About This Place
Coalinga ( /ˌkoʊ.əlɪŋɡə/ or /kəlɪŋɡə/; formerly, Coaling Station A, Coalingo and Coalinga Station) is a city in Fresno County, California. The population was 13,380 at the 2010 census, up from 11,668 at the 2000 census. It is the site of both Pleasant Valley State Prison and Coalinga State Hospital. Coalinga is located 52 miles (84 km) southwest of Fresno, at an elevation of 673 feet (205 m).
Legendary bandit Joaquin Murrieta was killed in 1853 north of Coalinga. California Historical Landmark 344, near the intersection of what are now State Routes 33 and 198, marks the approximate site of his headquarters, Arroyo de Cantua, where he was slain.
In the early years of railroading, before the extensive development of oil production in California, the steam locomotives were powered by the burning of coal obtained from the northern foothills of Mount Diablo. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company established the site as a coaling station in 1888, and it was called simply Coaling Station A. Local tradition has it that an official of Southern Pacific made the name more sonorous by adding an a to it. The resemblance to Nahuatl (where cōātl = "snake") is accidental.