The City of Redding was founded by the Central & Oregon Railroad in 1872 and served as the terminus of the railroad for over ten years until construction resumed through the Sacramento River Canyon. The original town was bordered by West Street, East Street, South Street, and North Street (now Eureka Way).
Redding was incorporated as a Class-4 city on October 4, 1887, and became the Shasta County seat on May 19, 1888.
Initially, California Street was Redding’s main street due to its prime location next to the railroad. As the automobile became ascendent, business began to shift a block east from California Street to Market Street. Market Street soon became part of the Pacific Highway, the first major north-south highway in California.
The Pacific Highway became Highway 99 and the automobile continued to influence downtown, causing the once largely residential Pine Street to become a commercial street lined with motels and other businesses catering to motorists. Once Interstate 5 opened, Redding’s development continued to shift eastward and some well-meaning but ill-considered redevelopment efforts in the 1960s and 1970s tried to help downtown by catering to motorists at all costs.
Fortunately, there are still numerous historic buildings lovingly preserved downtown, such as the Cascade Theater, Lorenz Hotel, and Old City Hall. Just north of the original plat, the mighty Sacramento River still rolls through town and is gracefully spanned by Santiago Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge, the architect’s first free-standing bridge in the United States.
Today, Redding is the fourth largest city in the Sacramento Valley with a population of about 90,000 people and is the center of a network of over 80 miles of trails in the surrounding area.