|— census-designated place —|
|San Luis Obispo County and the state of California|
|County||San Luis Obispo|
|• Total||8.508 sq mi (22.037 km2)|
|• Land||8.508 sq mi (22.037 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2) 0%|
|Elevation||43 ft (13 m)|
|• Density||710/sq mi ( 270/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature ID||1652683|
Cambria is a seaside village located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the California State Route 1 (Highway 1). The name Cambria was settled upon in 1869 (previously the town had gone by the names of Slabtown, Rosaville, San Simeon and Santa Rosa).
Local tribes 
Earliest human settlement of this area is associated with prehistoric habitation by the Native American Chumash peoples, who exploited marine resources along the coastal area, with emphasis upon sites that were streamside in nature.
Although our recorded history of the tribes in this region does not begin until explorers and missionaries arrived, there is evidence that there were many tribal settlements in the area that was to become Cambria. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 thrived in the area in the 1000 years before the Spanish arrived. Some experts believe these tribes were migratory and used Cambria as a seasonal settlement, while others are convinced that they lived there permanently. Most agree that they feasted on shellfish and seafood on the coast, as well as traveling inland to hunt and gather seeds. A variety of artistically-crafted implements have been discovered, including obsidian spears and arrowheads; basalt, sandstone, and granite mortars and pestles; soapstone kettles; and stone hammers. They were skilled basket and net makers and fashioned jewelry from crab claws, abalone shells, and the teeth of sharks and whales. The presence of soapstone (steatite) provides evidence that they traded with the Catalina Island tribes, while the lack of metals and glass indicated they did not trade with Europeans or Asiatics.
Evidence exists to allow experts to conclude that Cambria tribes were gentle, generous, and peaceful, and that they lived simply. Their family bonds were strong, and they exhibited great love and patience toward their children. They were also noted for their extreme cleanliness in handling and preparing food and possessed an advanced knowledge of medicinal herbs. For entertainment, they enjoyed music and had a passion for gambling.
Early settlers and quicksilver 
The first recorded European visit was in 1769, when the Portola expedition passed this way. The Spanish camped near the present site of the Coast Union High School, on Santa Rosa Creek, on September 10, 1769, and again on December 24-25, spending the first European Christmas in what became Cambria. The Spanish soldiers named the site El Osito, as the local Chumash people offered the party a young pet bear (which they declined). Gifts of food (pinole and fish) were particularly welcome on their return journey, as supplies were running short. 
Cambria is located on the Rancho Santa Rosa Mexican land grant given in 1841 Julian Estrada.
Settlers were drawn to the area by its fertile lands, streams, and lumber. Additionally, miners were attracted to the area by the 1862 discovery of cinnabar, the mineral in which quicksilver is found. For awhile, Cambria was a boomtown, with $280,000 worth of quicksilver shipped out of San Simeon between 1867-70.
For awhile, Cambria was a mining boom town, and prospectors flooded the area. Over 150 claims were filed in the early 1870s. The most successful of these claims, the Oceanic Quicksilver Mining Company, soon employed 300 and was the largest mine in the area and the sixth largest in the world. Three modern furnaces were built, seven tunnels completed, and stock jumped to $30 a share. Hopes were high, and Cambria residents dreamed of wealth. Unfortunately, by 1878, mercury prices had fallen, and Cambria's first boom ended.  As mercury prices fluctuated, Cambria's mining thrived, and dwindled. During its boom in 1876, $282,832 in quicksilver was produced; four years later, production totaled only $6,760. A devastating fire in 1889 virtually ended this boom/bust cycle, and Cambria settled into a quiet dairying community. 
Originally an American settlement called Slab Town, it was centered at Leffingwell cove of today's north Moonstone Beach, which also housed a wharf. As lumber, ranching and Quicksilver (mercury) mining increased in the area, the village adopted the more dignified name of Cambria, influence by a local transplant surveyor from Cambria County, Pennsylvania.
A castle and a shipwreck 
The building of Hearst Castle benefited Cambria greatly. Spanning the high unemployment years of the Great Depression, many Cambria citizens found welcome employment there. Additionally, Cambria provided supplies, services, and accommodations for many who came to build the Castle, creating prosperity in Cambria in an unprosperous decade.
War touched Cambria when the 8,000-ton Union Oil tanker, S.S Montebello, was attacked and sunk in the early morning of December 23, 1941. Cambria citizens rallied to the rescue, and all six crewmen were rescued. According to the captain, Olaf Eckstrom, Cambria citizens were heroes: "God Bless 'em - they performed like American seamen, orderly, efficient, without hysteria." 
