Founded in 1876, Occidental was a stop on the North Pacific Coast Railroad connecting Cazadero to the Sausalito ferry. In return for donating right-of-way to the railroad, a local landowner named "Dutch Bill" Howards received a lifetime railway pass, and the station was named after him.
The railway caused a rapid expansion of the timber industry, and by 1877 there were six sawmills in the Occidental area. Trains also brought vacationers from San Francisco.
Occidental is located at 38°24′27″N 122°56′54″W. The CDP has a total area of 4.97 sq mi (12.9 km2), all land.
Culture and commerce
Occidental is unique for its high concentration of visionaries and famous artists during recent history, and was the hub of community-centered social movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s, giving rise to nearby communes such as Morningstar, Wheeler Ranch, and Star Mountain.
There was a point in the early 1990s when the town was also a center of the "neo-hippie" movement in Sonoma County, but high property prices and other economic pressures have since driven out the young families that fed this movement.
The large number of craft breweries and wineries in the area have made Barley and Hops Tavern and Sonoma Fine Wine store in downtown Occidental local and tourist destinations.
The tool-belt manufacturing company, Occidental Leather started in an Occidental barn and later moved to downtown Occidental.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Occidental had a population of 1,115. The population density was 224.5 people per square mile (86.7/km²). The racial makeup of Occidental was 992 (89.0%) White, 7 (0.6%) African American, 7 (0.6%) Native American, 31 (2.8%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 23 (2.1%) from other races, and 55 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 81 persons (7.3%).
The Census reported that 100% of the population lived in households.
See all demographic and related information here