Iowa Hill Weekly Patriot, Saturday, 1-15-1859
Our Town – Its Appearance
Iowa Hill was first laid out as a town in the spring of ’54, at which time the existence of several rich claims located a short distance from the place first became publicly known. This place, at that time, was no exception to the different localities in the country at which rich diggings were said to abound. Large numbers of persons, representing every class of society, flocked here, and in a few days the town of Iowa Hill assumed a business like and thriving appearance. The town continued to prosper and improve, and few engaged in business up to Feb. ’57 had any cause to complain or feel disappointed that they had made their homes this high in the mountains. But this could not last. That destroyer of everything combustible came like a “thief in the night” and swept from those who had accumulated a competency by hard toil and strict attention to business thousands of dollars. Iowa Hill was then in a much better condition than other places that had not been favored with rich mining claims and a prosperous commercial business. Nearly all of those engaged in business had lost their all. But in true California spirit, the citizens went to work and in a few days Iowa Hill, phoenix-like, rose from the ashes more beautiful and grand than at first; since which time it has continued gradually to improve and is one of the best business places the county can boast of. Whilst the mines in other places are deteriorating in value, ours are steadily advancing, and we venture the assertion now that the mines at Iowa Hill and vicinity yield a greater profit to the owners than and others in this section of the State, while our merchants, mechanics, and laborers are realizing as much from their operations and labors as any others on the Pacific Coast.
Placer Herald (Auburn), 7-6-1861
The Celebration on the Fourth
Auburn wore a gay appearance on the Fourth, and the Celebration was a decided success. The day was ushered in by the firing of a national salute and the ringing of bells, and following this more firing until the sun was fairly abroad. At an early hour, the people from neighboring towns and camps came in considerable numbers to join in the coming demonstration. At half past ten o’clock, the procession formed, under the direction of Marshal Vandecar, at the Pavilion on the plaza, it being in conformity to the following published order of the day:
1st Firing of National Salute and ringing of Bells at sunrise
2nd The Procession will be formed at half past ten o’clock AM by the Marshal at the Pavilion in the following order – The Auburn Brass Band; Citizens; "Continental Car" containing 13 boys, each bearing a banner; "Triumphal Car" containing 34 Misses, each bearing a banner; carriage containing the President of the Day, Chaplain, Reader, and Orator.
3rd The Procession will then march up East Street to Broad, thence down Broad to Commercial, thence to Court Street, thence to Nevada Street, and thence through Washington to the Pavilion, where commodious seats have been constructed.
4th Music by the Band, "Hail Columbia"
5th Prayer by Rev. N. R. Peck
6th Hymn by the Auburn Glee Club
7th Reading the Declaration of Independence by B. C. Allen, Esq.
8th "Star Spangled Banner" by Glee Club
9th Oration by Hon. Jas. E. Hale
10th Glee by Glee Club
12th Music by the Band
After marching in the manner designated, the procession halted at the Pavilion where stands had been erected for the officers of the day and the Band, and seats conveniently arranged for the audience. The cars containing the boys and girls – who made a handsome appearance with their waving flags and tri-colored badges – drew up on the outer edge of the audience, facing the main stand. The space covered by the large canvass was soon filled with a large concourse of men, women and children, when the exercises were continued in the regular order. At two o’clock, the oration having been delivered, the benediction was pronounced, followed by stirring music from the Band, and then, with prolonged and hearty cheers for the Union, amid the waving of banners, the crowd dispersed to continue the celebration for the remainder of the day as they deemed best. Throughout the afternoon and evening, the town was a scene of hilarity and good feeling, and fun and frolic ran rampant. Patriotic toasts, extempore speechifying, and conviviality occupied the closing hours, with scarcely an unpleasant incident to mar the general happiness of the occasion. In the evening came a display of fire works, and a Ball at Lafayette Hall, given by Mr. Guiou of the American, where congregated a large assembly of ladies and gentlemen of Auburn and the lower portion of the county; and not until the glow of day was in the eastern sky on the morning of the 5th was the celebration brought to a close. The supper provided by Mr. Guion at the Ball was all that could be desired – being creditable to his taste and industry as a caterer to the public. This was the first general celebration of the National Anniversary ever attempted in Auburn, and it was a gratifying success; for which great credit is due to the liberality of our citizens, the efficiency of the Committee of Arrangements, and the Marshal.
Placer Herald (Auburn), 9-28-1861
We have heard much complaint the present season of “dull times” and “no business doing,” but as far as we can learn, business has been as healthy in Auburn as any mountain town in California. Judging from the improvements constantly going on, we have a right to claim that Auburn is a growing place. Notwithstanding business has been dull and money scarce, a number of new buildings and residences have been erected during the summer, and others are now going up. On Broad Street, Mr. French has erected a handsome residence; and opposite, on the same street, Mr. Conkey has one built in cottage style. Near the cemetery on East Street, John R. Gwynn has built a residence – very convenient in its arrangement – and pretty in appearance. Besides, he has done much in improving the adjoining grounds by neat fencing and the planting of trees, shrubbery, etc. John M. White has built a residence fronting on Union Street that makes a good appearance. These buildings are all well toward completion. On Vine Street near the Brewery, a residence has been built, and is owned and occupied, we believe, by Mr. Hilby. Chesterfield Jackson has commenced a house on Commercial Street. There are several other structures building and to be built the present year. Besides these new houses, there are additions and repairs going on – all showing that there is permanence and prosperity here, whatever may be said about business. From gentlemen who have traveled extensively over the state this summer, we are assured that the business and growth of Auburn and Placer County generally is as great, if not greater, than any town or county in the mountains of the state. And it is certain that the future of our town and county is more full of promise than others.
Placer Herald (Auburn), 4-12-1862
Growth of Lincoln
We are pleased to learn that Lincoln, at the terminus of the Central Railroad, has made a rapid growth since the opening of the spring business. A number of houses are going up, large amounts of freight are distributed from thence, and stages arrive and depart daily to and from Marysville, Nevada, Grass Valley, Rough & Ready, Auburn, etc. Property holders and business men are in excellent spirits, and the general activity of the place denotes cheering prosperity. In the railroad and the adjacent excellent farming country, which is developing in importance each succeeding year, the people of Lincoln have elements of a substantial character more than the interior towns of California have usually enjoyed, and we cannot but think their town will grow to importance under these influences. It has been surmised that the people of Auburn will not look with favorable eye upon the growth of Lincoln. This is a mistake. The growth and prosperity of the towns of our county, and the development of our many resources, add to the population, wealth, social, and political importance of the county, and our citizens do and should feel a pride in all that promotes local or general welfare. We all want busy and thriving communities, good improvement, and low taxation, and every dollar brought into or invested in the county tends to these results. Therefore, the advancement of one or all of our towns is a matter of congratulation. This is the feeling here, and be believe it is the same among our neighbors.
