Gualala, California

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Gualala is located in California
Location in California
Gualala is located in the United States
Gualala (the United States)
Coordinates: 38°45′57″N 123°31′41″W / 38.76583°N 123.52806°W / 38.76583; -123.52806Coordinates: 38°45′57″N 123°31′41″W / 38.76583°N 123.52806°W / 38.76583; -123.52806[3]
CountryUnited States
Elevation49 ft (15 m)
 • Total2,093
 • Median Age
53.9 (male) / 51.8 (female)[4]
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code[6]
Area code707
FIPS code06-31428
GNIS feature ID224701
The Gualala River near California State Route 1

Gualala (formerly, Guadala, Walhalla, and Wallala)[7] is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County in the U.S. state of California.[3] It is located north of The Sea Ranch and south of Point Arena, California. Gualala shares its southern border with the southern border of Mendocino County.[8] It is located on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Gualala River, on State Route 1. It serves as a commercial center for the surrounding area. Gualala was once a logging town, but tourism is now its central economic activity.[8]


In the California State Legislature, Gualala is in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Mike McGuire,[9] and the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jim Wood.[10]

In the United States House of Representatives, Gualala is in California's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.[11]


Indian settlement[edit]

"Gualala" was the name given to the site of today's Gualala by the Pomo who had named the area ah kha wa la lee, meaning "coming down water place"[2]

Land grant[edit]

In 1836, Governor Nicolás Gutiérrez granted General Rafael Gracie 62.5 square miles (162 km2) of land between the Gualala River and Mal Paso Creek.[12] Gracie used the land to graze cattle. Shortly after he sold the land for $10,000, it was discovered that the grant was invalid.


About 1861 tourists began coming to Gualala to hunt and fish and get away from the crowded cities. Around that same time Cyrus Robinson filed a homestead for all of the area which is now Gualala where they built a hotel, a saloon and a ferry. They also supervised the Post Office (which was also the stage stop),[7] the Wells Fargo Express and the Western Union. By the end of the 1800s Gualala had become a major commercial hub for the entire area with a dancing school, the Gualala Municipal Brass Band, and an Opera House.[13]

In 1902, Elizabeth Robinson, Cyrus' wife, died;[14] and their hotel burned down in a fire the following year. The hotel was later rebuilt to the south of where it had originally been at a cost of $6,000. Cyrus died November 6, 1906.[15]

In 1907, Mark Pedotti and Antonio Ciapusci bought the Gualala Hotel property which included 636 acres and among them they divided the property with Antonio acquiring the area of Gualala who later died in 1932. His son George and wife, Ida inherited the land after his death.[13]

Today tourists come to nearby Sea Ranch, California for which Gualala is providing tourist and commercial services.


A year after Cyrus Robinson received the property, he sold part of the land in 1862 to a company so they could build a lumber mill at the mouth of Mill Gulch. The lumber-mill logged the redwood trees until it burned down in a fire on September 14, 1906.[13]

Cyrus Robinson died 2 months later.


There weren't any schools in the area until 1883. Until that time it was a common custom to send children to live with other families in larger areas to attend school.[13]

Elementary school students are educated at Horicon School in Annapolis, Sonoma County, or Arena Union Elementary in Point Arena. High school students are educated at Point Arena High School.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gualala? What's that?". Retrieved 24 August 2014. Some people call it gwa-LA-la, but the natives call it wa-LA-la. This comes from the Kashaya Pomo Indian phrase, "ah kha wa la lee" which means, "Where the water flows down"
  2. ^ a b Kroeber, Alfred L. (1916). "California place names of Indian origin" (PDF). University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology. 12 (2): 31–69. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-08-22..
  3. ^ a b c "Gualala". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  4. ^ "2008-2012 American Community Survey". US Census Bureau. US Dept of Commerce. Archived from the original on 12 February 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  5. ^ "American Fact Finder (ZIP 95445)". US Dept. of Commerce. 2010. Archived from the original on 12 February 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  6. ^ "ZIP Code(tm) Lookup". United States Postal Service. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 70. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  8. ^ a b Porter, Paige. "So You Want to Live in ... Gualala, California". Coastal Living. Time Inc. Lifestyle Group. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  10. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  11. ^ "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  12. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  13. ^ a b c d "Gualala History". Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  14. ^ Elizabeth “Lizzie” Davidson Robinson at Find a Grave
  15. ^ Cyrus Dwight Robinson, Sr at Find a Grave

External links[edit]