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Chico, California: Then & Now

Welcome to Chico, California, a flourishing city dedicated to preserving its past and preparing for its future.

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Current-day Chico’s original inhabitants were the Maidu Indians, with the first-recorded European settlers arriving in 1832. General John Bidwell, a native of New York, joined an expedition of settlers heading west in the early 1840s and soon arrived in the Chico Creek area. Noticing the potential, Bidwell purchased acreage along Chico Creek in the mid- to late-1840s, opened the first store and ultimately founded Chico in 1860 (the city later incorporated in 1872).

Today, this Northern California city is home to nearly 87,000 people, with another 19,000 residing in the adjacent urban, unincorporated area—bringing the total urban area population to nearly 106,000. Its ideal location within the Northern Sacramento Valley places it approximately 90 minutes north of Sacramento and three hours northeast of San Francisco—making it a fantastic place for both residential living and business ventures.

Chico has strived to maintain its strong sense of community, while simultaneously establishing itself as a dynamic regional center for business, education, recreation and culture. Over the years, Chico has garnered recognition among the “Best Places in America” by Forbes magazine, the “Best Places to Retire” by U.S. News & World Report and its dedication to the environment has landed it acknowledgement as the “Best Green Places to Live” by Country Home Magazine and the “10 Greenest Colleges in America” at Chico State by U.S. News & World Report.

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