Placer Weekly Argus (Auburn),
A Farm in the Foothills
A few days ago we visited the country home of Mr. J. P. Whitney near Rocklin, Placer County, and some notes of the place may not be without interest. The ranch or farm has upon it forty-seven miles of fence and fifty miles of good road. Much of the latter will compare favorably with the best toll-roads in the country. There are fifteen houses on the place occupied by farmers, herdsmen, and helpers, besides barns and sheds without number. Four thousand acres of grain were planted this year; about five hundred tons of hay have been baled ready for the market, and the same quantity of baled straw. The Central Pacific Railroad runs through the ranch for about five miles. There is one field of wheat ten miles around, enclosed with a substantial fence. Running water abounds and, in addition, some of the most peculiar mineral springs in the country. They are called the Salt Springs from which one of the valleys originally took its name of Salt Spring Valley. The waters of these springs have a peculiar flavor but unlike most mineral waters, they are not unpleasant and are said to contain many healthy-giving properties. Mr. Whitney has about twelve thousand sheep on the place that shear upward of seventy-five thousand pounds of superior wool that readily sold in the Boston market this year for forty cents a pound, which is from five to ten cents more than has been paid for any other wool in the state, this owing in a great measure to its good quality, the wool being entirely free from the burr and other injurious substances so common in this country. Four thousand muttons are sold from the farm annually, as well as thoroughbreds for which Mr. Whitney gets prices ranging from $20 to $50 for ewes and from $100 to $500 for bucks. The ranch contains twenty-two thousand acres, or about thirty-six square miles, besides the lower place of three thousand acres situated on the Sacramento River where cattle can luxuriate upon green feed for the entire year. This lower farm is reserved especially for a change of pastures as the sheep thrive fully as well upon the naturally-cured grasses of the foothill farm.
Placer Weekly Argus (Auburn),
Magnificent Scenery and an Unapproachable Climate – Lake Tahoe and the Summit
Nowhere on the American continent in an equal extent of territory can be found such varied and magnificent scenery as the upper or mountain portion of Placer County affords. Leaving the valley on the overland train, the traveler begins the ascent of the mountains at Rocklin, but it is not till he has passed Auburn and is nearing Colfax that he realizes how rapidly he is plunging into the vastnesses of the great Sierra Nevada range. Just beyond this point, Cape Horn, the most famous point on the Central Pacific, is encountered. Swinging around the bold promontory seventeen hundred feet above the American River which unrolls like a slender ribbon at his feet, the awe-struck vision ranges over a succession of towering peaks and yawning canons, the traveler forgetting for the moment in the sublime beauty of the landscape to wonder at the daring that constructed a railroad through such wild hills. From this point to the Summit, one is never at a loss about his locality. Mountains are on every side. The road creeps along the sides of towering cliffs, leaps across wide ravines, plunges through deep tunnels, turns and doubles upon itself, and generally behaves in a way to excite the wonder of the spectator. By ten o’clock in the evening, you have reached the Summit, 7,042 feet above the level of the sea, and stepping off the train, you consign yourself to the care of James Cardwell, one of the best hotel men in California or any other state. The Summit is not a city nor even a small town, yet in the one establishment is comprised all the luxuries and comforts that go to make up a first-class hotel. Under the one roof we have spacious and elegant parlors, finely furnished suites, extensive dining-rooms and kitchens, all furnished and kept in the most attractive style. In the same building we find the railroad offices, post office, telegraph, and Wells Fargo & Co.’s express, so that the sojourner, though buried in the wild forests and romantic gorges of the Sierra, is yet in close and constant communication with the great world outside. Near the house is Castle Peak rearing its head 12,000 feet above the sea. Mary’s Lake and Lake Angeline are two pretty sheets of pellucid water within a few rods of the hotel, which have been stocked with speckled trout and which in the future will furnish many a dainty bite for the palate of the epicure. But no newspaper article can do justice to the grand surroundings. One must visit the place and spend days or weeks, as circumstances will permit, to appreciate the attractions of the place. If in early summer, he will have left the scorching valleys below to find immense drifts of snow piled up in the canons, importing a freshening coolness to the air. In sheltered spots and sunny slopes, he will find the flowers of spring blooming within a few feet of everlasting lea, and all around the tall pines and firs, complaining in the breeze, keep watch and ward over the grandest beauties of nature. After resting at the Summit, the visitor should take Cardwell’s stage for Lake Tahoe. Many go by rail to Truckee and so doing miss the most attractive scenery of the whole region as the snow sheds shut off the view almost entirely. Seated in a comfortable carriage with good-natured and careful George McIntyre hold of the reins, the descent of the eastern slope is an experience long to be remembered. Passing through the snow sheds, Donner Lake bursts upon the view. On every hand, piled in fantastic shapes and worn by the storms of unnumbered centuries, the primeval rocks rear their giant heads to the sky. A thousand feet below gleam the blue waters of the lake, and thousands of feet above tower the scarred summits. Midway between the water and the sky, the snow sheds, like an enormous snake, creep along the cliffs where it seems impossible for man to find a foothold. A descent of three miles brings us to the lake, and in a few minutes we pass the spot where the ill-fated Donner party perished in 1846, when the whole country round about was a howling wilderness and not even the craziest dreamer thought that the iron horse would clamber over these everlasting hills. At Truckee we turn to the right and drive fourteen miles along the blue and beautiful river of that name. Dashing over its rocky bed, the bright stream hurries by, and before one is well aware, Tahoe City is reached and you land at the Grand Central, another of Cardwell’s mountain hotels and one worthy of its owner. It has only lately passed fully into Mr. Cardwell’s possession, but it too is elegantly fitted up and every comfort that can be devised is showered upon the guest. The table is so well supplied and the keen, invigorating mountain air is so effective an appetizer that even the most delicate and stylish young ladies, after a brief sojourn, forget their pretty airs and go for the provisions like mountaineers. Many and extensive improvements have been made during the past summer, and the house is now able to accommodate with comfort over 120 guests. A billiard table, bowling alley, croquet ground, and an excellent piano furnish amusement in and around the house while bearing on the clear blue waters of the loveliest lake in the world, or rambles over the surrounding mountains, give more vigorous exercise. No pains have been spared to make the Central the pleasantest home to be found in the state, and Cardwell, ably seconded by Mr. Daugherty, the obliging gentleman in charge of the house, is determined to leave nothing undone that will add to the charms of the place. Heretofore the house has been closed in the fall, but Cardwell has determined to keep it open during the coming winter and with every provision for comfort, it will be a rare treat to visit the Gem of the Mountain when old winter has thrown his fleecy mantle over hill and valley. The tourist will then leave the train at Truckee instead of the Summit, the great fall of snow at that elevation blocking the road at Donner Lake, and jumping into a sleigh, will be whirled away to the lake. To those who reside in the valleys where snow is rarely if ever seen, a visit to Tahoe in winter will be a treat scarcely inferior to a summer sojourn amid its beauties. In attempting a description of the lake itself, we cannot do better than adopt the language of the Spirit of the Times: "Here at an altitude of 6,218 feet above the level of the ocean, reposing in the strong embrace of dark and frowning mountains and laving the feet of craggy hills, lies a sheet of water from the lovely bosom of which the roughest nature might draw inspiration. It is in the form of a parallelogram, the lines on the northern and southern shore being distinct and similar. It lies north and south, or, more closely speaking, a little northeast and southwest. It is twenty-three miles in length and fifteen in width. The water is tri-colored, if we may use the expression in connection with it. For half a mile from the shore (which is of a soft, fine sandy beach) the color is a most beautiful pea green tinged with blue and as clear as crystal, objects on the bottom being as distinct as if immediately before you. For half a mile further, it changes to a green about two shades darker, still with the bluish tinge but as clear as before. One can hardly imagine that the bottom is so far removed, it looks as if the feet could there find a resting place and the head be out of water. From the last color it changes instantaneously to the deepest color of indigo blue. The density of this color is wonderful, but the lines of the three colors are as distinctly drawn across the lake, from north to south, as if painted there, and when the sun shines upon the lake in the afternoon, they are more distinct than at any other time. The water of the lake is purity itself, but on account of the highly rarified state of the air, it is not very buoyant, and swimmers find some little fatigue; or, in other words, they are compelled to keep swimming all the time they are in the water, and bodies which sink there never again come to the surface. Objects which float easily in other waters, sink here like lead. Shingles become water-logged in two or three days and sink to the bottom like a stone, never to rise again. We have seen immense logs that have rolled from the loggers hands into the waters of the lake. Gradually the butt end would sink into the lake and slowly and by degrees, the main body would disappear and then the log would stand upright in the water, two or three inches being exposed to view, and finally the whole would sink out of sight, and the log go to the bottom. Not a thing ever floats on the surface of this lake, save and except the boats which play upon it."
