Points of Interest in Mendocino County
The name Gualala, pronounced wa-LA-la, is derived from the Kashaya Pomo phrase, "ah kha wa la lee" which means, "where the water flows down." Gualala is located at the mouth of the Gualala River where it flows into the Pacific Ocean.
In 1836, when California was part of Mexico, Governor Nicolás Gutiérrez granted General Rafael Gracie land between the Gualala River and Mal Paso Creek for a cattle ranch.
By 1861, after California had joined the Union, tourists were coming to Gualala to hunt and fish and relax. Gualala had a post office, a hotel, a saloon, a stage stop, a ferry and an office of Wells Fargo Express and the Western Union. By the end of the 1800s, the town was a commercial hub for the entire area with a dancing school, the Gualala Municipal Brass Band and an Opera House.
Logging along the Gualala River began in the 1850s and evolved from oxen logging, to steam donkeys, to railroad logging and ultimately tractors and trucks.