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A Brief History of Red Bluff

Jump to California Facts

RED BLUFF derives its name from its location on a high vertical bank at the end of the bend of the Sacramento River. 

Red Bluff began seven to eight years before the community came into existence. Red Bluff became the marketing and distribution center for a large area and its scope in that role widened steadily. By 1853 it was the chief commercial city in the northern part of the Sacramento Valley, with pack trains operating to and from points as far away as Oregon, Nevada and Idaho.

Red Bluff achieved and retained commercial importance because, for more than a century, it was the head of navigation on the Sacramento River. The initial attempt at river shipping was made by Lassen in 1849 when he was still trying to put over Benton City. The last trip was losing venture and he abandoned his plan. The following year steamers commenced regular and frequent trips between San Francisco and Red Bluff and soon arrivals and departures were almost a daily occurrence. The service continued until after the turn of the century.

A pioneer of Red Bluff was William B. Ide, commander of the group of Americans who, in the summer of 1846, revolted against the Mexican rule, seized control of Sonoma, raised the Bear Flag and proclaimed the Republic of  California. Ide was President of the Republic from June 10 to July 8, 1846, when couriers brought word that two days previously Commodore John Drake Sloat had taken over California in the name of the United States. Ide's home on the river bank about two miles north of Red Bluff is now under the State Park System.


The Weather

Red Bluff is located in the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, which is the the northern half of the Great Valley of California. Mountains surround the city on three sides, forming a huge horseshoe. The Coastal Range is located about 30 miles to the west, the Sierra Nevada system about 40 miles to the east, and the Cascade Range about 50 miles to the northeast and north, completing the horseshoe. The western portion of the valley floor is composed of oak and grass woodland range. While some areas are farmed, most of these rolling hills and terrace lands are used for winter and spring grazing by cattle and sheep.

The Sacramento River is controlled by Shasta Dam located just north of Redding. Drainage from Mt. Lassen, Mt. Shasta and the Trinity Alps and many smaller creeks make up the Sacramento River.

Snowfall is not common in Red Bluff. Occasional thunderstorms occur during the winter months. Annual precipitation for the area is about 21".

Temperatures are the highest from June to September and can surpass 100 degrees. Although the temperature surpasses 100 degrees it rarely maintains that temperature for a only few days at a time. At night the temperature usually cools off considerably. Winter months the temperature occasionally drops below freezing but not for long periods of time.

Red Bluff's weather is a classical four season pattern and is not extreme from one season to another. 

This content is from Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber of Commerce and edited for content by the webmaster