About 18 miles from where the Grand Central stands, and at the southwestern end of the lake, is Emerald Bay, which is gorgeous in its splendor. It takes its name from the color of the water of which it is formed. It is about two and a half miles in length and about three-quarters of a mile in width; the entrance is about one-eighth of a mile in width; and the depth of water over the bar about ten feet; and deepening until a depth of two hundred and fifty feet is found. It is as perfectly land-locked as the harbor of Acapulco. Upon sailing through the water of the bay, it presents a perfectly magnificent sight, it being of a pure emerald color and a transparent as light. Every stick and stone on the bottom is as clearly delineated as if in the hand; the bottom hard and sandy and covered with boulders and stones with every imaginable size, many of them being immense, but around all of them, as carefully, neatly and beautifully done as the setting of a precious gem by an artisan, is a circle of variegated colors, precisely similar to those which are observed upon looking through a prism of a chandelier. The effect is indescribable and when one approaches the spot, there is a hesitation about stepping ashore for fear it may be the land of fairies and that they may have to pay dearly for their temerity. Surely nature’s architect never found a more perfect lover’s retreat than this. We cannot imagine anything more grand and lovely than this spot on a moonlight night with a fine band of music. The bay, as we said before, is land-locked; high, stony and sterile mountains rise to the southern end of it, while at their feet a plain or flat of considerable size with trees scattered over it lies convenient. Up to the mountain side at the upper southern end of the bay are the falls which as they break and tumble among the rocks and stones and find their way into the bay, make the sweetest of music. They are called the “Lovers.” We suppose they derive that name from the fact that they fall out every day. At the foot of the mountains where these falls are and about five hundred feet from the shore, is an island to which the name of Coquette Island is given. We think this has been done on account of its deceptive appearance, for it looks small and yet is of considerable size. Four miles west of the site of Yanks House and one mile south of Tahoe, at the foot of rugged mountains, lies Fallen Leaf Lake. It is about two miles in length and one in width. Its only outlet is a small mountain stream which flows gracefully along for about three miles and then empties into Lake Tahoe. The land between the two lakes is quite level. A good trail leads over it, and the promenade from one to the other is very pleasant. Silver Lake is another beautiful sheet of water and lies two miles northwest of Fallen Leaf Lake. It is none the less charming than the others but is rather difficult of access and therefore is not visited to the extent the others are. The trip renders the climbing of mountain sides necessary and through, we think, an unpleasant undergrowth to reach it. The outlet of Lake Tahoe is the Truckee River which is fifty feet in width at the head and has an average depth of five feet with a velocity of one hundred and fourteen feet in twenty seconds. The capacity of the flow is one hundred and twenty-three millions, one hundred and twenty thousand cubic feet, or nine hundred and twenty-three millions, four hundred thousand gallons in twenty-four hours. The country surrounding the outlet is splendid in the extreme – the scenery equal to any on the lake and well worthy a visit from those who come to the locality. It is easily reached and for all the trouble that may be taken to view it, the return will be a hundred fold. It is grand, interesting, and delightful. Cornelian Bay, about five miles direct from Tahoe City and seven miles by sailing along the shore, is a very pretty and attractive place and is visited by all those who come to the lake. It is celebrated for its smooth and pebbly beach and for the pretty cornelians which are found there in abundance. It is a delightful spot for a picnic. Dr. Bourne, formerly of this city, has a water cure establishment there. There are several little steamers plying on the lake, the most prominent being the “Governor Stanford,” a craft about one hundred feet in length and commanded by Captain Lapham, one of the pioneers on Lake Tahoe. She is not very large but is comfortable and well appointed and enjoys a first-class certificate from Inspector C. C. Bemis. She makes a trip of 85 miles each day around the lake, starting from the landing in front of the Grand Central at 8 AM, steaming across to Glenbrook on the Nevada side, then calling in at Lapham’s Landing, Roland’s, Yanks, Emerald Bay, McKinney’s, and other places when necessary, arriving at Tahoe City at 3-1/4 o’clock PM, in good season for the stages. The trip is a very pleasant one and should be taken by all tourists as it gives one a fine opportunity of viewing the magnificent scenery of the lake. The little steamer “Emerald” also plies upon the lake, the principal trips being between Glenbrook and Tahoe and the Hot Sprints, ten or eleven miles distant, and to such other places as she may be chartered for. The “Truckee” and “Gov. Blaisdell,” two small steamers, one engaged in towing schooners and other vessels with freight, also logs for the mills at Glenbrook. The steamer interest on the lake is quite considerable and constantly increasing, there being a vast amount of freighting to the different logging camps and residences around the lake. There is a great deal of fishing and boating on the lake. Billy Morgan, formerly of the Alta, has a fleet of splendid boats at his command and as they are always in good order, neat, clean and safe, he enjoys a very large amount of patronage, particularly as he is very accommodating and endeavors to make it agreeable for all; and we recommend all who visit the lake to call his services into requisition. In conclusion, we urge everyone to make at least a brief visit to this delightful region. The over-tasked business man, the invalid, and the seeker after pleasure will each and all find it the place of all others where health and strength may be regained. No eastern tourist should ever leave the state without visiting the Summit and Lake Tahoe. A visit to California without a view of these twin gems of the Sierra is like the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out. The grandest and most enchanting scenery of the coast, of mountain, forest, lake, and stream is taken in during the brief twenty-five miles ride, and however extended the stay, the visitor will leave with regret and in after years, amid whatever scenes he may roam, the entrancing features of this delightful region will remain uppermost in his mind.
