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Little River, California facts for kids

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Little River
Road sign
Road sign
Country  United States
State  California
County Mendocino
 • Total 1.672 sq mi (4.332 km2)
 • Land 1.672 sq mi (4.332 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
66 ft (20 m)
 • Total 117
 • Density 70.0/sq mi (27.01/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 707
GNIS feature ID 1658981; 2628752

Little River (also known as Littleriver, Bells Harbor, and Kents Landing) is a small census-designated place in Mendocino County, California. It lies at an elevation of 66 feet (20 m). It is located two miles (3 km) south of the town of Mendocino and running along the Pacific Ocean coast on State Route 1. The town is home to several hundred people and takes its name from nearby Little River. The town center sits on a scenic bluff overlooking the mouth of Little River and hosts a grocery store, two gas pumps, a post office, and a restaurant within a single structure. The population was 117 at the 2010 census.


Little River was first settled by Lloyd and Samuel Bell, and the Moore Brothers. Shortly after, in 1856, W.H. Kent purchased the Bell tract and until 1862 the place was known as Bell’s Harbor and Kent’s Landing. In that year Ruel Stickney, Silas Coombs, and Tapping Reeves built a mill here, which provided the stimulus for the formation the town of Little River. This coastal mill town grew with the success of the mill so that eventually a schoolhouse, post house, shipyard, hotels, stores and blacksmith shops all established themselves here. Little River prospered in a similar way to many other towns on the Mendocino Coast until the nearby inland timber stands faltered. In the case of Little River, the mill closed in 1893. The loss of the mill shrunk the town and since that time it has served mainly as a tourist destination due to its beaches and Van Damme State Park, which the Little River runs through. The first road that ran through this area was the Anderson Valley and Big River Wagon Road (1966 GLO Plat). This road was likely widened and altered over the years until it was eventually added to the State Highway System.

Th Little River post office opened in 1865, changed its name to Littleriver in 1894, closed in 1929, and re-opened as Little River in 1930.

Film industry

The Heritage House Inn, a bed and breakfast in Little River (was closed, but just reopened), was the location for the film Same Time, Next Year starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 1.7 square miles (4.3 km²), all of it land.


The 2010 United States Census reported that Little River had a population of 117. The population density was 70.0 people per square mile (27.0/km²). The racial makeup of Little River was 113 (96.6%) White, 0 (0.0%) African American, 1 (0.9%) Native American, 0 (0.0%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 0 (0.0%) from other races, and 3 (2.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2 persons (1.7%).

The Census reported that 117 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 69 households, out of which 6 (8.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 25 (36.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3 (4.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1 (1.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 4 (5.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 0 (0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 35 households (50.7%) were made up of individuals and 14 (20.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.70. There were 29 families (42.0% of all households); the average family size was 2.38.

The population was spread out with 11 people (9.4%) under the age of 18, 5 people (4.3%) aged 18 to 24, 23 people (19.7%) aged 25 to 44, 49 people (41.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 29 people (24.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 54.7 years. For every 100 females there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.

There were 112 housing units at an average density of 67.0 per square mile (25.9/km²), of which 40 (58.0%) were owner-occupied, and 29 (42.0%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 7.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.5%. 67 people (57.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 50 people (42.7%) lived in rental housing units.

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