Redding, California

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Redding, California
City of Redding
Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay (cropped).jpg
Cascade Theater 1935 - Redding, CA (cropped).JPG
ReddingLorenzHotel 01 (cropped).jpg
Redding Old City Hall (cropped).jpg
Pine Street School Courtyard.jpg
Top: Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay; middle: Cascade Theatre, Hotel Lorenz; bottom: Old City Hall, Pine Street School
Flag of Redding, California.svg
Seal of Redding, California.png
Shasta County California Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Redding Highlighted.svg
Location of Redding in Shasta County, California
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Location in the United States
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Redding (the United States)
Coordinates: 40°35′N122°22′W / 40.583°N 122.367°W / 40.583; -122.367
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of California.svg  California
County Shasta
Incorporated October 4, 1887
Founded by Pierson B. Reading
  Type Council-manager
   City Council
  • Mayor Michael Dacquisto
  • Vice Mayor Mark Mezzano
  • Mayor Pro Tempore Tenessa Audette
  • Council Member Julie Winter
  • Council Member Jack Munns
   Elected Officials
   City Manager Barry Tippin
   City Attorney Barry E. DeWalt
  Total61.17 sq mi (158.44 km2)
  Land59.65 sq mi (154.48 km2)
  Water1.53 sq mi (3.96 km2)  2.50%
564 ft (172 m)
  Rank 82nd in California
  Density1,500/sq mi (590/km2)
Demonym Reddingite
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
  Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
96001–96003, 96049, 96099
Area code 530
FIPS code 06-59920
GNIS feature IDs 277582, 2411531
Website Official website

Redding is the economic and cultural capital of the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California and the county seat of Shasta County. Redding lies along the Sacramento River, 162 miles (261 km) north of Sacramento, and 120 miles (190 km) south of California's northern border with Oregon. Its population is 95,542 as of the 2022 census, up from 89,861 from the 2010 census.



During the Gold Rush, the area that now comprises Redding was called Poverty Flats. [3] In 1868 the first land agent for the Central Pacific Railroad, a former Sacramento politician named Benjamin Bernard Redding, bought property in Poverty Flats on behalf of the railroad so that it could build a northern terminus there. In the process of building the terminus, the railroad also built a town in the same area, which they named Redding in honor of Benjamin Redding.

In 1874 there was a dispute over the name by local legislators and it was changed for a time to Reading, in order to honor Pierson B. Reading, who arrived in the area in 1843, owned the Buenaventura land grant on which Redding sits, and had died only a few years before, in 1868. The name was officially changed back to Redding by 1880. [4] [5]


Indigenous culture

Before European settlers came to the area, it was inhabited by a tribe of Native Americans called the Wintu. At their height, the Wintu had as many as 239 villages in the Shasta County area. [6]

Spanish and Mexican eras

Although Europeans had been to California as early as 1542, when Juan Cabrillo sailed to what is now the San Diego Bay, the indigenous natives were probably the only inhabitants of far Northern California region until Russian fur trappers came through the area in 1815.

The first European settlement in the area was established in 1844 by Pierson B. Reading, an early California pioneer who received a Rancho Buena Ventura Mexican land grant for 26,632 acres (10,778 ha) that is now covered by Redding and Cottonwood, California. At the time, it was the northernmost nonnative settlement in California.

Gold Rush era

During the Gold Rush, 49ers found gold to the north on Rock, Middle and Salt creeks, near Shasta, California, and to the south along Oregon and Olney creeks but the area that is now Redding was poor placer gold ground and called Poverty Flats. In 1868 the first land agent for the Central Pacific Railroad, a former Sacramento politician named Benjamin B. Redding, bought property in Poverty Flats on behalf of the railroad for a northern terminus, which the tracks reached in 1872. In the process of building the terminus, the railroad also built the town of Redding which was officially incorporated on October 4, 1887. In 1888, Redding won the county seat from Shasta. [7]

20th century

Hotel Lorenz in the early 20th century Lorenz Hotel post card.jpg
Hotel Lorenz in the early 20th century

In the early twentieth century the town's economic growth was spurred by the significant copper and iron mineral extraction industry nearby. The mining industry eventually declined, causing the economy and population to falter by 1920. It recovered in the thirties as the economy boomed due to the construction of Shasta Dam to the northwest. The building of the dam, which was completed in 1945, caused Redding's population to nearly double, also spurring the growth and development of other towns in the area. [8]

The Cascade Theatre in 1942 Motion picture show at the Cascade Theatre in Redding, California.jpg
The Cascade Theatre in 1942

Redding continued to grow steadily in the 1950s due to the region's growing lumber industry and tourism brought about by the newly completed dam. The constructions of Whiskeytown and Keswick dams also helped boost the economy by bringing new workers to the area. Interstate 5 was built during the sixties and seventies, which added to development and tourism in the region.