Dutch Flat Forum, Thursday, 10-21-1875
The Public School House
The new public school house of Dutch Flat is nearly completed. The workmen are putting on the finishing touches of cornice, molding, and paint. A brief description of it may be interesting to our readers. The building consists of two stories and includes a vestibule and four class-rooms. The vestibule is twenty by thirty feet in the clear and possesses all the modern improvements of an ante-room for the convenience of pupils. There are separate stairways leading to the upper story, one for boys and one for girls. Cold spring water is brought through pipes into the vestibule for the use of the pupils of each class-room. The four school rooms are each twenty-eight by thirty-eight from floor to ceiling. The rooms are all ample, spacious, well lighted, and thoroughly ventilated. The walls and floors between the school rooms are deadened, so that instruction may be given to each class without interruption. The frame construction of the building is of the most substantial character. The lumber is spruce and pine. The outside finish is rustic, and the inside is ceiling instead of lath and plaster. In the construction of the edifice, which is stately and imposing, all ornamentation has been made to lend to the useful and practical economy of normal instruction. The four school rooms will be entirely finished at the present time, leaving nothing undone for the future. But three rooms only will be furnished this year. The trustees have ordered 174 patent, iron standard, ingle desks and seats. As there are 219 school-able children in the district, this number of seats will probably accommodate the average daily attendance of pupils. However, if parents send their children to school regularly and punctually throughout the term, the trustees can at short notice furnish the fourth school room in order to meet the wants of the district. The board of trustees consists of Capt. M. S. Gardner, Allen Towle, Esq., and George C. Cabot, Esq. They have given their personal time and attention to the construction of the school house. Six weeks ago they commenced their work, and now they give notice that they will have it ready for dedication next week. The ladies of the district, we understand, are making great preparation for a social festival and dance. The upper rooms will be filled with tables loaded with all the delicacies of the season, and the lower floors will be given up to those who delight in the intricacies of the mazy dance. It is expected the Judge L. B. Arnold, candidate for County Judge, will deliver the opening address on the occasion. The exact day and evening of the dedication of the new school house will be duly announced through the columns of the Dutch Flat Forum.
Placer Weekly Argus (Auburn),
The Lincoln Pottery
Charles Gladding, Esq., one of the proprietors of the Lincoln Pottery, paid the Argus office a visit last week, and from him we glean some facts of general interest in regard to this important enterprise. Mr. Gladding is an old hand at the business, having been engaged in the manufacture and laying of sewer pipe in Ohio twenty years ago and of late years being an extensive dealer in Chicago. He was attracted to this coast by the fact that there was at that time no manufacturing establishment of the kind in the state, and after an examination of the ground, he selected Lincoln in this county on account of its exhaustless beds of excellent clay, cheap fuel, and railroad communications with the San Francisco and other markets. A large amount of capital has been invested, and the work of manufacturing vitrified sewer pipe of all dimensions has been entered upon with energy and upon a large scale. The capacity of the works is about fifteen tons of clay per day. The building at first erected was 150 feet long. To this, an addition of fifty feet was made a year ago, and this fall another addition of sixty feet more is being made. Notwithstanding the usual discouragements attending the establishment of a new manufacturing business, the Pottery has been a success from the start, and the demand for its wares is steadily increasing. Nothing has been attempted so far but the making of sewer pipe, and this will continue the principal if not the only business for some time as the demand for that article is beyond the capacity of the works to supply. We are glad to be able to state that the proprietors are possessed of ample capital and the requisite energy and experience to make the business a complete success. The important of the establishment to Lincoln and Placer County cannot be overestimated. One manufacturing establishment, successfully in operation, brings others in its train, and the material wealth they bring into the county by furnishing employment and supplying a home market is incalculable.
Placer Herald (Auburn),
The Old and the New
Born Sept. 13, 1897, to the city of Auburn, a High School. Died Jan. 9, 1901, by the action of the Supervisors, the only beloved High School of Auburn. Deceased was aged 3 years, 3 months, and 27 days. By vote of the people of Placer County, the Supervisors were compelled to establish one or more county high schools. Accordingly, after due preliminaries, on Jan. 9, the Board formally accepted the lease for the district high and applied the name of Placer County High School, wherefore the renowned Auburn High is no more. In an honored grave on the hill-top lies buried the soon to be forgotten ashes of the District High, but deep in the minds and hearts of the 70 or 80 pupils that have worshipped the goddess of wisdom within its crumbling old walls will remain the ever-green and pleasant memories of happy days of study and fun, of glorious hard-earned victories on the grid-iron and track; of delightful socials and receptions where we all met to greet the shy Freshman or bid farewell to the learned Senior. Yes, all these and many others also will in future years form the pleasantest recollections of our happy school days. But let us now, as is customary, review the life of that which is now dead and gone. On Sept. 13, 1897, just three short years ago, 18 pupils began under Prof. W. M. Mackay, the first term of the AHS. Only a few in number, only one class to recite, and the whole live-long day to do it in. And how they all did study, never thinking of leaving for home ‘till five and six o’clock although the dismissal hour was half after three. But then as now, the Prof. did not believe in all work and no play, and the pupils had their little socials, picnics, and hay rides to lighten their tasks. Of course, here as elsewhere, some fell by the wayside, but the rest struggled bravely on, and at the close of the term, 10 successfully passed the X’s for the middle year. At the opening of the second year, there came 20 graduates from grammar schools of Placer and also Mrs. J. Hughes the first two months, Miss Williams the rest of the term, to aid the Prof. by taking both classes in history. That year was one of pure delight to the highest class, for then they heard for the first time the novice at his Latin lesson. What joy it was to watch the Junior rise on quaking limbs and stutter and stammer out the bothersome “amo, amas, amat;” to watch them start and shiver whenever the Prof. thundered out in his kindly, yet seemingly sarcastic remark, “Don’t hurry at all,” whenever some poor fellow recited his lesson with an interval of more than four or five minutes between each sentence. Truly all this was fun for the middlers, but the Juniors had their turn at it when in September 1899, a class, entering for the four years course, welled the total number to 42. At this time, Mr. Beke made his appearance as assistant Prof. and then the talk was all of athletics. Don’t you remember, boys, the change that took place? Associations were formed, football and track teams were organized, basketball and tennis made their appearance, league games with other