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Loleta
Swauger and Swauger's Station
census-designated place
Loleta's Main Street on south side of rail tracks
Loleta's Main Street on south side of rail tracks
Country  United States
State  California
County Humboldt County
Area
 • Total 2.125 sq mi (5.504 km2)
 • Land 2.125 sq mi (5.504 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation 46 ft (14 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 783
 • Density 368.5/sq mi (142.26/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP Code 95551
Area code(s) 707
GNIS feature IDs 1656137; 2611440

Loleta (formerly, Swauger and Swauger's Station) (Wiyot: Guduwalhat) is a census-designated place in Humboldt County, California which derives its name from lalōekā, the Wiyot name for the trail on the top of Table Bluff. Loleta is located 5.5 miles (9 km) south of Fields Landing, and 15 miles (24 km) south of Eureka at an elevation of 46 feet (14 m). The population was 783 at the 2010 census. Residents live in a central community area and rural outskirts. There are two separate Native American reservations on the rural outskirts of Table Bluff, California.

The ZIP Code is 95551, and the community is inside area code 707.

History

European settlement began in the early 1850s although Wiyot people had inhabited the area for generations. Potato farming was the biggest agricultural use of land until the 1870s, when depleted soil and declining prices caused a turn to dairying. The town was originally known as Swauger or Swauger's Station, for local landowner Samuel A. Swauger.

The town was renamed Loleta in 1897. The name was reported to mean "pleasant place at the end of the tide water" in the language of the original Wiyot native inhabitants, although this is apparently contradicted linguistically as well as by a hearsay account from the 1950s, made notorious by a National Geographic blog post. However, a 1918 list of place names collected by Kroeber and Waterman two years after Kroeber's 1916 publication shows that the trail from Table Bluff along the peak of that feature was named "lalōekā".

The Eel River and Eureka Railroad reached Swauger's Station from Humboldt Bay in 1883. The Swauger post office opened in 1888, and changed its name to Loleta in 1898. The Humboldt Creamery plant (originally Diamond Springs Creamery, eventually a co-operative of the Golden State Creamery) opened in the town proper in 1893, and dairying continues to be a major economic influence. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reorganized Loleta's railroad as the San Francisco and Northwestern Railway in 1903 and then completed the Northwestern Pacific Railroad to San Francisco in 1914.

Demographics

The 2010 United States Census reported that Loleta had a population of 783. The population density was 368.5 people per square mile (142.3/km²). The racial makeup of Loleta was 643 (82.1%) White, 12 (1.5%) African American, 16 (2.0%) Native American, 5 (0.6%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 65 (8.3%) from other races, and 42 (5.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 114 persons (14.6%).

The Census reported that 783 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 314 households, out of which 96 (30.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 135 (43.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 34 (10.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 12 (3.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 40 (12.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 4 (1.3%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 97 households (30.9%) were made up of individuals and 21 (6.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49. There were 181 families (57.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.17.

The population was spread out with 186 people (23.8%) under the age of 18, 81 people (10.3%) aged 18 to 24, 207 people (26.4%) aged 25 to 44, 241 people (30.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 68 people (8.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.5 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.

There were 341 housing units at an average density of 160.5 per square mile (62.0/km²), of which 178 (56.7%) were owner-occupied, and 136 (43.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.2%. 460 people (58.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 323 people (41.3%) lived in rental housing units. Native Americans represent about 2% of Loleta's population, according to the 2010 US census. Whites make up 82.1 percent of the population of 783 (less than the 807 inhabitants the census recorded in 1880).

Popular culture

Loleta and Eureka were locations for filming the 1982 horror movie, Halloween III: Season of the Witch; scenes inside "the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory" were filmed in a former milk bottling plant for Familiar Foods on Loleta Drive at Railroad Avenue.

Drive (The X-Files), Season 6, Episode 2 of the hit show X-files, features Loleta momentarily near the end of the episode.

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