Palo Cedro (pop. 4,000) is 8 miles (13 km) east of Redding, California. The towns of Bella Vista (pop. 1,218), Millville (pop. 610), Shingletown (pop. 2,222), Oak Run (pop. 760), Whitmore (pop. 593), and Round Mountain (pop. 122) lie within a fifteen-mile (24 km) radius. Most of the kids that go to school in the area go to Foothill High School, its a good little school with an API score of 817, making it one of the best public schools in northern California.
The earliest history of Palo Cedro comes from the diary of John Work. It is known that he and a group from the Hudson Bay Fur Traders passed along Cow Creek through the area now known as Palo Cedro in 1832
In 1883 a post office was established for this area but at that time the town was known as Albertson which was later changed to Roberts in 1885 and finally to Palo Cedro in 1893.
In the early 1890s T.W.H. Shannahan and Joe Enright bought 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land from Lem Benton and had it divided into 12 lots. Their dream of a town never materialized and the tree for which the site was named was cut down. Palo Cedro means "Cedarwood."
In 1897 or shortly before, the Anderson and Bella Vista Railroad was constructed by the Terry Lumber Company from Anderson to Bella Vista, passing through the settlement of Palo Cedro. Miners used this railroad, as did the Terry Lumber Company at Bella Vista. The train brought groceries and mail to the villages along its route. It also had a passenger car.
Palo Cedro's first school house was located near the corner of Hillside Drive and Deschutes Road on the south side of town but was later moved to a site near the Grange Hall which is on the north side of Palo Cedro. The school remained there until the "new" Junction School was built on the south side of town in 1960.
In 1907 or thereabouts, Frank and Mary Love owned the Palo Cedro store. The store was on the west side of the tracks and their house on the east. There was a two story house on the northeast corner of Deschutes Road and Old Forty-Four Drive which may, at one time, have been a stopping place for stage drivers and travelers.
Sarah Addington later owned the Palo Cedro store. She was also the postmaster and handed the position down to her daughter, Mary Jones. She moved the post office next door into her home. John Gebauer has since owned the store. In the 1960s John moved to his new building on the south east side of Palo Cedro with several one-story spaces for commercial businesses. The largest business was the Palo Cedro Market and his son, John, now operates it. The post office moved into a part of John's building and Mary's assistants were her sisters, and the postmaster was Sylvia Metz. Requiring more space the post office was later moved to a two-story building on the north side of Palo Cedro.
The first Grange Hall and Feed Store were constructed in the early 1930s just off Deschutes Road on Old Highway Forty-Four. The building was two stories with the meeting and/or dance hall upstairs. The dining room was downstairs in back and the feed store in front. This building burned down in the early 1940s and was immediately replaced with the one story hall one can see today. The feed store was built on the north side of Old Forty-Four Drive and is still there today.
As Palo Cedro continued to grow more services were needed, and the first independently-owned pharmacy opened in August 1975. Palo Cedro Pharmacy has been servicing the community for over 30 years. The community-based pharmacy started operations after remodeling an auto body shop, but moved to their current location on the south side of Highway 44 off Deschutes Rd. to accommodate a growing business. Palo Cedro Pharmacy continues to be the place where everyone knows you by your first name, and where friends and family gather to chat about their day. Don't be surprised, if you find an old photo of yourself or a friend on the wall! Palo Cedro Pharmacy has an eclectic mix of pictures, memorabilia, and antiques collected over the last 30 years showing how the town and pharmacy has changed over the years.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km²), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,247 people, 436 households, and 367 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 330.1 people per square mile (127.4/km²). There were 447 housing units at an average density of 118.3/sq mi (45.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.10% White, 0.56% African American, 1.12% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.88% from other races, and 2.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.57% of the population.
There were 436 households out of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.5% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.6% were non-families. 13.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 28.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $51,471, and the median income for a family was $60,385. Males had a median income of $47,232 versus $33,125 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $23,419. About 5.4% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Palo Cedro is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Sam Aanestad, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. Federally, Palo Cedro is located in California's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +13 and is represented by Republican Wally Herger.