schools were arranged, the custom of yearly receptions to the Freshman was inaugurated; in short, a whole lot of college spirit became manifest and, after we won the first game of football between the Boers and the High on Thanksgiving Day 1899, it became “Our High School” instead of “The Auburn High.” And then that year, we sent our examination papers to Berkeley and later the Berkeley examiners came to examine us orally. Oh, those examiners. Weren’t they awful? We never knew when they were coming and didn’t we use to hate sight of those dapper little gentlemen (they were all small in stature only) trotting gayly up and announcing themselves as Prof. in English, Latin, etc. What wild grabs for books to get a last look before the awful ordeal, and how funny we must have looked to those learned gentlemen. But never mind, we were accredited in spite of the fact that everyone said it was no use trying for it. On Feb. 22d, 1900, at the race-track, we played football with the Sacramento High boys and won with the score of 11 to 5. We were a very happy crowd that day, and we celebrated the victory by a reception in the evening to the Sacramento boys. You can guess we had lots of fun. “Swift the happy days went by. Days of blue uncloudless sky.” And soon came the end of the third year. On the night of June 8, 1900, the first graduating class of the AHS made its appearance before the public. There were ten in all and ne’er was seen a brighter class. We were proud of them and so was everyone who had watched and aided their progress, but that dear old class is scattered now; five have gone to Varsity and they are winning new laurels for themselves and the AHS. This year, August 28, 1900, we began school with 51 pupils. Quite a showing, is it not? During the earlier part of the year, we played baseball at the track with the Grass Valley High boys and again victory was ours. On Thanksgiving Day was the game of football with the Auburn team, and we there felt the first and only pangs of defeat. December 8th at Sacramento we played a return game with the Sacramento boys, and the score was 12 to 5 in our favor, and with this glorious record we close the record of the illustrious Auburn High School. Now at the dawning of a new century, at the opening of a new year, under the most favorable auspices, the Placer County High School will assume the place left vacant by the Auburn High, and it is our most earnest wish that ere another century shall have dawned the Placer High will be the best and most honored institution of the State. [signed] Billy Boy
Corning Observer, Saturday, 01-24-1903
The largest nugget of gold ever reported from Placer County was found near Michigain bluff. It weights 18 pounds and 10 ounces.
The tunnel at the Red Point Mine has followed the channel three and a half miles and is the longest tunned used for drive mining in the world.
Roseville Tribune and Register,
Growth of the Roseville Schools
The first great event in Roseville’s history was the laying out of the town in 1864. The name was taken from the Rose Spring Rancho on whose land the town was laid out. Eight years later, 1872, the school history begins with the formation of the first school district. This was formed from and called the Dry Creek School District. In 1874 the population of Roseville was 288. The schools had a registration of 38, with one teacher. The town was then known as Roseville Junction being the junction point for the eastern and northern lines of the Southern Pacific railroad. The next date of importance is 1890, sixteen years later. The population had increased to 400, and the students in school numbered 72, nearly double the earlier figure. Two teachers were employed. For the next seventeen years, little or no growth in population is recorded. Two teachers remained in charge of the school which was located on Vernon Street. In 1890 came rumors of the removal of the Rocklin railroad yards to Roseville which caused a great deal of excitement and speculation. The year 1908, on April 25th, saw the removal of the last S. P. round house to Roseville. The coming of these yards caused a tremendous increase in population, from about 400 to over 2000. The school registration jumped to 400, or as much as the former population. This increase, of course, taxed the resources of the schools to the utmost. A bond issue of $20,000 was the result, which carried by a vote of 9 to 1. Two buildings of four rooms each were constructed from this money, one on Vernon Street and the other on Main Street. In 1910 when these buildings were completed, 400 pupils entered in September under the care of four teachers in each building. The population of the town had doubled again, being around 4000. The year 1912 saw many changes of importance. This year saw much agitation and the circulation of a petition for the formation of a high school district. In that year there were 14 students attending high school in Sacramento and 10 in Auburn. Many more were anxious to attend if a school could be located here. Another event of importance was the building erected on the highest point in the city on land donated by A. B. McRae. Andrew Carnegie, of library fame, contributed much toward its consummation. It is a building which today is a credit to the students in their research work at school. 1914 saw $45,000 in bonds voted for the construction of a high school building and $20,000 more for additional construction on the grammar schools. In 1915 the completely equipped high school was finished, and the first high school classes started. This building is the central unit of our present plant and is now valued at more than double its cost. The $20,000 was used to add four rooms to each of the grammar school buildings. The period from 1915 to 1919 saw additional rooms added from year to year until in 1919 there were sixteen teachers employed and 657 pupils. The school houses were overcrowded and grades were doubled to the fifth. In 1920, $42,000 was voted for a new building. This was located on the Fisher tract on Atlantic Street and was completed in January 1921. It is a splendid building of tile and plaster, and steam heated for the comfort of the pupils. It contains a large auditorium with stage and other facilities for entertainments, together with six other rooms for study. The 6th, 7th, and 8th grades were moved to this building, and it was known as the Grammar School Building. This school really united the town into one city, as before each side of the town had its own school house with very little contact between then. 1922 saw 24 teachers and 747 pupils. In 1923 the schools were graded into a city school system, and two special teachers were added, one in music and one in art. The fourth bond issue of $2,000 was carried in 1925 for the purpose of constructing a new building. This located on the old school lot on Vernon Street and is a strictly modern concrete building of eight rooms. This building is now used for the primary children because of its greater comfort, being steam heated, and because of its superior fire-proof qualities. The year of 1927 saw the greatest registration in the history of the city. From the modest beginning in 1874, the schools have grown to a registration of 1287 pupils with a teaching staff of thirty-five. The large increase in population and consequent school attendance made necessary additional facilities at the Atlantic Street building. By a special tax, approximately $6,500 has been raised to add two rooms. A careful study of our system shows that we have made great progress in comparatively short space of time. New modern buildings have been built, and an efficient staff of teachers has been built up. It is but a step ahead when further progress will have to be made. The present wooden fire-traps on Vernon and Main streets must be replaced by fire proof buildings. This type of building is no longer considered safe for the housing of small children.
