The Sturtevant Family History
Judd and Margaret Sturtevant moved to their Whitmore Ranch in Hughson in 1943. They had five children – Peter, Michael, Brook, Craig and Anne – and farmed peaches, walnuts and grapes for decades. Both cared deeply about Hughson and were involved with many community initiatives over the years. Judd was a Hughson farmer that tended land owned by Japanese families who were forced to relocate after Pearl Harbor. He was a founder of the Hughson Youth Center as well as president of the Lions Club and Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. Judd was instrumental in changes to Modesto Junior College’s agricultural curriculum and raising funds for the Hughson Community Senior Center. He also enjoyed a successful career in radio broadcasting. Margaret had a passion for music and education and served on the Hughson High School Board of Trustees and was a strong advocate of voter education. She co-founded the Hughson School of Arts and Reading is Fundamental program in the 1970’s and ran it for over 20 years. Margaret was Hughson’s “unofficial” historian and would drive around town with her reel to reel recorder to capture the recollections of long-time residents, now archived at the Historical Society and a photographic history of Hughson. She received many awards over the years recognizing her good works. Although they have passed away, the Hughson community will always remember Judd and Margaret.
The Beginning of Hughson Arboretum and Gardens
As their children grew, the Sturtevants envisioned transforming part of their land toward the development of an arboretum. After years of planning and preparation, the trees began being planted in 1994. The arboretum was to be a peaceful place where persons of all ages could go for relaxation or meditation and learn about plants and the environment. Management of the arboretum was set up in an ecologically sustainable manner. The arbor varieties included native trees, trees from many diverse habitats and featured trees of historical significance or rarity. Margaret’s wish was for the Hughson Arboretum and Gardens to be her lasting legacy to the community she loved. Thanks to all Judd’s hard work over the years, she was able to see her dream become a reality.