Chico State was founded in 1887 as a result of legislative action founding the Northern Branch State Normal School of California in Chico, California. General John Bidwell donated 8 acres of his cherry orchard to house the school. The Bidwell family turned out to contribute more land and, eventually, their mansion, which was turned into a female dormitory in 1922. The wildcat was chosen as the mascot in 1924. Chico State was officially named California State University—Chico in 1972.