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Introducing Crescent City

On a crescent-shaped bay, Crescent City is California’s last big town north of Arcata. Though founded in 1853 as a seaport and supply center for inland gold mines, Crescent City retains few old buildings: half the town was destroyed by a tsunami in 1964, a defining event that has oddly become a point of civic pride, as evidenced by the tsunami-logo flags decorating downtown lampposts. Completely rebuilt, it lacks 19th-century charm, but has a certain ‘60s-kitsch appeal, with many structures of utilitarian design, colored avocado, pink and white. The local economy depends heavily on shrimp and crab fishing, and on the Pelican Bay maximum-security prison, just north of town.