California, Missouri

California, Missouri

Infobox Settlement
official_name = California, Missouri
settlement_type = City
nickname = The Country Ham Capital of the World, Twin City, Heart of Moniteau County, Cali
motto = Small enough to know you, large enough to serve you.

imagesize =
image_caption = California City Hall

mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of California, Missouri

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Missouri
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Moniteau
government_footnotes =
government_type = Mayor/Board of Alderman
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Norris Gerhart
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title = Incorporated
established_date = 1857

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 7.8
area_land_km2 = 7.8
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_total_sq_mi = 3.0
area_land_sq_mi = 3.0
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 4005
population_density_km2 = 516.3
population_density_sq_mi = 1337.3

timezone = Central (CST)
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 272
elevation_ft = 892
latd = 38 |latm = 37 |lats = 48 |latNS = N
longd = 92 |longm = 34 |longs = 6 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 65018, 65042
area_code = 573
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 29-10468GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0766152GR|3
website =
footnotes =

California is a city in Moniteau County, Missouri, United States. The 2006 census estimates the population at 4,185. It is the county seat of Moniteau CountyGR|6. It is part of the Jefferson City, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.


California is located at coor dms|38|37|48|N|92|34|6|W|city (38.630093, -92.568273)GR|1. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.8 km²), of which, 3.0 square miles (7.7 km²) of it is land and 0.33% is water.


The 2006 census estimates has the population of California at 4,185 [] . As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 4,005 people, 1,632 households, and 1,068 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,337.3 people per square mile (517.2/km²). There were 1,766 housing units at an average density of 589.7/sq mi (228.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.58% White, 0.65% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 4.07% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.57% of the population. The Hispanic population is a fast growing group in California. [ [ As Hispanic Community Grows..] ]

There were 1,632 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 30.9% 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 2.38 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,736, and the median income for a family was $39,221. Males had a median income of $25,880 versus $21,494 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,533. About 9.6% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.


The City of California was first established in 1834. Originally, the town was known as Boonsborough. When Moniteau County was organized in 1845, it was decided that Boonsborough would become the county seat. Because the county court was unwilling to pay for land in Boonsborough, a site was selected one-mile (1.6 km) west and this would become the new county seat. In 1847, a courthouse was erected on the square. In 1846, the Post Office required a new name be selected for Boonsborough since there was already a Boonsborough in Missouri. Legend has it that California is named after California Wilson who offered two gallons of whiskey to some men if the town would be named after him.

California was incorporated in 1848 and elected its first city officials in 1858.

The "Weekly California News" printed its first edition on September 18 1858 and is Moniteau County's oldest established business still in operation today. Today it is known as the "California Democrat."

By the end of the Civil War, California's population was around 1,000. The city had 10 dry goods stores, 2 drug stores, a tobacco factory, a large steam flouring mill and a carding machine, a high school, a printing office and a bank.

In 1867, money was appropriated for a new courthouse and it was completed in 1868. This courthouse is still in use today. [ [ History of California from "Moniteau County, Missouri History"] ]

Historical Places of Interest

Cultural Heritage Center

Located at 201 North High Street in downtown California, this building was the old Post Office. Today, it houses the Moniteau County Historical Society, museum, information center, gift shop and genealogy library. [ [ California Chamber of Commerce] ]

Eitzen Mansion

Built in 1898 by Charles A. Eitzen, this home has 19 rooms and nine fireplaces. The home still has the original slate roof. A carriage house and stable, with a room for the coachman, is still standing on the property, which takes up an entire city block. The home remained in the Eitzen family until 1952. Since then, it has been used as a nursing home, restaurant and bed and breakfast. Through all of those changes, remarkably, the original fireplaces, woodwork and beautiful main staircase with its ornate woodwork remained intact. Today the mansion is a private residence. [ [ California Chamber of Commerce] ]

Finke Opera House/Ritz Theatre

Located at 312 North High Street in downtown California, the opera house/theatre was built in 1885. The building was designed by Jerome Bibb “J.B.” Legg, a well-known St. Louis architect. Legg was also responsible for designing many Missouri courthouses, opera houses, theaters, churches, schools and public buildings and remodeled the Missouri state capital in 1887. The theater was named to the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in the area of entertainment and recreation in 2004. The two-story brick building was California’s only opera house and theater and therefore was the main entertainment center for the community. From 1885-1897 it was known as the California Opera House and then the Finke Opera House from 1897-1922. While it was the opera house, the building was home to stage shows, plays, musical and school performances. Blind Boone played the piano at the opera house in 1893. Cole Younger, an associate of Jesse James, lectured at the opera house in 1909. [ [ Missouri State Historic Preservation Office News Release] ] From 1922-1937, it was known as Finke Theater and featured vaudeville and motion pictures. In 1937, it was renovated from its Victorian style to an art deco style and became knows as the Ritz Theatre, from 1937-1978. The opera house/theatre is currently undergoing renovation by California Progress, Inc., along with the adjacent Finke Building, to save this historical landmark. [ [ National Register of Historic Places] ]

Gray-Wood Buildings

Located at 401-407 North High Street in downtown California, the Gray-Wood Buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 for their architectural significance. Built in the late 1800s, today the buildings house several businesses. [ [ National Register of Historic Places] ]

Moniteau County Courthouse

Built in 1867, it is one of the oldest courthouses in Missouri. The semicircular front portico and the square mounted abaci on top of the brick columns resemble those of former State Capitol built in 1840. The courthouse square has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970. The first floor of the courthouse features several museum displays. [ [ California Chamber of Commerce] ] [ [ National Register of Historic Places] ]