Growth in Redding during the 1960s and 1970s was further spurred by the annexation of an area east of the Sacramento River that included the unincorporated community of Enterprise; the residents voted to support the annexation primarily to acquire less expensive electricity via Redding's municipal utility, which receives power from the dam.

During the 1970s, the lumber industry suffered from decline. In the early 1990's Lumber mills in the area closed down due to the preservation of the living habitat of the Spotted Owl. This heavily impacted the Redding area. The economy picked up, due to a retail and housing boom in the late 1980s that continued until the mid-1990s.

Also in the 1970s, the Market Street Redevelopment Project, established in 1968, began the development of the Midtown Mall. The mall was established to prevent further property deterioration and to restore and maintain the economic health of the downtown area's comercial and retail activity. The mall suffered multiple difficulties. The passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 reduced the mall's property valuation and consequently, the city had to continuously loan money to keep the bonds for the mall's parking structure from going into default; the bonds completely repaid in 2003 and Midtown began to pay off its more than $1.5 million debt to the City of Redding. By the 1980s, the properties around the mall and along the old State Highway 99/273 corridor continued to suffer urban blight, including deteriorating and dilapidated utilities and structures and inappropriate mixed land uses; this required further public intervention in the form of another Market Street Redevelopment Project with significant changes to Midtown in 1990 to include a mix of residential and commercial land around the original project. [9]

21st century

Following redevelopment of Midtown, property values within the Market Street Redevelopment Project area improved; further redevelopment continued. A plan for the downtown area adopted in January 2001 led to the renovation of the historic Cascade Theatre, the removal of the Midtown Mall roof creating an open air pedestrian street, the installation of a visitor way-finding system, the completion of a Health Sciences and University Center with partnership with Shasta College, and the renovation of various buildings along California Street with the help of a private developer. [9]

In 2017, the city adopted a new flag after holding a redesign contest. [10]

The 21st century has also seen a number of devastating wildfires near and in Redding. In 1999, the Jones Fire destroyed over 100 structures, followed by the Bear Fire in 2004. In late July 2018, the Carr Fire in Shasta County seriously impacted the Redding area with the destruction of at least 1,100 [11] buildings, with several thousand more threatened, 38,000 people instructed to evacuate and 6 deaths. [12] Most recently, the Fawn Fire in 2021 also resulted in the evacuation of over 4,000 people and the destruction of 185 buildings.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 61.2 square miles (159 square kilometers). 59.6 square miles (154 km2) of it is land, and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) of it (2.50%) is beneath water.

Redding is located at the very northwestern end of the Central Valley, which transitions into the Cascade foothills. The city is surrounded by mountains to the north, east, and west and fertile farm land to the south. Outermost parts of the city are part of the Cascade foothills, whereas southern and central areas are in the Sacramento Valley.[ citation needed ]

The elevation in Redding is 495 feet (151 meters) on average, whereas anywhere to the north, east, or west of downtown ranges between 550 feet (170 m) and 800 feet (240 m) feet. Southern portions range between 400 feet (120 m) and 500 feet (150 m).

The Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River provides a considerable level of flood protection for Redding. The dam is capable of controlling flows up to 79,000 cubic feet (7,300 cubic meters) per second. The flow rate exceeded this threshold in both 1970 and 1974. [13]

Soils in and around town are composed mostly of clay or gravelly loam texture, with red or brown mineral horizons. They are slightly or moderately acidic in their natural state. [14]

There are several rare and endangered species in Redding and its immediate vicinity. The Redding Redevelopment Plan EIR notes the California State listed endangered species, slender Orcutt grass ( Orcuttia tenuis ), occurs in eastern Redding near the municipal airport, where vernal pools are known to exist. This endemic grass is a Federal Candidate for listing and is endangered throughout its range, confined to several populations, and seriously threatened by agriculture, overgrazing, and residential development. Vernal pools provide the preferred habitat for this plant, which the California Native Plant Society considers a rare and endangered species. These same vernal pools also support federally protected species such as the federally threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi).


