The city of Chico is a testament to community spirit. In 1860, General John Bidwell founded Chico on a portion of his 28,000-acre ranch. To encourage the development of a quality community, he donated land to anyone willing to build a house, church, or any other public structure and, in 1887, gave land for the development of an agriculture college. As part of the effort to create their ideal city, the General and his wife funded Bidwell Park, now the largest municipal park west of the Mississippi River. California State University Chico developed from that early agricultural college and has helped shape the thriving community. The city’s numerous art and glass blowing studios have helped Chico become one of America’s “Top 10 Art Communities”. The downtown is known for its eclectic collection of restaurants and shops, blending modern technology and wares with beautiful classic artchitecture and cobblestone walkways. It is certainly worthy of an afternoon stroll or a weekend visit.
Paradise is no fable, it’s a short drive from Chico: a haven just out of the reach of the valley fog but below the heavy snows of the Sierra. Its quiet residential streets are home to those who found exactly what they were looking for. Gold played an important part of the community’s history, including the 1859 discovery of the largest nugget ever found in California, weighing 54 pounds! Paradise has also become known for its friendly community and fine collection of antique shops.