Coalinga, California

Coalinga, California

Coalinga is a city in Fresno County, California, United States. The population was 11,668 at the 2000 census and 17,080 as of 2005, according to the Coalinga Chamber of Commerce Web site On May 2 1983, the town was heavily damaged by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.0 sq mi (15.53 km²). 5.9 square miles (15.4 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.34%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 11,668 people, 3,515 households, and 2,632 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,963.4 people per square mile (758.4/km²). There were 3,848 housing units at an average density of 647.5/sq mi (250.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 57.31% White, 2.37% Black or African American, 1.52% Native American, 1.65% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 32.30% from other races, and 4.61% from two or more races. 49.80% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,515 households out of which 47.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.1% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.59.

In the city the population was spread out with 33.2% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 15.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 108.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,133, and the median income for a family was $41,208. Males had a median income of $41,129 versus $29,088 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,425. About 16.4% of families and 20.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.0% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.

The Coalinga Chamber of Commerce Web site claims a population of 17,080 in 2005.


In the early years of railroading, before the extensive development of oil production in California, the steam locomotives were powered by the burning of coal obtained from the northern foothills of Mount Diablo. The Southern Pacific Railway established the site as a coaling station in 1888, and it was called simply Coaling Station A. Local tradition has it that an official of Southern Pacific made the name more sonorous by adding an a to it. This produced an apparently Nahuatl name, as if from cōātl = "snake".

Today, the city's main industries are agriculture, oil and incarceration. The city is home to the Harris Ranch Beef Company; the Coalinga Oil Field, operated by Chevron and Aera Energy; Pleasant Valley State Prison; and Coalinga State Hospital. Coalinga also contains the primary campus of West Hills College, which is part of the California Community Colleges system.

1983 Coalinga Earthquake

Coalinga made national news on May 2, 1983, as the site of an earthquake that destroyed more than 800 homes and other buildings, and was felt as far away as Los Angeles and western Nevada. That temblor is known as the Coalinga Earthquake. Many buildings such as the PG & E building are made of unreinforced masonry and suffered major damage.


The Harris Ranch, a major cattle ranch, is east of Coalinga, near Interstate 5.

Coalinga is home to California's first new mental health hospital in more than 50 years: a 1,500-bed facility built specifically to house sexually violent predators. Coalinga State Hospital opened in September 2005 and is currently hiring aggressively to fill the facility, which may have a boosting effect on the city of Coalinga's population.


Coalinga's water was so full of minerals, that potable water had to be brought in by railroad in tanker cars from Armona, California. For many years, "Armona Water" was the only drinking water residents could drink. And Coalinga was one of only a few towns in the US that had three taps, one for hot water, one for cold water, and one for drinking water. Finally, in the early 1960s, Coalinga held the first practical demonstration for reverse osmosis (RO), and its Armona water was replaced by RO water.


Notable residents

  • The city is the birthplace of major league ballplayer Stanley George Frenchy Bordagaray 1910-2000. He played in major-league baseball for eleven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees.
  • The city is the birthplace of famous pop singer Jo Stafford 1917. Singing in the USO she was given the name "GI Jo." "You Belong to Me", her biggest hit made her the first female singer to top chartes in the US and UK.
  • Legendary bandit Joaquin Murrieta was killed north of Coalinga. California Historical Landmark #344 near the intersection of State Routes 33 and 198 marks the approximate site of his headquarter, Arroyo de Cantua, where he was killed.
  • X-Raided, a rapper and active member of the 24th Street Garden Blocc Crips is imprisoned in a maximum security prison in Coalinga for the murder of a rival gang members mother.


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