Other notable locations in the town include the historical Old Santa Rosa Chapel which was built in 1870, and as one of the oldest churches in the county of San Luis Obispo, held Catholic mass until May 26, 1963. The church fell into neglect until 1978, when the chapel and cemetery were restored. Wooden markers and tombstones as old as the founding year of the chapel (1870) grace the Santa Rosa Catholic Cemetery to the rear of the small chapel and donned with the large entrance sign reading: In Pace Requiescat (Latin for Rest In Peace).
The primary economic activity of Cambria is tourism. Located on the Pacific Ocean the area has rocky cliffs and beaches. There are many hotels and bed & breakfasts, especially along Moonstone Beach Drive.
Cambria offers a variety of recreational activities such as bicycling, dog walking or hiking. Local beaches offer a venue to boogie board, surf, skimboard or relax. Ocean fishing is conducted off area beaches. Local kayak fishing tours are available.
Marine Protected Areas 
Cambria State Marine Conservation Area and White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area are marine protected areas offshore from Cambria. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Cambria had a population of 6,032. The population density was 708.9 people per square mile (273.7/km²). The racial makeup of Cambria was 5,166 (85.6%) White, 18 (0.3%) African American, 47 (0.8%) Native American, 78 (1.3%) Asian, 14 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 557 (9.2%) from other races, and 152 (2.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,187 persons (19.7%).
The Census reported that 6,031 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 1 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 2,762 households, out of which 442 (16.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,483 (53.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 200 (7.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 75 (2.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 130 (4.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 31 (1.1%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 804 households (29.1%) were made up of individuals and 422 (15.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18. There were 1,758 families (63.6% of all households); the average family was 2.61.
The population was spread out with 858 people (14.2%) under the age of 18, 281 people (4.7%) aged 18 to 24, 865 people (14.3%) aged 25 to 44, 2,116 people (35.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,912 people (31.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 57.1 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.
There were 4,062 housing units at an average density of 477.4 per square mile (184.3/km²), of which 1,985 (71.9%) were owner-occupied, and 900 (28.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 10.1%. 4,030 people (66.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,001 people (33.2%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,232 people, 2,816 households, and 1,881 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 727.1 people per square mile (280.8/km²). There were 3,752 housing units at an average density of 437.7 per square mile (169.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.08% White, 0.35% African American, 0.99% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 4.03% from other races, and 2.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.02% of the population.
There were 2,816 households out of which 18.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.63.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 16.4% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 18.0% from 25 to 44, 33.5% from 45 to 64, and 26.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $45,000, and the median income for a family was $55,745. Males had a median income of $36,193 versus $24,594 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $29,620. About 8.3% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.6% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.
Cambria is home to Coast Unified School District. Coast Unified has one K-5 elementary school, one 6-8 middle school, one traditional 9-12 high school and one alternative high school. The District also serves the communities of San Simeon to the north and Cayucos to the south (grades 9-12) as well as surrounding rural areas.
In the state legislature Cambria is located in the 15th Senate District, represented by Democrat Lois Capps, and in the 33rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Sam Blakeslee. Federally, Cambria is located in California's 23rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +9 and is represented by Democrat Lois Capps.
Notable Residents 
- Red Holloway, saxophonist 
- Peter Horton, actor, producer
- Catherine Ryan Hyde, author
- Summer-Joy Main (aka SJ Main) writer, filmmaker 
- Raymond Mullikin, cartoonist 
- Nehemiah Persoff, actor
- Charlie Shoemaker, vibraphonist 
- Kath Soucie, cartoon voice actress
- Arthur Tress, photographer
- Cambria Goodwin, musician
- U.S. Census
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- C.Michael Hogan (2008) Morro Creek, The Megalithic Portal, ed. by A. Burnham
- Baker, Gayle Cambria" HarborTown Histories, Santa Barbara, CA, 2003, p. 7-8 ISBN: 0-9710984-2-5 (print), 978-0-9879038-2-2 (on-line)
- Baker, p. 8.
- Paul Squibb, 1984, Captain Portola in San Luis Obispo County in 1769. Morro Bay, Tabula Rasa Press, ISBN 0931943000
- Baker, p. 28.29
- Baker, p. 30-31.
- Baker, p.41-43
- Baker, p. 72-73
- Baker, p. 77-80.
- Dunlap, Dawn. "Old Santa Rosa Chapel". Old Santa Rosa Chapel.
- Blum, Beverly. "Brief History of Santa Rosa Catholic Cemetery". Santa Rosa Catholic Cemetery.
- Fodor's (21 December 2010). Fodor's Northern California 2011: With Napa, Sonoma, Yosemite, San Francisco & Lake Tahoe. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4000-0503-1. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
- Cambria Chamber of Commerce
- About Cambria - get informed, get involved
- Cambria History
- Cambria, California Events and Activities
- Cambria Online
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