|— Unincorporated area —|
A portion of Silverado's main road, November 2005.
|Elevation||500 - 1,640 ft (0 m)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|- Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
Founded in 1878, Silverado , a California Historical Landmark,is an unincorporated community in Silverado Canyon, which is located in the Santa Ana Mountains in eastern Orange County, California. Portions of the town sit on a former Mexican land grant Rancho Lomas de Santiago. The majority of Silverado is located within the boundaries of Cleveland National Forest. The area was mined extensively for silver during the late 19th century. Remnants of mining operations such as the Blue Light Mine are still scattered throughout the surrounding mountains. Timber was harvested for use by the railroad. Coal was mined in a nearby area known at the time as Carbondale. Ancient sea life fossils can be found within the sandstone cliffs in the area. During Spanish rule, the canyon was visited by Spanish explorers and was known by the name Cañada de la Madera (Timber Canyon). A town in Spain by the same name bears a remarkable resemblance to Silverado Canyon. (The name Silverado is a type of Spanglish indicating a place where silver is found; a parallel formation to El Dorado.) The area enjoyed a renaissance in popularity in the 1940's as a hot springs vacation retreat, during which time hotels and restaurants prospered. A large number of weekend cabins were also built at that time. Home to a number of artists and craftsmen, the town now consists of a general store, a restaurant, a public library, an elementary school, a church, two fire stations, and a post office. It hosts an annual Country Fair, and an Easter breakfast. A local landmark near Silverado is Cook's Corner, popular with bikers.
Torrential rains from Pacific storms in 1939, and again in 1969, washed away homes and devastated roads and bridges. The latter storm resulted in a number of flood related casualties. Until October, 2007, there had never been a wildfire recorded in the canyon (where homes are) since records have been kept. On October 26, 2007, the Orange County Fire Authority issued a mandatory evacuation of the area due to the Santiago Fire. In 2004, a teenage girl was killed in her home, which was part of the Shadybrook Market, when a massive boulder broke loose during heavy rains and rolled through her bedroom.
Today new homes and developments from nearby urban areas are encroaching on the canyons. The largest proposed projects are by The Irvine Company, which plans to build two developments stretching along Santiago Canyon Road from Jamboree Road past Irvine Lake. The first, situated on both sides of the 241 toll road, will consist of 1,746 homes on 496 acres (2.0 km2). The second development, overlooking Irvine Lake, will add 2,400 more homes on 1,000 acres (4 km2).