Roseville Tribune and Register,
Michigan Bluff Rich in Historic Lore and Color
Among those who remained over at Michigan Bluff to enjoy the day and get an additional thrill out of visiting the famous old surroundings were Supervisor and Mrs. Wm. Haman, and to the latter The Tribune is indebted for the following interesting account of one of the hikes made on Sunday: Sunday morning, the guests divided up into squads to visit some of the many places of interest, among which was the Gorman ranch, among which a range of mountains overlooking Michigan Bluff, not far away in an air line but some little distance around the road. Mr. Gorman, Sr. was among the earliest miners in this region, coming there in ’52. He was personally acquainted with Senator Stanford. After prospecting a time, Mr. Gorman bought the ranch and later built the home where his three sons and daughter-in-law and family now live. The house is a fine two and a half story building, large and well built. A broad porch extends across the entire front. The garden made one almost believe he had arrived at a perfume factory, for the air was redolent with the perfume of roses. There were roses everywhere, all along the front garden and a hedge that bordered the large side and back yard. These roses were the old-fashioned variety seen everywhere around the pioneer places. They were brought here in early days by the pioneers and were plentiful in their gardens. At this season, they were a mass of bloom and for the time the breath of the pine trees was entirely overcome. Mr. Gorman carried all the supplies on his back from Auburn to his place up these steep mountains. The house and garden are shaded with wonderful oak trees. Instead of these trees branching like most of our oak trees, the trees grew very high before the branches began. The branches of one oak tree extended over the very tall house, making a marvelous shade. Just the number of years this fine old place has been built is not recalled, but one of the old freight wagons was secured by Mr. Peterson for the ’49 museum at Sutter Fort, Sacramento, it being considered one of the finest specimens that came to his notice. This old freighter was used by Mr. Gorman as he afterward did much freighting in that region along with his mining. This old freighter had stood under the shed of an immense barn for thirty-nine years and had never been moved during that time. Many a freighter and team had been stabled in this old barn, as it was an early stopping place. It is needless to say the Gorman men are still mining. The Gorman mine, in the process of development, is down the mountain from the house. Mrs. Gorman, Jr. has one of the finest nugget necklaces that could be found. Every piece is of a fern pattern and looks like a small gold fern leaf. We saw many rich specimens of gold from this region. Next we went on to the Wills homestead. It is said that gold was discovered in this state first, just below the Wills house in the ravine, but it was not made generally known until after the Coloma strike although it was known by some parties in that region. The present Mr. Wills was born on this place 73 years ago, his father coming there when that region was full of Indians. Mrs. Wills, who has many interesting stories to relate, recalls the canyon below her house as being full of Indians and watching trains of them climbing the mountain. On the Wills place there was a spring of wonderful ice cold water. This old home site would rival many a famous summer resort for sheer beauty. A flowing stream runs below the house. In the yard is an old rose bush the old father brought from Ireland in early days, for these pioneers not only brought flowers but many fruit trees. On this place are some of the oldest and largest cherry trees in the state. One cherry tree is larger than many oak trees. Only half the original tree stands, for part was broken off in a heavy snowstorm. The standing tree is over two feet in diameter. Some of the branches were larger than large trees. This tree bore loads of immense black cherries. The house was shaded by another large tree which was loaded with cherries. Mrs. Wills took great delight in showing us stacks of crochet work on which she had spent many happy hours. The house contains a great deal of interest, with its old braided rugs, picture frames made of pine cones, and on the walls was the famous old sword that had done service in this country in Revolutionary War times. A tunnel in the side of the mountain was the old store room. Here supplies were kept and one didn’t need any ice for cooking. As we left the place, we looked down on a fine vegetable garden, and we were sorry not to be able to tarry here for days and review all this pioneer history. No wonder one of the evening speakers dwelt on the danger of mountain fires, for we visited the place where once the IOOF hall stood in all its glory and then we gazed across the hill where a tall, gray monument marks the site of the old Masonic hall. A fire swept through here and burned down many of the old buildings. There are three cemeteries -- the Protestant, the public, and the Chinese. The Chinese would bury their dead here and at the end of a year many of the bodies were shipped back to China. On the slope of the bluff, surrounded by the grandest scenery, stands the little old school house. We sat in the little old seats, leaned on the teacher’s desk, and gazed out of the windows down the mountain. On the wall, high up, was written in a fine, clean hand with a red pencil – “21 cu. in. in a gal.” The guide received his education in this little old school house. A porch extended across the side, facing the ravine and ends of the building. At one time this school was filled with children. Michigan Bluff is a perfect storehouse of wonderful historic stories and dreams of early pioneer times.
Roseville Tribune and Enterprise,
History of Roseville Fire Department
In relating the story of the Roseville Fire Department, one cannot help but think back to that time when our city was but a village. In speaking to one of the old pioneers, the writer was interested in the fact that in the year 1906 at the time when the Southern Pacific began transferring its activities from Rocklin to Roseville, there were in the neighborhood of twenty-five residences in the village. The oldest stands today on Atlantic Street next to the West House, having been removed from the lot on the northeast corner of Vernon and Washington streets. The population was like one big family, and one man’s fire was the same as another’s. Those were the days of the bucket brigade, and while we may as moderns be disposed to smile at the thought, it remains an irrefutable fact that much property was saved through the valiant fire-fighters of those days. We would not be forgetful of the good women who fought side by side with the men, playing the garden hose when they were not helping to pass along the buckets. Truly, those were the pioneer days when hospitality and united effort were apparent upon every hand. A water system was soon installed by W. G. Hemphill, and gradually improved apparatus was secured by popular subscription. The fire signals were given by the local church bells. By the year 1911, an organization of the fire department was accomplished, and the written minutes date from that time. Under the record of April 16, 1911, we discover that G. M. Hanisch was chief and W. H. Marsh acted as secretary. At that early day we observe the following members on the roll: Chief Hanisch, Al Ridley, G. W. Butler, N. S. Young, L. M. Hoke, H. G. Williams, G. H. Cirby, J. H. Steinman, L. Leroy Burns, N. West, L. E. Melton, J. A. Watson, W. G. Hemphill, C. A. McRae, J. E. Munster, G. E. Butler, G. Heyland, J. E. Beckwith, L. J. Pettet, A. F. Farrel, Wm. Haman, M. H. Bremser, L. Lennell, M. Johnson, G. Craven, D. Mahoney, J. Morgan, H. E. Boston, C. Lewis, H. Gill, J. Leles, Fred Butler, E. Diznl, G. B. Jurgens, and J. W. Jurgens. Later, of course, others were added but these were the early members. Speaking of Fire Chief Hanish, old-timers tell with a great deal of glee about the time when C. W. Decater became chief. A big fire was being gallantly fought and in the midst of it, former Chief Hanisch commenced to offer some suggestions to Decater, when Decater, although always a good friend of Hanisch, in his excitement yelled, “Say, Hanisch, if you want to boss a fire, go and start one of your own.” Under Chief Hanisch, the present arrangement with the Southern Pacific as to fire signals was arranged. In those days the old-fashioned fire hose cart was used, and the old-timers will tell you