Crescent City was incorporated in 1854, and became the county seat of Del Norte County when the county was formed in 1857. Most of the original inhabitants were workers in the nearby mines. As the mining industry waned, it was replaced by logging and fishing industries during the early 20th century. These industries have also experienced recent decline.
In the 1989, Pelican Bay State Prison was built and joined with the city.
The highest temperature recorded in Crescent City was , observed on September 24, 1964, June 1, 1970, and October 10, 1991. The lowest temperature on record was on December 21, 1990.
The maximum monthly precipitation was in November 1973. The maximum 24-hour precipitation was on January 9, 1995. The most snowfall in one month and in 24 hours was on January 6, 1972.
On March 27, 1964, the Good Friday Earthquake off Anchorage, Alaska, set in motion local landslide tsunamis, as well as a trans-Pacific one that sped in three hours down the U.S. West Coast to the state of Washington. Destroying docks, boats, cars, coastal dwellings and surging up rivers with the same result, the tsunami continued down the coast.
Within another 1/1-2 hours four waves struck over a two-hour period at Crescent City. Afterwards, 289 buildings and businesses had been destroyed; 1000 cars and 25 large fishing vessels crushed; 12 people were confirmed dead, over 100 were injured, and numbers were missing; 60 blocks had been inundated with 30 city blocks destroyed in total. Although most of the missing were later accounted for, not all were tracked down. Insurance adjusters estimated that the city received more damage from the tsunami on a block-by-block basis than did Anchorage, Alaska, from the initial earthquake.
Heroes abounded. One man swam through the treacherous waters engulfing Crescent City to find a rowboat and shortly saved two drowning people, then rescued six others: his father, mother, fiancée, and three friends. Tragically, he was the only one of his group who survived when the raging ocean overturned their boat and swept them through a long culvert underneath Highway 101, where an iron grate plugged with debris caught everyone.
The tsunami raced down the U.S. West Coast with more deaths and destruction, but no location was hit as hard as this small town was. Crescent City bore the brunt, due to its offshore geology, position to the earthquake’s strike-line, underwater contours such as the Cobb Seamount, and rivers with their magnetic draws that are positioned to the city. Although houses, buildings, and infrastructure were later rebuilt, years passed before the city recovered from the devastation to lives, property, and its economy.
The city is deemed to be tsunami-ready today. Its preparedness was tested on June 14, 2005 when an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale hit offshore. Reportedly, much of the city was evacuated in a matter of 20 minutes when a tsunami warning was issued, but no waves were reported.
On November 15, 2006, a magnitude 8.3 earthquake struck off the Kuril Islands in the western Pacific. A tsunami warning was issued but rescinded hours later. However, a surge from that quake did hit the harbor at Crescent City causing damage to three docks and several boats. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a county state of emergency. Upon that declaration, the area affected was eligible for federal emergency relief funding to repair the damage.
As of the 2003 Population Estimate from the Census Bureau, there are 7,319 people residing in the city. Census data from the year 2000 indicate that the population density is 2,252.2 people per square mile (868.9/km²). There are 1,754 housing units at an average density of 986.1/sq mi (380.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 78.33% White, 0.52% Black or African American, 6.09% Native American, 4.62% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 4.27% from other races, and 6.04% from two or more races. 11.01% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 1,578 households out of which 35.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% are married couples living together, 20.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% are non-families. 35.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.40 and the average family size is 3.12.
In the city the population is spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 85.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 82.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $20,133, and the median income for a family is $22,058. Males have a median income of $36,667 versus $19,922 for females. The per capita income for the city is $12,833. 34.6% of the population and 33.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 46.6% of those under the age of 18 and 4.8% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
SkyWest Airlines conducts passenger flights to and from Jack McNamara Field Airport. The majority of flights connect to San Francisco International Airport through Arcata-Eureka Airport and vice-versa, although connections are also available to Sacramento and Portland, Oregon.
The Crescent City Harbor serves as a commercial fishing boat basin for Salmon, Shrimp, Tuna, Cod, and Dungeness Crab commercial fishing vessels. The Harbor is also home to multiple fishing and non-fishing related businesses and harbor governmental offices. The Crescent City Harbor also has several pleasure boat docks.
Crescent City also boasts one of the few fireworks displays for the Fourth of July holiday in the immediate geographic location.
US Patent Issued to Pratt & Whitney Canada on Jan. 17 for "Fuel Inlet with Crescent Shaped Passage for Gas Turbine Engines" (Canadian Inventors)
Jan 20, 2012; ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 20 -- United States Patent no. 8,096,131, issued on Jan. 17, was assigned to Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp....
Patent No. D597,364 Issued on Aug. 4, Assigned to MoonLight Pillows, Ornamental Design for Crescent-Shaped Pillow (Minnesota Inventor)
Aug 10, 2009; ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 10 -- Nancy Lindgren, Minneapolis, has developed an ornamental design for a crescent-shaped pillow....