Acton was founded in 1887 by gold miners who were working in the Red Rover Mine and was named after Acton, Massachusetts by one of the miners. Two of the best-known gold mines located in Acton were the Red Rover mine and the Governors mine where mining of gold, copper and titanium continued into the early 1900’s.
With the completion of the railroad, Acton started to become more of a ranching and farming community as homestead families and businessmen arrived..
Acton’s original schoolhouse, known as the “Little White School” was built in 1881 and was used until the brick “Soledad School” was built in 1890, which is now a private residence.
In 1889, Acton’s first saloon, the 49er was opened by Gustav Kruger. The 49er bar and grill is still open for business today and now includes a restaurant.
R.E. Nickel (known as the father of Acton) came to Acton in 1887 with his two brothers, Buno and Eugene. Nickel was instrumental in establishing most of the amenities a small frontier town would need. Employed as an agent for the Acton station, he built a general store with his family residence and became the first Acton postmaster with the post office in his store.
In 1890, Nickel completed his Acton hotel, a lavish two-story Victorian structure. The Governor of California entertained several political allies at the hotel, most notably presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover as well as the King of Spain.
In 1891, Nickel published the first newspaper called the Acton Rooster. He also established the first water company and in 1900, Nickel was appointed Port Warden of San Francisco harbor by Governor Henry T. Gage.
Acton was once considered for the State Capital of California due to the fact that California Governor Henry T. Gage (1899-1903) owned the Red Rover Mine and sought to relocate the state capital to Acton. This effort ultimately failed and the capital remained in Sacramento.
In the late 1880’s, Acton started to become more of a ranching and farming community with Blum Ranch being the most notable.
George and Magdalena Blum, both Swiss immigrants, set out by train looking for a place to keep bees, farm, and raise a family. They got off in Acton and filed homestead papers in 1891. They had six children and their son George J. homesteaded 150 adjoining acres. The land has stayed under family ownership ever since and the Blum’s continue to work this ranch today. Blum Ranch has grown to feature over 5,500 peach trees, 1,000 pear trees and 3 acres of lilacs. The ranch also produces honey and assorted other fruits,vegetables and nuts throughout the year.