Established in the late 1800’s as a rough-and-tumble mining town, Acton is today the home of city folk who want a little country life. When Henry T. Gage, owner of Acton’s Governor Mine and Red Rover Mine, was governor of California from 1899 to 1903, he tried to relocate the state capital to Acton. Even news of a possible oil boom in 1900 couldn’t budge Gage’s opponents. The capitol stayed in Sacramento.

Town of ActonAround 1860, When news got out that gold was discovered in Soledad Canyon, the gold rush was on. A number of miners, arrived in Soledad Canyon and set up various mining camps near the canyon’s rich veins of silver and copper. A conglomeration of log cabins and tents moved up and down the canyon with each new strike. Called “Soledad City” where ever it was plunked down, it provided such basic needs as faro tables, rye whiskey and ladies of the evening. A portable grocery was operated by James O’Reilly, a flaming-haired Irishman of medium build, pug nose, and happy-go-lucky air about him.

It wasn’t long before a post office was needed, the U.S. Postal Service rejected the name “Soledad City” out of fear that it would be confused with the city of Soledad in Monterey County. O’Reilly suggested the name “Ravenna” in honor of the local merchant and saloon keeper, Manuel Ravenna. The name became official on June 12, 1868.

Ravenna became a shipping point from which the canyon’s gold, silver and copper ores were hauled off to the port at San Pedro. Freight wagons drawn by oxen or mules were used at first, then gave way to rail cars after the first steam locomotives chugged through the canyon in 1876. Devils Punch Bowl

When the railroad came through Soledad Canyon , most of the large mines were inactive. Ravenna became a ghost town as miners moved up canyon to the new railroad siding where Acton now stands. Acton was reportedly chosen as the name of the community by a miner from Acton, Massachusetts.




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