how they used to respond to the signals and pull these carts all over the city. At one of the meetings, Wm. Haman and Mr. Adams were the central figures of a momentous debate. Mr. Haman maintained that because of lack of grease, the hose cart stuck so hard that at the Pacific Street fire, it was almost impossible to pull it. Mr. Adams maintained that the cart had been tampered with, as well as the other carts also. The minutes do not indicate how the grease debate was decided. An advanced step in the way of progress was made when the City Council decided to grant the fire department the sum of $70 per month for its maintenance. A little later the members were the happy possessors of helmets. It is needless to say that the boys were proud of their new regalia. In those days many balls and entertainments were given to raise funds and incidentally to have social times together. Chief Hanisch held his office for a period of five years. Charles Decater followed, holding the position about one year, when Mr. Hanisch was re-elected, serving for two years more. He passed to his reward in October 1917 after having performed meritorious service in the fire department. On October 12, 1917, E. A. Ridley was elected to succeed Chief Hanisch. His election was unanimously ratified by the trustees of the city. Geo. E. Butler was selected as assistant chief. It was about this time that a distinct improvement was made in the efficiency of the department by the purchase of a chemical apparatus. At the end of the year, the following officers were elected: E. A. Ridley, chief; G. E. Butler, assistant chief; J. W. Blanchard, secretary; A. E. Tyler, treasurer; A. C. Ridley, L. E. Melton and Will Tyler, trustees, L. Leroy King was secretary in 1919. Chief Ridley, after five years of splendid service, was succeeded by T. A. Mealia on May 19, 1922. An important meeting was held March 4, 1924, at which there was a discussion in which it was contended by one and all that the city had outgrown the old fire-fighting equipment. The outgrowth of this was the purchase by the city trustees of one of the fine modern auto trucks, the equal of any first-class city truck. Another of the same pattern was added the following year, and the city engaged a man to be on duty day and night in each of the two fire houses. It is a noteworthy fact that with the increased efficiency of the fire department, the insurance rates of the city were materially reduced. On February 6, 1925, the following officers were elected: T. A. Mealia, re-elected chief; C. W. Decater, second assistant chief; W. Hanisch, re-elected secretary. On November 6, 1925, the resignation of T. A. Mealia as chief was read and received with regret. On November 19, 1925, the following officers were elected: C. D. White, chief; C. W. Decater, first assistant; A. E. Gilkey, treasurer; W. Hanisch, secretary. Throughout the years since the organization of the fire department, there have been approximately one thousand fires, and in every instance splendid work was done by men who, for the most part, were unpaid, except for the gratitude of those who were the beneficiaries of their self-sacrificing work. All honor is due to the various chiefs and their assistants. Fire-fighting to them was serious business, and in looking over the records, we find that whenever a member was absent, he had to present a mighty good reason or be subject to a fine. One does not feel that he would be justified in selecting certain ones to eulogize. Suffice to say that Roseville is proud of its past heroes of many fires. The past of the volunteer fire department is secure and untarnished. This story would not be complete without reference to the organization of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Firemen. The wives of the firemen organized their Auxiliary in February 1926. Mrs. Earl Atwater, mother of the Junior Past Chief C. D. White, was elected president; Mrs. C. W. Decater, vice-president; Mrs. C. E. Sales, treasurer; Mrs. Homer Luther, secretary. Mrs. C. W. Decater was the prime mover of the organization and received a great deal of help from the Fresno Auxiliary in writing the constitution, regulations, and by-laws. The meetings have been held twice a month on Fridays at the homes of the various members. Much charity work has been done, and the ladies have assisted the firemen in many ways. The present officers are: Mrs. C. W. Decater, president; Mrs. L. E. Melton, vice-president; Mrs. Earl Atwater, secretary; Mrs. C. E. Sales, treasurer. Under Mrs. Decater, the members have made fancy work and have given presents to each new baby as well as alleviating the sufferings of the distressed families of the firemen. Under both presidents, a large amount of charity work has been done, and it might be added that the charity work has not been restricted to the firemen and families alone but has taken in a wide scope. Many families are deeply indebted to this organization for their kind efforts. The members have always marched in the parades and have, as the firemen would express it, “been their right-hand bower” in all of their activities. Mrs. Decater, president of the Auxiliary, wishes The Tribune to state that the mothers, wives, daughters, and unmarried sisters of the firemen are eligible to membership. Chief White has just completed his splendid years of service of three terms. At the recent election of December 28, 1928, the following officers were elected: A. E. Gilkey, chief; Owen Pendergast, assistant chief; Thorburn Lewis, secretary; offices of second assistant and treasurer to be filled later. Pioneers have seen the wonderful evolution of the department as it commended with its bucket brigade in the earliest days under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce, passing to the hose carts located in various sections of the city and pulled to the fires by enthusiastic, perspiring citizens, and finally reaching the present hour wherein the city is the proud possessor of two splendid trucks, well-manned by efficient paid drivers, and with two sell-built houses as well as the most modern equipment. To such men as Wm. Haman, the elder and junior Hanisches, Decaters, Ridley, Mealia, White, and a host of others, Roseville is delighted to render the highest honors and appreciation and to the present administration we offer our best wishes and hope that they will continue the magnificent work of their predecessors.
Roseville Tribune and Register,
Old Days of Livery Stables in Roseville and All-Day Trip to Sacramento Recalled
The good old days of Roseville, when a livery stable occupied the site of the present Buick garage, when hay and grain warehouses occupied the land on which the Southern Pacific yards are now located, when thoroughfares were roads instead of streets, and Whiskey Road, now known as Pacific Street, was in its heyday—these are some of the interesting recollections that have been furnished The Tribune by Mrs. Pearl Porter, Roseville pioneer. The first post office in Roseville, it is recalled by Mrs. Porter, was at the corner of Whiskey Road and Lincoln Street. There were no boxes in the post office, and every patron had to ask for his mail, doing so usually when he went for merchandise. In 1885 the first boxes were installed, but there were no lock boxes and patrons still had to call the postmaster from his mercantile duties when seeking mail delivery. At this time the father of Robert Porter rented box 116, and this number has been in possession of the family ever since. J. D. Pratt was the first Roseville postmaster. He was followed by William Thomas, Miss Pitcher, Charley Trippett, Mrs. Anderson, and finally W. D. Stephens, who now presides over Roseville’s imposing new federal office. There were only two churches in those days—the Methodist, which occupied the same site as the present Methodist edifice, and the Presbyterian Church, which was located on the present site of the city hall. Those were days of livery stables. Jim Way had a livery stable where the Buick garage now stands. Ten years before that Al Moore had a livery stable where the telephone office is located. Tom Phillips, father of Harry Phillips, had a livery stable, saloon, and barber shop back of the site of the new Saugstad garage. Jess (Mary Blair’s husband) had a livery stable and an interest in a butcher shop in the same place where William Butler’s shop is now located. The first farmers to own automobiles were Guy De Kay and Tom Slater. Bob Porter had a 1914 Ford. Roseville’s first garage appeared in 1914. It was known as Linnell’s. The railroad came to Roseville in 1865. It ran from here to Folsom, the old