The Sacramento River passes through Redding. Redding, California 6959156824 o.jpg
The Sacramento River passes through Redding.
View of Redding ShastaCountyJail 05 (cropped).jpg
View of Redding

Redding has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa), with very hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Redding is known for very high summer temperatures, despite being located just north of the 40th Parallel North. Winter (October–April) provides the most precipitation of any season in Redding—the weather tends to be either rainy or foggy and at times, snow occurs. While summers are mostly hot and dry, thunderstorms are not uncommon. The average daily maximum temperature in July stays near 100 °F (37.8 °C). The highest official recorded temperature in Redding was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 20, 1988, recorded at the nearby Redding Regional Airport and the most recent of three occasions; however, some residents say they recall a high temperature of 121 in the summer of 1981 and even just recently, 126 in the summer of 2020. [15] Redding has an average possible sunshine of 88%, the second-highest percentage (after Yuma, Arizona) of any US city. [16]

Summer overnight lows are unusually warm by Sacramento Valley standards and average warmer than coastal towns' daytime highs. The warmest night annually averages 79 °F (26 °C). [15] Since the station opened in 1986, the hottest night was 86 °F (30 °C) in June 2004. [15] Redding's warm summer days and nights compared to areas further south are a result of a greater distance to maritime influences than the lower end of the valley.

Redding occasionally receives snow, though it has received as much as 23 inches (58 centimeters) of snow in a single storm, occurring on December 47, 1909 and December 2224, 1968, including 16 in (41 cm) on December 23, 1968, the most in any calendar day on record. [15] It rarely gets sleet or freezing rain. Frost occurs commonly in December through February, less often in March or November. In spring, rain is common. The city is located near the foothills of the Cascade and Klamath mountain ranges and it therefore gets much more rain than most places in the Sacramento Valley; temperature differentials between land and sea cause moist air from the latter to flow over the southern Sacramento valley during the summer months, producing intense heat in Redding. The direction of this winds switches from the north and east in the summer, as hot, high-pressure air flows from land to sea, making the area very dry. Tornadoes are extremely rare; flooding occurs only around the area near the Sacramento River. The coldest temperature recorded in Redding was 16 °F (−9 °C) on January 17, 2012, and December 9, 2009. [15] The coldest daytime high of the year is averaging 41 °F (5 °C) and the lowest on record is 29 °F (−2 °C) in 1990, which remains the latest year to record an ice day. [15]

Climate data for Redding Regional Airport, California (1991–2020 normals, [lower-alpha 1] extremes 1893–present [lower-alpha 2] )
Record high °F (°C)87
Mean maximum °F (°C)70.5
Average high °F (°C)57.2
Daily mean °F (°C)47.5
Average low °F (°C)37.7
Mean minimum °F (°C)27.0
Record low °F (°C)16
Average precipitation inches (mm)6.04
Average snowfall inches (cm)1.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)12.210.911.
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source 1: NOAA [15] [18]
Source 2: WRCC [19]


Historical population
1880 600
1890 1,821203.5%
1900 2,94661.8%
1910 3,57221.2%
1920 2,962−17.1%
1930 4,18841.4%
1940 8,10993.6%
1950 10,25626.5%
1960 12,77324.5%
1970 16,65930.4%
1980 42,103152.7%
1990 66,46257.9%
2000 80,86521.7%
2010 89,86111.1%
2020 93,6114.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [20]
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Redding California (cropped).jpg
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church

The 2010 United States Census [21] reported that Redding had a population of 89,861. The population density was 1,468.9 inhabitants per square mile (567.1/km2). The racial makeup of Redding was 77,117 (85.8%) White, 1,092 (1.2%) African American, 2,034 (2.3%) Native American, 3,034 (3.4%) Asian, 156 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 2,307 (2.6%) from other races, and 4,121 (4.6%) from two or more races. There were 7,787 people of Hispanic or Latino origin, of any race (8.7%).

The Census reported that 87,841 people (97.8% of the population) lived in households, 1,138 (1.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 882 (1.0%) were institutionalized.

There were 36,130 households, out of which 11,012 (30.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 16,001 (44.3%) were married couples living together, 4,806 (13.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,984 (5.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,570 (7.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 204 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 10,344 households (28.6%) were made up of individuals, and 4,622 (12.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43. There were 22,791 families (63.1% of all households); the average family size was 2.94.

