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Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Madera County, California


Page Contents for Chowchilla, California

Statistics & Facts


History & History-related items

City Attractions


Historical Events




Statistics & Facts

The California state capital is Sacramento.
The population of Chowchilla is approximately 17,089 (2005), 18720 (2010).
The approximate number of families is 2,711 (2000), 3673 (2010).
The amount of land area in Chowchilla is 7.603 sq. kilometers.
The amount of land area in Chowchilla is 7.10 sq. miles.
The amount of surface water is 0 sq kilometers.
The distance from Chowchilla to Washington DC is 2455 miles.
The distance to the California state capital is 117 miles. (as the crow flies)
Chowchilla is positioned 37.11 degrees north of the equator and 120.25 degrees west of the prime meridian.
Chowchilla elevation is 240 feet above sea level.
Chowchilla median income is $ 39,600 (2005).
The Chowchilla median home price is $ 217,500 (2005).
Chowchilla average annual rainfall is 10.03 inches per year
Chowchilla average temperature is 61.9 degrees F.


about 20 miles from Merced and 40 miles from Fresno in central California. Other nearby communitiesinclude Le Grand, Planada, Madera Acres, Madera, Parkwood, Parksdale and Firebaugh.
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History & History Related Items

Chowchilla was named for the Chowchilla Indians who lived in the area. Apparently, the tribe was known for bravery in the area.
Mr. Orlando Alison Robertson purchased the land for Chowchilla in May 1912. He planned to sell half of it to farmers. The northeast corner was for the townsite and he set about mapping the area. Streets were laid out and buildings were erected. Railroad lines were even laid to help the settlers. For additional history, see the website below.

Here is a history page for Chowchilla.
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Berenda Reservoir
about three miles outside town, this park has six acres. Facilities available include a shelter, island, boat launch, swimming and beach areas and restrooms. Please call ahead for hours of operation and other current details.
PHone: 559-665-8640
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Chowchilla City Government

City of Chowchilla
130 S. Second Street
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Phone: 559-665-8615

Chowchilla Historical Events

1976, July 15
A school bus, full of children ages 5 to 14, was hi-jacked on their trip home from the fairgrounds. When the bus was found later, there was no one aboard. The driver was Ed Rey, age 55 at the time. As was later found out, the kidnapped victims were driven for eleven hours inside two vans before they were entombed in a rock quarry in Livermore. The small 8 x 16 area was inside a moving van. The children dug their way out of the space after 16 hours underground. They were all safe and reasonably healthy and returned to Chowchilla on 17 July 1976.

The investigators were able to dig out the van and learned it had been buried the previous November. A search was made of the estate of the quarry owner, Fred Nickerson Woods. Nothing was found, but the Woods son, Fred Newhall Woods IV was missing. Woods and his friends James Schoenfelt and Richard Schoenfeld were then sought by the police. All three were taken into custody by July 29th. A trial was held in which the three young men pleaded guilty to a number of charges. They were all sentenced to life in prison. Though eligible for parole, it is unlikely it will happen soon. A granite monument was placed in the Chowchilla Government Center to commemorate this incident.

Chowchilla Libraries

Chowchilla Branch Library
300 Kings Street
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Phone: 559-665-2630

Chowchilla Schools

Chowchilla Elementary School District
355 No. 5th Street
P.O. Box 910
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Phone: 559-665-8000

Chowchilla Union High School District
805 Humboldt Avenue
Chowchilla, Ca 93610
Phone: 559-665-3662

Alview-Dairyland Unified School District
12861 Avenue 18 1/2
Chowchilla, Ca 93610
Phone: 559-665-2394 Chowchilla


1990 - 5,930
2000 - 11,127
2005 - 17,089 (includes 7,707 prison population)
2007 - 17,827
Median age:
2000 - 34.1 years

Median household income:
2000 - $ 30,729
2005 - $ 39,600

Median house value:
2000 - $ 83,800
2005 - $ 217,500

Chowchilla is located in the Pacific Time Zone and does participate in Daylight Savings Time during a portion of the year.

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