Contrary to popular belief, California is not just a college town.
- Founded in 1849, named after the state of California because the town’s founding coincided with the California Gold Rush of 1849
- California University of Pennsylvania founded soon after in 1852
- First home built in California was in the summer of 1849, occupied by Thomas W. Moore still stands next to the US Post office in town
- First child born to the new town was, Thomas’ son, Job Johnson Moore
- In 1856, the first newspaper, “The Valley Spirit,” was published, which was still in existence in 1866 but was discontinued shortly after that year. At present “The Sentinel” is a weekly newspaper published in the town.
- In the first years, the leading industry was boat building. In 1879 the ship yard was demolished to make room for the railroad, which still runs through California today.
- The First Methodist Episcopal is the oldest church in the town and the church erected at that time is still in use, although it has been remodeled several times.
- Arlington Hotel was the only hotel ever to operate in California. It still stands today at the corner of Union and Second Street.
California, a historic town, nestled on the Monongahela River in Washington County, is far more than just a college town. Just an hour south of Pittsburgh, a day trip worth taking. Pack a lunch to enjoy on the riverside at the picnic tables. Visit the historic library which is housed in the original train station with a train car still nestled on its lawn!
So what is there to do in California today?
- Fisherman at heart? Love the water? Back the boat trailer up to the launch and enjoy a day on the river. Why fight boat traffic in heavily populated areas when there is an easily accessible boat launch in the heart of a small town.
- Locals love to grab a bite at the one and only Campy’s Pizza. If you’re looking for Papa John’s or Pizza Hut, you’re out of luck, we don’t have large corporate eateries here unless you want Subway or a Dairy Queen!
- Throw a penny on the railroad tracks, the train is bound to come, several times while you’re here for the day
- Visitors can take a stroll through the beautiful campus of California University
- Guests can enjoy 5 home football games at California University in 2018 9/22 9/29 10/13 10/27 11/10