Shasta county in California was among the original counties of the state. It was created in 1850 at the time statehood was declared. The name came from Mount Shasta which came from an Indian tribe that once lived in the area. The spelling of the name Shasta has varied through the years until the current version was adopted.
Shasta is the site of the Iron Mountain Mine which is the nation’s largest toxic waste sites. The reason for this, it has become discovered, is due to hydraulic mining operations during and after the California gold rush. Mercury and acidic compounds resulted from that type of mining and the after affects have only recently been discovered. The area became a Superfund site in 1983 and is undergoing massive treatment operations and clean-up missions.
The mine is one of several current “hot spots” for tourists in the Shasta area along with Shasta Lake, Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Hat Creek Radio Observatory and Turtle Bay Exploration Park. It is a pretty good tourist hub considering the size of the county. Shasta is currently a strong Republican area and is represented by Republicans in the State legislature.
Needless to say the area has grown since the prospecting days. There are currently 163,00+ people living in Shasta which means there are about 43 people per square mile. This is in sharp contrast to the handful of people in the area at the time of the gold rush. There is a wide diversity of ethnic groups represented in Shasta including Asian, Black, Pacific Islanders, Germans, English, Irish and other races and ethnicities.
The median age in Shasta today is 39 and females have a slight population edge over the males. Males, however, hold a higher median income in Shasta. All of this is vastly contrasting the days of the white bearded prospectors and miners of the1849 Gold rush.