Carmichael, California was founded by a man named Dan Carmichael in the early 1900s. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Carmichael made his way to California in 1885 at the age of 18. He spent about a decade working at various jobs before joining a real estate company that he eventually bought out in 1900. Active in politics, Carmichael was at various times treasurer and mayor of California.
He wasn’t the first person to have a claim on the land that eventually became Carmichael. In 1844, a man named Joel P. Dedman was given 20,000 acres in a land grant. Carmichael purchased 2,000 acres of that property for around $150,000 to $200,000 and advertised it in 1909 as available for purchase in lots of 10 acres. He called it Carmichael Colony 1. Later, he bought another 2,000 acres that were part of the former Del Paso Rancho Mexican grant that was given to Eliab Grimes, also in 1844, and this became Carmichael Colony 2.
The area that is Carmichael today was once inhabited by the Maidu Indians. They were there at least 3,000 years ago, and it is believed that as settlers came west, they were driven out. Carmichael himself never settled in his namesake. His family continued to live in Sacramento. The first settlers in present-day Carmichael were a couple named Charles and Mary Deterding, and the site they purchased is today known as Ancil Hoffman Park.
Carmichael the man did not fare as well as the city named after him. Reportedly, he had no money when he died in San Francisco in 1936. His city, however, continued to thrive. The population grew to 300 families by the late 1920s, and over the next two decades, the population increased to more than 4,000. It continued to grow into the present day.