A lot of us Californians like to hit the open road, explore miles of highway and venture off onto some back roads. Sometimes, we come across towns with some pretty bizarre and surprising names. For this installment in our series “A Place Called What?!” we head to Paradise in Butte County. Know an unusual place name in California? Tell us about it in the comments below, or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Mark Thorp says he lives in paradise, he means it.
Thorp is one of the 26,000 people who live in Paradise, California, a town in Butte County about 10 miles east of Chico. He works for the Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce coordinating membership and events.
He says although the town is very nice, that's not how it got its name.
"It was a gambling-oriented mining community," he explains. During the Gold Rush, a group of miners — who were also members of the local fraternity E Clampus Vitus — called the town "Pair of Dice." Eventually, the name was refined to "Paradise."
Besides its flashy name, Paradise is famous for being the home of the largest gold nugget ever found — a whopping 54 pounds! To celebrate the finding and transport of the huge gold nugget, each year the town hosts Gold Nugget Days. This year's celebration will be on April 28, 2018.