The population was spread out, with 20,518 people (22.8%) under the age of 18, 9,436 people (10.5%) aged 18 to 24, 21,725 people (24.2%) aged 25 to 44, 23,424 people (26.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 14,758 people (16.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

There were 38,679 housing units at an average density of 632.3 per square mile (244.1/km2), of which 19,968 (55.3%) were owner-occupied, and 16,162 (44.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.9%. 48,179 people (53.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 39,662 people (44.1%) lived in rental housing units.


The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay is the world's largest sundial. Sundial Bridge (8841257183) (cropped).jpg
The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay is the world's largest sundial.
The historic Jack's Grill JacksGrillRedding 02 (cropped).jpg
The historic Jack's Grill

Redding is the economic hub of the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California.

The Redding Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was recognized as the 29th Most Dynamic MSA in the United States in 2019 by the Walton Family Foundation. [22] Redding was recognized for having a diversified economy with several large employers in different sectors.

Top employers

According to the city's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [23] the top employers in Redding are:

#Employer# of employees
1 Mercy Medical Center 1,832
2 Shasta County 1,750
3City of Redding1,129
4 Shasta Regional Medical Center 856
5CA Transportation Department663
6 Redding Rancheria 523
7 Wal-Mart 450
8 Shasta Union High School District 406
9 Shasta College 352
10 Blue Shield of California 330


Redding City Hall. Redding City Hall.jpg
Redding City Hall.

State and federal representation

In the California State Legislature, Redding is in the 1st Senate District , represented by Republican Brian Dahle, [24] and the 1st Assembly District , represented by Republican Megan Dahle. [25]

In the United States House of Representatives, Redding is in California's 1st congressional district , represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. [26]

Municipal government

The city council is composed of Mayor Erin Resner, Vice Mayor Kristen Schreder, Julie Winter, Michael Dacquisto, and Mark Mezzano. [27] [28] The city manager is Barry Tippin. [29]

Redding is a general law city operating under the council-manager form of government. [28]

Parks and recreation

Old City Hall Arts Center. Old City Hall on Market Street in Redding, California LCCN2013630842.tif
Old City Hall Arts Center.
Cascade Theatre Cascade Theater 1935 - Redding, CA.JPG
Cascade Theatre

Museums and public art



Performing arts


Simpson University. Simpson University (cropped).jpg
Simpson University.
Shasta College. Shasta College Amphitheatre (cropped).JPG
Shasta College.

Higher education



High schools



Charter schools

Trade schools




KRCR News Channel 7. The Northstate’s News



The historic Redding rail trestle. SP 4449 Sac Riv Bridge Redding Apr29 1977xRP - Flickr - drewj1946.jpg
The historic Redding rail trestle.

Major highways

Rail and bus transportation

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Redding station, operating its Coast Starlight daily in both directions between Seattle, Washington, and Los Angeles, California VA Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; Oakland, California; San Jose, California; Santa Barbara, California and all Intermediate station stops. Amtrak California also provides Thruway Motorcoach service to Stockton or Sacramento for connections to the San Joaquins, which serve the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles area via bus connections.

Redding provides a city bus transportation system called RABA (Redding Area Bus Authority). RABA provides routes throughout the City of Redding and also provides transportation throughout Redding's suburbs. Transportation is also available by RABA to Burney, by Sage Stage to Alturas and by Trinity Transit to Weaverville. [33] Redding is also served by the intercity bus companies Greyhound and Fronteras del Norte.[ citation needed ]

Shasta Regional Transportation Agency is developing a weekday commuter bus from Redding to the Sacramento Valley Station. [34]

Air transportation

Air transportation for the Redding area is provided by two general aviation airports. Redding Regional Airport, located south of Redding, has scheduled flights from SkyWest (United Express) and Avelo Airlines. The smaller Benton Airpark is located on the western side of Redding.

Notable people

This list includes notable persons who were born/raised/worked in, lived in, or whose identity was significantly influenced by Redding, as well as music groups that were founded in the area.


  1. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.
  2. Records for Redding observed at: [17]
    • Redding Weather Service Office, January 1893April 1929
    • Benton Field, May 1929July 1944
    • Two differing fire stations, August 1944August 1986
    • Redding Regional Airport since September 1986

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