Founded in 1850, Weaverville is a historic California Gold Rush town. Nestled at the foot of the current day Trinity Alps Wilderness Area, Weaverville was once home to approximately 2,000 Chinese gold miners, and had its very own Chinatown.
Logging, tourism and marijuana production were the economic mainstays of Weaverville for many years. The regional economy has been in steady decline for many years, with only a small uptick brought introduced by the global real estate bubble. Trinity county's unemployment rate - as of April, 2009 - stood at 20.9 % (NY Times).
Weaverville is the home of California's oldest continuously used Chinese temple. The Joss House is now managed by the park system and is open to visitors all year round
Weaverville is often threatened by forest fires, most recently on July 29, 2006. Much of the town was evacuated for two days, but the fire was later controlled with little damage due to the efforts of federal, state and local firefighters.
The Weaverville Joss House (also called "The Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds"), a Taoist temple, was built in 1874 and is California's best preserved example of a Gold Rush-era Chinese place of worship. The temple is now the Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park, and its interior, including an intricately carved wooden altar, can be viewed by visitors.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 35.4 square miles (91.7 km²), all of it land.
The National Weather Service has had a cooperative weather station in Weaverville since 1894. Based on those records, average January temperatures are a maximum of 47.2°F and a minimum of 27.4°F and average July temperatures are a maximum of 94.1°F and a minimum of 49.1°F. There are an average of 77.3 days with highs of 90°F (32°C) or higher an average of 126.8 days with lows of 32°F (0°C) or lower. The record high temperature was 116°F on August 4, 1932, and the record low temperature was -10°F on December 9, 1972.
Average annual precipitation is 35.28 inches. There are an average of 83 days annually with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1970 with 53.77 inches and the dryest year was 1932 with 20.19 inches. The most precipitation in one month was 20.86 inches in December 2005. The most precipitation in 24 hours was 5.50 inches on January 4, 1982. Average annual snowfall is 22.5 inches. The most snowfall in one month was 75.3 inches in January 1950.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,554 people, 1,513 households, and 960 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 100.4 people per square mile (38.8/km²). There were 1,653 housing units at an average density of 46.7/sq mi (18.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.47% White, 0.25% African American, 2.93% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 1.21% from other races, and 3.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.33% of the population.
There were 1,513 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 28.0% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.7 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $30,319, and the median income for a family was $37,813. Males had a median income of $34,091 versus $24,722 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,297. About 13.2% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.6% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Weaverville is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Sam Aanestad, and in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Patty Berg. Federally, Weaverville is located in California's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +11, which is 2 points lower than it was prior to the 2008 election. The 2nd Congressional District is currently represented by Republican Wally Herger.
It has been claimed that Weaverville was an inspiration for the remote paradise of Shangri-la from British author James Hilton's "Lost Horizon", but this is the result of a misinterpretation of a comment by Hilton in a 1941 interview, in which he said that Weaverville reminded him of Shangri-La. Coincidentally, Junction City (about 8 miles from Weaverville) now has a Tibetan Buddhist center.