Rice House

This mansion was built in 1867 by Niles Rice and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Victorian home has convert|12|ft|m|sing=on ceilings, six-foot hallways, and 36 narrow seven-foot windows and is currently a private residence. [ [ California Chamber of Commerce] ]

Wood Place Public Library

Located in the historic Ehrhardt Building. This building was constructed in 1864 and was home to the J. G. Ehrhardt Mercantile Company. The building was purchased by California Progress, Inc. in 1995 and restored to preserve a historical landmark in the community. The library moved into the building in August 1998. [ [ History of Wood Place Library] ]

Fine Arts

Loran Creech, a nationally renowned watercolorist and Best of Missouri Hands juried artist, calls California home. His historic two-story home in California serves as his gallery and guests are welcome. Creech's work has been featured in galleries all across the U.S. [ [ Best of Missouri Hands - Loran Creech] ]

California is also home to California Glass Arts, a shop which specializes in stained-glass supplies and offers several classes in mosaics and glass etching, as well as stained glass. The Cultural Heritage Center houses several wall murals depicting area history. California also has a Community Band, which performs at several events around the community. Stepp's Dance Studio also sponsors "Art in the Park" at California's Proctor Park.


California R-1 School District operates three schools in California and serves 1,357 students, as of August 2008. [ [ California Democrat Article] ]

*California Elementary School, located at 101 South Owen Street, serves 586 students in Kindergarten through fifth grades.
*California Middle School, located at 211 South Owen Street, serves 298 students in sixth through eighth grades.
*California High School, located at 1501 West Buchanan Street, serves 472 students in ninth through twelfth grades.

The California R-1 School District is unique in that swimming is included in the K-5 curriculum. It is also a part of the physical education courses in the middle and high schools. Swimming has been a part of the curriculum since the school district constructed an indoor olympic-size swimming pool in 1976. In December 2007, due to funding cuts for public schools, the city of California took over control of the swimming pool. In an agreement worked out between the city and the school district, the school will continue to use the pool during the school year for the students of the California R-1 School District.

Aurora Montessori School serves pre-K and Kindergarten students.

The Diocese of Jefferson City operated a catholic school, Annuciation School, in California until the school was destroyed by fire in 1982.

There are seven post-seconday institutions located within convert|45|mi|km of California.


California is home to several industries and currently 40% of the jobs in town are in manufacturing. These include Burger's Smokehouse, which cures and processes hams, turkeys, and other speciality meats for shipment all over the world; Honeysuckle White, a division of Cargill Inc., which produces poultry; Tana Wire Marker, which produces the brightly colored balls affixed to electrical wires to warn aircraft of their presence; Arkansas Valley Feather, which processes and markets feather products; Racker's Manufacturing (steel fabrication); Aerosonics (heating and air conditioning equipment); Mo-Wood (cabinets and wood products); and California Manufacturing (coats and jackets). [ [ California at a crossroads: Manufacturing-friendly town adapts to change ("Columbia Business Times")] ]

Parks and Recreation

The city of California maintains four parks, Cargill Fields and an indoor olympic-size swimming pool. The swimming pool was acquired from the California R-1 School District in 2007. [ [ Contract for swimming pool signed] ]

*Proctor Park - is the largest park in California. This park features a stocked fishing lake, walking trails, tennis courts, frisbee golf course, sand volleyball court, shelter houses and playgrounds.
*City Park - is the oldest park in California. It features basketball and tennis courts and a playground.
*Railroad Park - located just north of the City Hall along the Union Pacific Railroad. This park is located where the railroad depot was once located. The open-air shelter is a replica of the old depot.
*Smith-Burke Park - located just west of the City Hall. This park stands where the old Union Pacific Railroad Hotel once stood.
*Cargill Fields - features four lighted baseball/softball fields and a soccer field.
*California Municipal Pool - features an indoor olympic-size swimming pool, outdoor diving pool with low and high dives and an outdoor wading pool.

California is also home to a semi-private nine-hole golf course [ [ Missouri Golf Courses] ] ; Double X Speedway, featuring street stock, sportmans, winged sprints, and hobby stocks races May-September; and the California Shooter's Club [ [ Missouri Department of Conservation, Unstaffed Shooting Ranges and Outdoor Education Centers] ] , which has shotgun and archery ranges.

California boasts a strong recreation program, serving children in the California area year-round. Also located in California are an airport, for recreational flying; 10-lane bowling alley and roller rink, along with a dance studio and a couple of gyms.


In 2008, the Moniteau County Fair celebrated its 142nd anniversary. The Moniteau County Fair began in 1866 and is believed to be the oldest continuous fair west of the Mississippi. Events include a tractor pull, demolition derby, tuff truck competition, horse show, country western singers, Miss Moniteau County Queen contest and a rodeo. This is an annual event held during the first full week of August at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds. Referenced in "Missouri Roadsides: The Traveler's Companion" by Bill Earngey. [ [ California at a crossroads: Manufacturing-friendly town adapts to change ("Columbia Business Times")] ]

Held annually on the third Saturday in September, the Ozark Ham & Turkey festival is a one-day festival designed to showcase two of the major industries in California and Moniteau County. Billed as having "something for everyone", the Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival has activities throughout town. [ [ California at a crossroads: Manufacturing-friendly town adapts to change ("Columbia Business Times")] ] [ [ Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival] ]


External links

* [ City of California]
* [ California Chamber of Commerce]
* [ California Democrat]
* [ California Public Schools]

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