Chico is the most populous city in Butte County, California, United States. Take a look below for 20 fascinating and interesting facts about Chico, California, United States.
1. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 101,475, reflecting an increase of 15,288 from the 86,187 counted in the 2010 Census, and making it the largest California city north of Sacramento.
2. Following the 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed much of the neighboring town of Paradise, the population of Chico surged as many people who lost their homes in the fire moved to Chico.
3. In 2019, the US Census Bureau estimated the population of Chico was 103, 301.
4. The city is the cultural, economic, and educational center of the northern Sacramento Valley and home to both California State University, Chico and Bidwell Park, the country’s 26th largest municipal park and the 13th largest municipally-owned park.
5. Bidwell Park makes up over 17% of the city.
6. Other cities in the Chico Metropolitan Area (population 211,632) include Paradise and Oroville, while local towns and villages (unincorporated areas) include Durham, Cohasset, Dayton, Nord, and Forest Ranch.
7. The Chico Metropolitan Area is the 14th largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in California.
8. The nickname “City of Roses” appears on the Seal of the City of Chico.
9. The city has long been called the “City of Trees”, and has been designated a Tree City USA for 31 years by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
10. The first known inhabitants of the area now known as Chico—a Spanish word meaning “little”—were the Mechoopda Maidu Native Americans.
11. The City of Chico was founded in 1860 by John Bidwell, a member of one of the first wagon trains to reach California in 1843.
12. During the American Civil War, Camp Bidwell (named for John Bidwell, by then a Brigadier General of the California Militia), was established a mile outside Chico, by Lt. Col. A. E. Hooker with a company of cavalry and two of infantry, on August 26, 1863.
13. By early 1865 it was being referred to as Camp Chico when a post called Camp Bidwell was established in northeast California, later to be Fort Bidwell.
14. The city became incorporated January 8, 1872.
15. Chico is often called the Paris of California as well as the Rome of California. Chico was home to a significant Chinese American community when it was first incorporated, but arsonists burned Chico’s Chinatown in February 1886, driving Chinese Americans out of town.
16. Historian W.H. “Old Hutch” Hutchinson identified five events as the most seminal in Chico history. They included the arrival of John Bidwell in 1850, the arrival of the California and Oregon Railroad in 1870, the establishment in 1887 of the Northern Branch of the State Normal School, which later became California State University, Chico (Chico State), the purchase of the Sierra Lumber Company by the Diamond Match Company in 1900, and the development of the Army Air Base, which is now the Chico Municipal Airport.
17. Several other significant events have unfolded in Chico more recently. These include the construction and relocation of Route 99E through town in the early 1960s, the founding of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in 1979—what would become one of the top breweries in the nation—and the establishment of a “Green Line” on the western city limits as protection of agricultural lands.
18. Chico is the site of Bidwell Park, the ninth-largest municipally-owned park in the United States, Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park, the Chico University Arboretum.
19. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, the largest craft brewer in the U.S., is based in Chico.
20. Chico has the tallest building north of Sacramento in California: Whitney Hall, a nine-story dormitory on the Chico State college campus.