Paradise is in Northern California in Butte County, 490 miles north of Los Angeles, 175 miles northeast of San Francisco, 92 miles north of Sacramento, the State Capital, and 175 miles northwest of famous Lake Tahoe, 22 miles north of Oroville, county seat of Butte County, and 14 miles east of Chico. Getting to Paradise is easy if you remember All Roads Lead to Paradise.
The estimated population of Paradise varies by source. The estimated 2013 population is approximately 26,280.The elevation of Paradise ranges from 1,200 to 2,400 feet above sea level; its neighboring communities, Magalia from 2,400 to 2,800 feet, Stirling City at 3,532 feet, and Inskip at 4,816 feet.
Climate varies in the Paradise area. The highest temperature on record is 111 degrees F., the lowest temperature recorded being 12 degrees F. There are 65 days average per year with temperatures 90 degrees or higher, and 30 days average with a low temperature of 32 degrees or colder. Average rainfall is 51 inches, mostly in the winter months, but ranging from November to April. Snow? Yes, an average of 6 inches in the upper Ridge area. Sunny days? Lots of them. Average 257 per year. Smog is virtually nonexistant.
Where did Paradise get its name?
One of the explanations given for its name come from the early mining days when Paradise consisted of mainly gambling halls and saloons. The Pair-O-Dice saloon was one of the most popular.Another explanation is that an early settler, “Uncle Billie” Leonard and friends had rode horses to the Sacramento Valley and back on a hot summer day. And upon returning to the shade of the tall pine trees, Uncle Billie dismounted and proclaimed, “Boys, this is Paradise!”
The Gold Rush brought the first white settlers to the Paradise area. Before then for years the Ridge was home to the Maidu Indians. During the early days of the Gold Rush settlement the Ridge, via the Pentz Road route, was a passageway from Oroville to places such as Quincy, Susanville and Nevada. Stage stops included Coutolenc, Dogtown, Nimshew, Toadtown, and Inskip. Other routes traveled were Neal Road, a cattle road, and Clark Road, an early stage route joining the Oroville to Susanville route near Magalia. As families grew, the opening of the Delaplain School came in 1861 and that was followed in 1879 by the area’s first church. The first post office operated out of the Strong house. The 1880 census listed 301 Paradise Ridge residents.
Although mining continued, the mainstay of economic development was lumbering and livestock production. Agriculture also was important to the early economy and agriculture fairs were held annually. By 1916 the farming industry was helped by the formation of the Paradise Irrigation District and the construction of a dam to form the Magalia Reservoir. Apple orchards were planted and Paradise became known as the apple center of California.
In October 1937, the first Paradise fair was held. It was appropriately called the Paradise Fair and Apple Show and lasted 5 days! In the center of the dance floor of the Memorial Hall was constructed a pyramid of 15,000 apples. Since 1921 the Noble Orchards have been producing apples. It is still family run and is the last of such farms on the Ridge. A variety of apples are harvested from the now 30 acres, and 20 acres of peaches. The orchard has seedlings from as far back as the 1870’s. Many of the pies at the Paradise Johnny Appleseed Days festival are made from the Jonathan variety. The Noble Orchards are located on Pentz Road and is open to the public.
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