Paradise, California

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For other places with the same name, see Paradise, California (disambiguation).
Town of Paradise
Welcome to Paradise sign on Clark road
Welcome to Paradise sign on Clark road
Location in Butte County
Location in Butte County
Town of Paradise is located in USA
Town of Paradise
Town of Paradise
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 39°45′35″N 121°37′17″W / 39.75972°N 121.62139°W / 39.75972; -121.62139Coordinates: 39°45′35″N 121°37′17″W / 39.75972°N 121.62139°W / 39.75972; -121.62139
Country  United States
State  California
County Butte
Incorporated November 27, 1979[1]
 • Mayor Greg Bolin[2]
 • State senator Jim Nielsen (R)[3]
 • Assemblymember James Gallagher (R)[4]
 • U. S. rep. Doug LaMalfa (R)[5]
 • Total 18.322 sq mi (47.455 km2)
 • Land 18.308 sq mi (47.418 km2)
 • Water 0.014 sq mi (0.037 km2)  0.08%
Elevation[7] 1,778 ft (542 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)[8]
 • Total 26,218
 • Estimate (2013)[8] 26,283
 • Density 1,400/sq mi (550/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 95967, 95969
Area code 530
FIPS code 06-55520
GNIS feature IDs 277573, 2413111

Paradise is an incorporated town in Butte County, in the northwest foothills of California's Central Valley, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The town is considered part of the Chico Metropolitan Area. The population was 26,283 as of 2013,[8] down from 26,408 at the 2000 census. Paradise is 10 miles (16 km) east of Chico and 85 miles (137 km) north of Sacramento.


The town of Paradise spreads out on a wide ridge between deep canyons formed by the west branch of the Feather River to the east and Butte Creek to the west. The Paradise area extends northward from Paradise to include the unincorporated town of Magalia, and such smaller communities as Stirling City, eleven miles north. Elevation of the town is 1,778 feet (542 m), according to the GNIS.[9] The town is approximately eight miles east of the city of Chico, and ten miles north of the Oroville area.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.3 square miles (47 km2), over 99% of it land.

Soils are mostly well drained reddish brown loam, gravelly in some cases and often grading to clay loam or clay with increasing depth. They have developed on volcanic material. Paradiso is by far the most common soil series in town.[10]


The first post office was established at Paradise in 1877; it closed for a time in 1911, but was re-established later that year, when the post office at Orloff was closed.[11] Paradise incorporated in 1979.[11] For many years, the Butte County Railroad operated trains along the ridge, serving mines and sawmills.

A legend persists that the town was named because it was the home of the Pair o' Dice Saloon, an idea supported by the fact than an official 1900 railroad map referred to the town as "Paradice". However, according to folklorist Barbara Mikkelson of, there is no documentation of such an establishment, nor an explanation of how the map's spelling of the town originated. Gene Sylva, a former mayor of the nearby town of Oroville, has stated that the saloon story is false, and that the true etymology of the town's name is traced to his great-great-grandfather, William Pierce Leonard, who named the town on a summer day in 1864, after a hot and dusty ride from the Sacramento Valley. Arriving at his sawmill while the staff were on break, Leonard "took a deep breath of the cool, clean air, and exclaimed, 'Boys, this is paradise.'" Mikkelson, however, suggests that Sylva's explanation may also be "pleasingly inventive historical fiction", but surmises that the town was probably named for it being a pleasant place to live.[12]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 8,268
1970 14,539 75.8%
1980 22,571 55.2%
1990 25,408 12.6%
2000 26,408 3.9%
2010 26,218 −0.7%
Est. 2014 26,449 [13] 0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]


The 2010 United States Census[15] reported that Paradise had a population of 26,218. The population density was 1,430.9 people per square mile (552.5/km²). The racial makeup of Paradise was 24,129 (92.0%) White, 112 (0.4%) African American, 301 (1.1%) Native American, 330 (1.3%) Asian, 24 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 416 (1.6%) from other races, and 906 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,836 persons (7.0%).

The Census reported that 25,810 people (98.4% of the population) lived in households, 139 (0.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 269 (1.0%) were institutionalized.

There were 11,893 households, out of which 2,574 (21.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 5,227 (44.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,308 (11.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 511 (4.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 742 (6.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 94 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 4,038 households (34.0%) were made up of individuals and 2,126 (17.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17. There were 7,046 families (59.2% of all households); the average family size was 2.73.

The population was spread out with 4,501 people (17.2%) under the age of 18, 1,858 people (7.1%) aged 18 to 24, 4,822 people (18.4%) aged 25 to 44, 8,466 people (32.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 6,571 people (25.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50.2 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.

