California was originally founded as the township of Boonesborough in 1834 and later as the city of California in 1848. The story is told that the city was named after an early settler named California Wilson. According to the legend, California Wilson told two men during a “house raising” he would buy local residents two gallons of whiskey if they would name the town after him. We don’t know if Mr. Wilson made good on his promise, but it makes a good story!
California is the County Seat of Moniteau County and is located 22 miles west of the state capital, Jefferson City, on U.S. Highway 50. The Missouri River runs along the northeastern border of the county.
California has a census population of 4,005. Despite its small size, California has some of the most unique and prosperous industries in mid-Missouri. These include Burger’s Smokehouse, which cures and processes hams, turkeys, and other speciality meats for shipment all over the world; Honeysuckle White, a division of Cargill Inc.; Tana Wire Marker, which produces the brightly colored balls affixed to electrical wires to warn aircraft of their presence; and Arkansas Valley Feather, which processes and markets feather products. California is also home to California Manufacturing Inc. (coats and jackets), and Mo-Wood Products (cabinets and wood products).