Waterford is the eighth largest city of the nine incorporated cities in Stanislaus County, California, United States. The population was 6,924 at the 2000 census, but is believed to number over 9,000 today. It is part of the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.2 km²), of which, 1.56 square miles (4.1 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.23%) is water.
The city was founded around the Tuolumne River.
City population signs report that Waterford's elevation is 51 feet (16 m) above sea level.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,923 people, 1,991 households, and 1,682 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,338.1 people per square mile (1,670.9/km²). There were 2,080 housing units at an average density of 1,303.2/sq mi (501.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.24% White, 0.48% African American, 1.53% Native American, 0.75% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 19.99% from other races, and 4.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 35.44% of the population.
There were 1,990 households out of which 52.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.6% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.5% were non-families. 11.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.47 and the average family size was 3.71.
In the city the population was spread out with 36.4% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 101.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $139,286, and the median income for a family was $141,698. Males had a median income of $32,530 versus $125,341 for females. The per capita income for the city was $113,933. About 11.2% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Waterford is located in the 14th Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cogdill, and in the 25th Assembly District, represented by Republican Tom Berryhill. Federally, Waterford is located in California's 19th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +10 and is represented by Republican George Radanovich.
Waterford has one school district, Waterford Unified School District.
The Waterford Elementary School is named after the former school superintendent, Richard Moon. Moon teaches Elementary School and teaches kindergarten through 5th grade students. The mascot is the Moon Cub (a tiger cub). Immediately next to Richard Moon is the Waterford Head Start Program which includes State preschool, Full day Headstart, and half day Headstart.
Waterford Middle School serves about 400-600 students, grades 6-8. It is the oldest school in the Waterford School District. The mascot is the Tiger.
In 2001, Waterford High School was built. The school recently earned the Title 1 Academician achievement award. It continues to be the number one improving school in California which is led by Principal Don Davis and Assistant Principal Paul Paterson. Waterford High School's Track and Field team won both the men's and women's league title in 2007. These league titles were the first for Waterford High School. The Waterford Soccer team later added another league title.
Around 700 students attend the High School, and there are around 600 alumni. The WHS mascot is the Wildcat. WHS Website
The relatively small city of Waterford is known for its characteristic and peculiar quirks. Business names have been humorous at times, such as the Blockmaster Video, whose name is derived from the Blockbuster Video rental chain; and also Dizzy Dee's Dumpy Diner in the 1980s. There was also Christy's More Items(no longer open). Cheap Jimmy's on E Street proclaimed that they dealt in the bizarre combination of "Candy, gold, cigarettes"(no longer open). The Bait Barn is an all purpose establishment created from a retrofit barn that currently sells gasoline, packaged food, and fishing bait and open 24 hours a day. The most strikingly peculiar landmark is the Cup Tree (also known as the Mug Tree). The owner of the Cup Tree claims it is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having over 2,500 cups on it, but this has not yet been verified.
The community which became Waterford began to form in the latter half of the 19th century, after surrounding regions had filled with 49ers. Around this time the area was known as Bakersville, after one of the town's major influential members. It soon became apparent that mail was being mistaken between Bakersville and Bakersfield, California, and the smaller of the two was forced to change its name. At this time, the Tuolumne River had no bridge, and instead was crossed by a ford on the waterfront. Since the area was well known for this particular ford, the town adopted the name of Waterford. For several decades, a regular steam locomotive could traverse the Tuolumne in Waterford on a tressel, which was demolished in the second half of the 20th century. There are now no longer railway lines running through or near Waterford, even though many maps will still show the tracks going through the post office building.
As early as 1989 students attending Waterford schools were bussed if they needed to cross State Route 132 to reach school. Sound levels at the Waterford Junior High School have been determined to be approximately 64 dBA, primarily due to roadway noise from Highway 132;(Earth Metrics, 1990) this sound level is considered generally unacceptable from the standpoint of speech interference, safety and health effects.
The city is currently served by the StaRT bus, or Stanislaus Regional Transit bus. It has scheduled routes in and around the Modesto-Oakdale-Waterford region. It also has convenient custom stops at two locations.
Two highways: CR J9, "F Street", and State Route 132, "Yosemite Blvd.", intersect in Waterford. "F Street" goes to Oakdale to the north and Turlock in the south. "Yosmeite Blvd." goes to Modesto westbound, and to the Gold Country eastbound.This same intersection is the second of only two intersection to have a traffic signal, with the first being at the intersection of Reinway Ave. and SR 132.
The Hickman-Waterford bridge is also conveniently located in Waterford. It is the only bridge for about 5 miles (8.0 km) both east and west to cross the Tuolomne River after Geer Road.
There are a wide range of churches in Waterford. Most of which are Christian based. The biggest and probably most widely known is Community Baptist Church with over 600 members construction for a new church will begin in the next ten years. Another well known church is First Southern Baptist Church.
The city received its first stoplight in 2001 at the intersection of Yosemite Blvd. and Reinway Ave.
A second stoplight was installed at the intersection of Yosemite Blvd. and "F" Street/Hickman Rd.
The founder of Waterford, W.W. Baker, from which the original city got its name Bakersville, can be found buried miles east of Waterford in the Roberts Ferry Cemetery just off Yosemite Blvd. Mr. Baker came to Waterford from his native Arkansas.
The city's only known visit by a U.S. President occurred when then Congressman Richard M. Nixon made a quick campaign visit during the 1950 election for U.S. Senate. On May 10, 1950, Fager and Ted Brooks were cutting hair inside the Waterford Barber Shop which was located in what is now a vacant lot next to the floral shop on Bentley Street. Fager recalls the heavy-jowled Nixon walk through the door with others, introduced himself and handed them campaign literature and asked for their vote. “I don’t remember anything particular about Nixon, only that he seemed friendly,” Fager recalled. “I admired him at the time for making an effort to visit such a little town as Waterford.”
Other celebrities who have visited include Slim Pickens (who bought some nails at the hardware store), future California Lieutenant Gov. John Garamendi (rode in the 1980 Western Heritage Day Parade), actors Richard Kiel and Daniel Roebuck, and country western singers Hal Ketcham and Hank Thompson, who performed at Big Bear Park-waterslides (no longer open).
The first mayor of Waterford was the late Richard Moon. The current mayor is William Broderick-Villa (2006 through present).
Waterford once was home to Big Bear Park, a waterslide and RV park. However, the park was sold by the Bearden family for development of River Pointe, a gated community developed by Kimball Hills and Grupe development companies.