There were 12,981 housing units at an average density of 708.5 per square mile (273.5/km²), of which 7,975 (67.1%) were owner-occupied, and 3,918 (32.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.9%. 17,381 people (66.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 8,429 people (32.1%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 26,408 people, 11,591 households, and 7,244 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,447.1 people per square mile (558.7/km²). There were 12,374 housing units at an average density of 678.1 per square mile (261.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.73% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 1.07% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.21% from other races, and 2.64% from two or more races. 4.27% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 11,591 households out of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.77.

In the town the population was spread out with 20.4% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 21.2% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 27.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 87.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $31,863, and the median income for a family was $41,228. Males had a median income of $35,419 versus $25,231 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,267. About 9.7% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.

Health care[edit]

The State of California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development defines Feather River Hospital as a General Acute Care Hospital in Paradise with Basic emergency care as of August 22, 2006. The facility is located at (NAD83) latitude/longitude 39°45′25″N 121°34′16″W / 39.75694°N 121.57111°W / 39.75694; -121.57111.


Paradise is served by Paradise Unified School District as well as several independent Charter and Private Schools. PUSD schools include:

Cedarwood Elementary School (K-5) Paradise Elementary School (K-5) Ponderosa Elementary School (K-5) Pine Ridge School (K-8) Paradise Intermediate School (6-8) Paradise High School (9-12) Ridgeview High School (continuation) Honey Run Academy Elementary & Secondary (2 community day schools) Children's Community Charter School (K-8) Paradise Charter Middle School (6 -8) HomeTech Charter School (K -12)

Other Paradise Schools include: Achieve Charter School, Paradise Adventist Academy, Paradise Elearning Charter (Online 9-12)


There are not many options for transportation within Paradise other than driving an automobile. The Paradise/Magalia area is served by the "B line" Butte County Transit. Butte Community College also runs bus service for students. The Paradise Memorial Trail is a paved pedestrian and bicycle path which runs through town on the path of the former railroad tracks leading up the ridge. However, aside from points along this path, the very hilly terrain of the town, coupled with the large spacing of commercial areas and large land area make Paradise difficult to navigate on foot or on a bicycle, in addition to the lack of sidewalks. Truth is, Paradise is so small, you can walk it from top to bottom within a couple of hours.

Paradise's link with Chico, Skyway Road (referred to locally as simply "Skyway"), begins in the valley, at the Highway 99 freeway in Chico, and runs up the ridge as a 4-lane divided highway until it reaches Paradise. Through the town it is a four-lane undivided highway, and it becomes a two-lane road as it continues up the ridge to Magalia and numerous smaller communities to the north. Paradise is connected to Oroville via Highway 191, otherwise known as Clark Road upon entering the town.

Paradise Skypark, (FAA identifier: Q88), is located parallel to State Route 191 and south of the town at 39°42′38″N 121°36′59″W / 39.71056°N 121.61639°W / 39.71056; -121.61639.


Scenes from Gone With the Wind were filmed in Paradise off of Stark Lane.[citation needed] Paradise was also used in the comic strip "Pickles", by Brian Crane, on June 22, 2011. Eclectic Internet radio station, Radio Paradise webcasts from Paradise.

Humboldt and Camp Fires[edit]

In June 2008, a wildfire, named the "Humboldt Fire" for its point of origin, swept over 22,800 acres (92 km2) of land between Chico and Paradise. As many as 9300 people were forced to evacuate southwestern Paradise until the fire could be brought under control.[17] Also in July 2008 another fire, the Camp Fire, burned on the northern side of Paradise in the canyon where the Feather River is located. Again, thousands were evacuated from their homes, but the fire failed to cross the river.

Notable people[edit]




  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Retrieved March 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Town Council". Town of Paradise. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ "California's 1st Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau. 
  7. ^ "Paradise". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c "Paradise (Town) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  9. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Paradise, California
  10. ^ "SoilWeb". 
  11. ^ 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. 290. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  12. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara (September 19, 2013). "Stranger in Paradise". 
  13. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Paradise town". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  17. ^ "Paradise fire evacuees starting to return home". SFGate. 
  18. ^ "Carla Gugino". IMDb. 
  19. ^ Rossmann, Randi. "Local harmonica legend Norton Buffalo dies". The Press Democrat. Retrieved 1 November 2009. 
  20. ^ "ChicoER Archives - Former Butte County resident tours with rock band America". 

External links[edit]