Biggs is a primarily residential community that has maintained the small town character one might envision for such a community of fifty years past. Located only one mile from Highway 99, the main entrance to town is lined with walnut groves, passes several attractive home sites and the classic architecture of the Biggs Unified School District Administration building, and proceeds through a boulevard canopied by mature shade trees. Located in the southwest portion of Butte County, about sixty five miles north of Sacramento, the town was founded in 1871 by Mr. A. M. Pitts and Lewis Posey. It was named Biggs Station after Major Marion Biggs, a prominent local political leader. After two serious fires in the summer of 1878 a community water system was constructed. The town was rebuilt with brick stores and the word "Station" was dropped from the town name. By 1882 the town had 600 inhabitants and 280 registered voters.
Agriculture has always been the basis of the local economy. Wheat and other grains were raised in the 1870's and 1880's. In 1905 completion of the Butte County Canal brought irrigation water to the area and a new era of farming began. As farming became more diversified, peaches, English walnuts, prunes, alfalfa and sugar beets became important crops in the area. Dairy farming was introduced and rice farming replaced grains when abundant irrigation water became available.
The City of Biggs was incorporated in 1903 as a general law city to serve the agricultural commerce in the vicinity. In the summer of 1903 a fire took all the buildings on the South side of B Street in the first block east of the railroad. A flood of the Feather River in March 1907 covered a quarter of the town to a depth of three or four feet. In spite of setbacks the City has continued to grow and serve the community.
In 1906 a Carnegie grant of $5000 provided the City of Biggs a library on the main street a block from downtown. Locals had to put up a match and promise to maintain the facility forever.
Currently, the City of Biggs encompasses some 338 acres. The California Department of Finance estimated the 2007 population of the City to include 1,776 residents.
A mix of land uses lines the main thoroughfare of Biggs, known today as B Street. Widely spaced home sites on the eastern edge of town lead the visitor into town. West of the Biggs Unified School District is a mixture of attractive, older homes and newer, more modest houses that create a residential corridor for several blocks. The City in recent years has been adding curbs, gutters and storm drains to this area. Twenty years ago the city abandoned 10 feet of right-of-way on either side of most streets, retaining 60-foot wide streets throughout most of the city.
The portion of B Street located between Fifth Street and Seventh Street have always formed the commercial core of the City. This area includes small markets, the Post Office and several historically significant buildings. Most prominent is the Colonia Hotel, once the centerpiece of social life in Biggs. The structure, now empty, is for sale and retains promise of being the key to economic revitalization of Biggs' "downtown." In 2006 Butte Federal Credit Union remodeled and expanded its flagship office in Biggs -- directly across the street from the hotel -- producing a hub of commerce and a model of attractive new architecture.
The overall character of the community is rather varied. With a history that dates to the 1800's, it is not surprising to find many fine examples of historic architecture located throughout the City. Mixed within the remaining older homes are generally more modest dwellings of more recent construction.
In recent years the commercial core of the City has not been able to compete successfully with the shopping opportunities at larger stores in cities within a 40-minute driving distance. This is due in part to economic factors beyond the City's control and in part to a lack of available commercial real estate along B Street. Numerous buildings along the south side of B Street are not utilized to their fullest potential due to need for structural improvements and the need for optimistic investors to give it a try. A cafe restaurant on the north side of the street, started several years ago by a local retired couple, is thriving: Frith's Thanks-a-Latte serves up three meals a day, six days a week.
Recreational facilities within the community are somewhat limited, and the Biggs Unified School District serves an important role by providing meeting rooms, a public swimming pool, tennis courts and athletic fields for community events and activities. The annual 4th of July "Hometown Celebration" is clearly the major event of the year, offering traditional small town features like a pancake breakfast, parade, carnival, and fabulous fireworks display.