Fray Pedro Muñoz wrote about this place in his diary in 1806.
He was exploring the San Joaquin with Gabriel Moraga who named this place Arroyo de Santa Rita.
Well, “arroyo” in Spanish means “stream”, or “creek”, or “brook”, a natural waterway, but small.
In 1845 a land grant was issued for this place and it was called “Sanjon de Santa Rita.”
Well, “sanjon” is also a Spanish word, but it means “ditch”, and that’s not a fair translation.
Sanjon is actually a man-made trench dug for the purposes of irrigation.
This map shows the original design as the diversion of the mighty San Joaquin River, so the name seemed to be changing with the times.
In 1941 when they established a post office here, they left the name of Arroyo and Sanjon behind, and they called it a park.
But they kept the tribute to Santa Rita.
And so, Santa Rita Park is on the map of Merced County.
With Josh Dean behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.