rate healthcare institutions, cultural attractions, and well-developed recreational opportunities create an unrivaled quality of life. Nestled in an area that boasts some of California's richest soil, the community offers everything from the perfume of orchard blossoms to farm-fresh goods in markets and roadside stands.