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Scotia, California

Census designated place
Main Street in Scotia
Main Street in Scotia
Scotia is located in California
Location in California
Country  United States
State  California
County Humboldt
 • Total 0.842 sq mi (2.179 km2)
 • Land 0.746 sq mi (1.932 km2)
 • Water 0.096 sq mi (0.247 km2)  11.3%
Elevation[2] 194 ft (59 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 850
 • Density 1,000/sq mi (390/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 95565
Area code 707
FIPS code 06-70518
GNIS feature IDs 232715, 2611446
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Scotia, California; U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Scotia, California

Scotia (formerly, Forestville)[3] is a census-designated place[4] in Humboldt County, California.[2] It is located 8.5 miles (13.7 km) south-southeast of Fortuna,[3] at an elevation of 194 feet (59 m).[2] The ZIP Code is 95565.[5] The population was 850 at the 2010 census.

Scotia is a company town which was previously wholly owned by the Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO). While it is home to approximately 800 past or present mill employees and their dependents, a process is underway to divide the homes into lots for sale. Located in northwestern California's Humboldt County, its partially wooded hillside near the Eel River is highlighted by the sheer size of mammoth lumber mill buildings located between the town and the river. Via U.S. Route 101, the town is 28 miles (45 km) south of Eureka, California and 244 miles (393 km) north of San Francisco.


  • History 1
  • Current issues 2
  • Infrastructure 3
  • Demographics 4
    • 2010 4.1
  • Visitor attractions 5
  • Politics 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8


Scotia was founded in 1863 as Forestville. It was renamed 25 years later because another community in California had a similar name. It is said that because it was populated by many residents who originated from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the name Scotia was chosen by a coin toss, the alternative of course being Brunswick.[6] At the time of its founding, Scotia was just one of many company towns across the Pacific Northwest, many of which closed down during the Great Depression. Early economic development started in 1883 when the Pacific Lumber Company started construction on a mill and housing.[7] Scotia, however, was one of a relative handful of company towns to survive this period. Most of the existing houses were built between the 1920s and 1950s.

The first post office at Scotia opened in 1888.[3] The Humboldt Bay and Eel River Railroad connected Scotia to Humboldt Bay in 1885. This railway became part of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway subsidiary San Francisco and Northwestern Railway in 1903 and was linked to the national rail network by completion of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1914.[8]

The town was formed following the winter flood of 1861-1862; that flood level was not observed again until 1955. The Eel River crested at a gauge height of 72 feet (10.1 feet higher than 1955) on 23 December 1964. Eighteen-million board feet of redwood logs and 23-million board feet of lumber were washed out of the Scotia sawmill and scattered along the lower river and Pacific coast to the mouth of the Columbia River.[9]

The 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquakes caused widespread damage in Humboldt County, including Scotia, because there were three major earthquakes in less than a 24-hour span. The first was a magnitude 7.2 quake at 11:06 p.m. on April 25, causing mill damage that took months to repair. The second quake at 12:41 a.m. on April 26, caused the most damage.

A fire, starting in Hoby's Market, exploded, burning the entire shopping center down. Fire crews, who were en route to North Court in response to a gas leak from a house falling and breaking a gas line, fought the fire the rest of the night, but the entire shopping center was a loss. This earthquake cause extensive damage to the North Court area of Scotia with numerous homes damaged. Pacific Gas & Electric responded to repair the gas line in North Court while all the residents were sequestered on a grassy hill the entire night. The third quake at 4:26 a.m. on April 26, measuring 6.7, compounded damage from the previous two quakes. The town was without water and electricity for some time. PALCO rebuilt the entire shopping center.

Current issues

PALCO announced in 2006 a desire to sell the homes (to the employees and retirees who currently live there) and commercial property. The company suggested that Scotia become part of et al., Debtors.) The Town of Scotia LLC has pursued a General Plan Amendment/ Zone Reclassification and Final Map Subdivision application. Subdivision requires fulfillment of conditions of approval which include formation of a community services district or other public entity to manage utilities. Service district formation requires approval by the Humboldt County Local Agency Formation Commission, which has a pending application. The purpose of the subdivision is to create individual parcels for existing residential and commercial properties, and public facilities. The proposed subdivision would allow for the sale of residential and commercial lots (all of which are currently owned and operated by the Town of Scotia LLC) to individual property owners.[11]


Offerings includes the following: a movie theater, a museum and a hotel with the town's only bar and restaurant, a new shopping center, a school through eighth grade, a community recreation center, a baseball field and two churches. PALCO operates the town on a one million dollar annual budget. Available housing consists of 274 two-to-four-bedroom wood frame cottages. The 28 person volunteer fire department is fully funded by PALCO.



The 2010 United States Census[12] reported that Scotia had a population of 850. The population density was 1,010.0 people per square mile (390.0/km²). The racial makeup of Scotia was 674 (79.3%) White, 3 (0.4%) African American, 35 (4.1%) Native American, 3 (0.4%) Asian, 9 (1.1%) Pacific Islander, 90 (10.6%) from other races, and 36 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 150 persons (17.6%).

The Census reported that 848 people (99.8% of the population) lived in households, 2 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 265 households, out of which 161 (60.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 140 (52.8%) were heterosexual married couples living together, 42 (15.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 30 (11.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 41 (15.5%) unmarried heterosexual partnerships, and 2 (0.8%) homosexual married couples or partnerships. 35 households (13.2%) were made up of individuals and 4 (1.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.20. There were 212 families (80.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.44.

The population was spread out with 322 people (37.9%) under the age of 18, 84 people (9.9%) aged 18 to 24, 277 people (32.6%) aged 25 to 44, 144 people (16.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 23 people (2.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26.0 years. For every 100 females there were 104.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.1 males.

There were 273 housing units at an average density of 324.4 per square mile (125.3/km²), of which 0 (0%) were owner-occupied, and 265 (100%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0%; the rental vacancy rate was 1.5%. 0 people (0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 848 people (99.8%) lived in rental housing units.

Visitor attractions

Scotia museum

The Scotia Museum contains artifacts, photographs, and exhibits. The Fisheries Center allows visitors to view various types of the area's native fish and experience a setting that is remarkably similar to their natural environment.


In the state legislature, Scotia is in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Mike McGuire,[13] and the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jim Wood.[14]

Federally, Scotia is in California's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California".  
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Scotia, California
  3. ^ a b c Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 139.  
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Scotia, California
  5. ^ USPS ZIP Code lookup tool
  6. ^ Jerry Rohde, "Scotia", excerpted from Both Sides of the Bluff: History of Humboldt County Places, in North Coast Journal, October 23, 2014
  7. ^ Hawk, Diane (2004). Touring the old redwood highway : Humboldt County. Arcata, Calif.: Hawk Mountaintop Pub. p. 100.  
  8. ^ Stindt, Fred A. (1978). The Northwestern Pacific Railroad: Redwood Empire Route (3rd ed.).  
  9. ^ Waananen, A.O., Harris, D.D. and Williams, R.C. (1971). Floods of December 1964 and January 1965 in the Far Western States. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. pp. 64–67&204. 
  10. ^ KTVU-Channel 2 (San Francisco Bay Area Fox Network affiliate) 10:00 News
  11. ^ Humboldt County Community Development Services staff report for the Scotia General Plan Amendment, November 2009
  12. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Scotia CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
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