Albion is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It is located 15 miles (24 km) south of Fort Bragg, at an elevation of 174 feet (53 m). Albion had a population of 168 at the 2010 census.
Albion was named in 1844, as a reference to when Sir Francis Drake landed on the northern California coast and called it New Albion. The name is an ancient word for Britain, which stems from the Latin word albus, meaning white, referring to the White Cliffs of Dover.
In 1845, Mexico awarded English sea captain William A. Richardson a large land grant, stretching along the California coast from Mal Paso Creek to Big River (encompassing the land between the present-day towns of Elk and Mendocino). Captain Richardson had partly earned this prize by marrying the daughter of the Mexican Commandant of Yerba Buena (present-day San Francisco). By 1853 Richardson had built, in the middle of this tract, a home and sawmill alongside a narrow river estuary.
Richardson's sawmill was the first to begin operation along the Redwood Coast. It was powered by a tide-driven water wheel, which would operate whether the tide was coming in or going out. Unfortunately, the mill was destroyed by ocean waves during its first winter. Richardson rebuilt the mill the following year, steam-driven this time, but lost all his land that same year when the U.S. Land Commission refused to recognize his Mexican title..The first post office opened in 1859.
The sawmill continued to operate at this location over the next 75 years. By 1861 a hotel, livery stable, and mercantile store were also in operation. Miles Standish (a direct descendant of the famous pilgrim) and Henry Hickey purchased the lumber company in 1891. Southern Pacific Railroad bought the operation in 1907 in order to provide redwood ties for railroads they were building in Mexico. They expanded the small logging railroad in the area, extending lines inland to Comptche and the deep end of Anderson Valley. The mill eventually closed down in 1928, and the Fort Bragg and Southeastern Railroad halted operation in 1930.
The town belongs to the Mendocino Unified School District and children attend Albion Elementary School or Mendocino K8 School until third grade, then Mendocino K8 School and Mendocino High School.
The Albion Biological Field Station, a facility of Pacific Union College (a private Seventh-day Adventist college) is located in Albion, on the south bank of the Albion River; it offers college biology courses to Pacific Union students as well as shorter courses for elementary and high school students and seniors.