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Chico, founded in 1860. was originally part of the 28,000-acre Bidwell Ranch owned by Chico's founder, General John Bidwell. He wanted to see the development of the town and donated land to almost anyone who would build something, be it a church, or any other public structure.
In 1887, General Bidwell donated a large part of his land toward the development of a teachers' college. That college has evolved into California State University, Chico. Bidwell Park, at 22,090 acres, is the second largest municipal park in the country.
The Bidwell Mansion is a state historic park with tours offered to the public.