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Stories from the valley

The Big Town

Contributed by Steve Beckley

rColusa was always considered the big town when I was growing up in Grimes. With a population of about 5,900, Colusa is still the big town in Colusa County and is the county seat.  It was established as Colusi in 1850 by Charles D. Semple and flourished because of it location on the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Sacramento River.  The railroad no longer goes through Colusa, but the river plays an important role in its economy.

Colusa Movie

My connection with Colusa began early as I was born in the hospital there and it still continues.  It was where we went to movies at the Colusa Theatre (still operating), shopping, church, bowling at Riverside Lanes, dined and many other activities.  In 1962 I was honorary mayor of Colusa as part of a group of county Boy Scouts that took the part of city and county officials during Scout week. (Hopefully, my few hours as mayor helped make the town better.)  I spent many hours were spent cruising the town’s streets in my 1968 Ford Pickup, which was purchased in Colusa.

Colusa Historic

Colusa today is still a vibrant town featuring old and new buildings.  A few of my favorites are the Colusa County Courthouse, built in 1861, IOOF Hall constructed in 1892 and the old Colusa Union High School, built in 1926.  A listing of the town’s historic buildings is at the city’s website. Also along the tree line streets are many refurbished old homes.

Agriculture is the primary industry, but outdoors activities such as hunting and fishing play an important role.  The Colusa National Wildlife Refuge is located just west of town along Highway 20 and Colusa – Sacramento River State Recreation Area is located at the east end of 10th St. Sportsmen from throughout the state stop at Kittles Outdoor and Sport to purchase gear.

Festivals are a big part of Colusa activities and they include the Colusa County Fair, Farm Equipment Show, Duck Calling Contest and Western Days.

Colusa Rugby

So do yourself a favor and check out Colusa.  Just take Hwy 20 east from I5 in Williams, or drive my favorite Highway 45.  You never know what you will find.  A couple of days ago when I was doing photography for this blog, I had lunch at Jeff’s Frezzette then walked a few blocks to watch the Colusa County Rugby Football Club playing a match.  That is not a sight you will see in a lot of valley towns.