About California, PA

About California, PA

California Borough is a community of approximately 5200 people that covers nearly 13 square miles of land. California was founded in 1849 and incorporated as a Borough in 1853. It is named after the state of California because the town’s founding coincided with the California Gold Rush of 1849. Naming the town after the state was meant to symbolize our town’s future growth and prosperity.

The current Borough of California is actually made up of two separate communities. In 1953, California Borough and East Pike Run Township merged, leaving only California Borough.

Founded in 1852, California is also home to California University of Pennsylvania, a nationally accredited institution. California has recently undergone new industrial development in the California Technology Park, providing jobs and economic prosperity to the region. Through development like this, California is sure to have a bright future.

History at a Glance

  • California had two other suggested names when it was founded, Columbia and Sagamore.
  • The first burgess (later called mayor) of California was Solomon Sibbitt.
  • California’s Vigilant Mine once produced the world’s largest single lump of coal.
  • Vesta #4 in California was the largest soft coal mine in the world when it opened in 1893.
  • California was home to the Eberman & McFall Boatyard. Some of the boats produced at this yard saw action in the Civil War. The former site of the boatyard is near where the California Public Library now stands.
  • The California Public Library is housed in a railroad depot built by the Pittsburgh, Virginia, & Charleston Railroad. It became a library in 1958.
  • Union Telephone Co. began California’s first phone service in 1903.
  • The Arlington Hotel is rumored to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves on their way to Canada. The building currently serves as an apartment building and is also home to several businesses. It is located at the intersection of Union and Second Streets.
  • The first house in California is still standing. It is located next door to the California Post Office.
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