roadbed crossed the William Dole and Thomas ranches, intersected the Rock Ridge Road, continued through Jerry Shelly’s place, Al Hanisch’s, William Butler’s, C. Avery’s, Leroy Briggs’, crossing the Auburn Road into Sacramento County and going into Folsom where the hill is cut through for the highway near the American River. The old Scott Hotel, across from the Crockard garage, is the home of Roseville’s first high school, it is recalled. The high school was started by E. C. Bedell, now clerk of the high school board, and a Mr. Masters, father of Mrs. Hansen, was the first principal. The new high school was started in 1915, when farmers donated their teams and the ladies gave free lunch. In 1898 Sawtell & J. Herring had the first telephone in Roseville. E. E. Bedell had the first rural line built west of town. Robert Porter had the first line built three miles south of town. Annie C. King, Ed Bedell, and Robert Porter had the first rural telephones installed. In 1880 there were 13 saloons in Roseville, two hotels, three merchandise stores. The hotels were the Scott House and Ross House. At that time the school was housed in two buildings, one of them of wood and the other of brick. There were two teachers who handled every subject; Ed Panabaker was one of the teachers and Alice Entricle, now Mrs. McIntosh. There was one brewery here, one flour mill, and one butcher shop. Bueling’s saloon was in the depot building, and in 1880 Mrs. Cassie Hill ran the depot, freight office, express, and telegraph offices. The first bank in Roseville was started in Mr. Lanell’s hardware store, which later became the O’Neil hardware store, and then the Coffee Shop. It was in this building that Cashier Bissell, later Mr. McPherson, ran the bank. The Roseville Banking Company moved to the corner of Lincoln and Church streets when Mr. Kelsey and John Hill ran the banks. After Mr. Kelsey’s death, the bank was taken over by the Bank of Italy. In the early days, it is recalled, Roseville was a big grain field. Auburn and Sacramento were the only towns of any size in those days, and it took a whole day to make the trip to town and back with the horse and buggy. It is recalled by Mrs. Porter that lumber for the William Thomas store came around the Horn. Part of this lumber was used in the old Charter & Taylor store. Tom Berry, grandfather of Dr. Berry Boston, had the first barber shop in Roseville and a saloon in another room. The location was on the lot where Bill Butler lives today. Mrs. McIntosh has one of the oldest houses in town.
Roseville Tribune and Register,
Razing of Hotel Recalls Historic Role of Building
Work has been started by the W. S. Perry Company to wreck the old Southern Pacific Hotel on Vernon Street just east of the Buick garage. It is a large frame structure. This building is one of the old landmarks of Roseville. It was built in 1873 by W. J. Barrister and stood where the east end of the present freight depot is located. After changing hands once or twice, it was purchased for the Southern Pacific Company by A. B. McRae, the seller being A. E. Zennevylle, and was moved by McRae to its present site, the moving of it being done by Gottlieb Hanisch, father of Mayor Walter Hanisch. This was in 1906 when the railroad company moved its shops to Roseville from Rocklin. The lots were bought by Mr. McRae from George Lamphrey. The building has been used since then by the Southern Pacific Company for the most part either as a hotel or clubhouse, and of late years as a rooming and eating house for Mexican employees. But there was a time when this structure assumed the pretensions of a high school. We read in the 1923-29 Roseville Union High School manual: “Monday morning, September 2, 1912, the Roseville Union High School opened its doors for the first time to pupils. Fifty-one pupils enrolled that day, nearly three times the number the most optimistic had predicted would be enrolled during the year. Classes were held in the old Southern Pacific Hotel building and in the theatre.” The total enrollment for the year was 65. This large number was proof positive to the trustees and to the Women’s Improvement Club, who worked so earnestly for the project, and to the other friends of the school that the great effort put forth in the organization of the district had not been in vain, and the high school was appreciated. When the books of the school showed a total of 89 pupils at the close of the year 1913-14, it was evident that a high school building must be provided. A bond issue was voted for the purpose and one of the handsomest, most completely equipped high school buildings in the state for the money was completed. Located on a knoll in twelve acres of ground, the building is justly the pride of the district. The year 1915-16 closed with an enrollment of 113 pupils. The Women’s Improvement Club fixed up a rest room in the old building for the teachers, putting in rugs, furniture, curtains, etc. Some of the blackboards are still in evidence in the building.
Roseville Tribune and Register,
Native Resources of Placer County Extolled in Paper
Natural resources of Placer County are given prominent mention in an article recently issued by the Sacramento Region Citizens Council. The article follows: Somewhere about 1884, near the time that the federal and state governments had sounded the death knell to hydraulic mining within California, the state mineralogist reported to the United States treasury department that between $100,000,000 and $1,000,000,000 remained in the old gravel channels of Placer County. This did not take into consideration the quartz ledges or the channels that may be undiscovered. With the edict against hydraulic mining, a system whereby streams of water under high pressure tore into the sides of hills and washed the gold into sluices, booming mining towns disappeared over night; thousands of men forsook the region and went elsewhere in quest of work; Iowa Hill, that once boasted the largest election precinct in California, dwindled to a corporal’s guard. Finis would have been written in the life of many a region if such a blow had been received, but nature had been bountiful in her creation of that region and soon the harvest of golden fruit was to offset the loss caused by governmental decree. Within the heart of that great region remains enough gold to have paid this country’s debt before the World War; other commercial metals and building ore also are stored in the ground. Some day they may be mined, but Placer County is now engaged in developing those resources that furnish annual yields of wealth and which will not be exhausted, even in the times to come. The rolling foothills, many perhaps the storehouse of treasures of gold, long since have been planted to deciduous fruits whose golden harvests have surpassed the fame of the early-day mines. Climate, soil, and abundance of water have combined to make the Placer orchards world famous and to have assured an era of prosperity in the county unsurpassed elsewhere. Today between 32,000 and 40,000 acres are devoted to deciduous fruits, two-thirds of which are shipped into the eastern and mid western states for table use. Plums, peaches, pears, cherries, and, in fact, every deciduous fruit that is known thrives in Placer County. Placer County in springtime presents a picture unsurpassed; the green hills harbor fruit trees whose blossoms turn the entire region into a garden land. Up hill and down hill the trees run, row on row, mile after mile. The vast orchard area gives annual employment to hundreds of people during the quieter periods of the year and thousands during the harvest months. Packing plants line the highway between Roseville and Auburn, the county seat. The fruits of that area vie with those from all other sections of the west on first appearance in the markets, cherries often reaching the commercial marts to suddenly remind one, as do the robins, that the bluster of winter is giving way to the joyful days of spring. No section in California is more ideally located than Placer as regards transportation facilities leading into the big market centers. The Southern Pacific crosses the heart of the fruit belt, and at Roseville the largest refrigeration plant in the world is located, icing hundreds of eastbound fruit cars daily during the peak of the shipping season. The higher lands of the county rightfully boast of their berries and apples, the cool air giving a flavor and sweetness that assures them an eager market. The peculiar location of the county, reaching from the floor of the Sacramento valley to the state of Nevada on the top of the snow-capped Sierras, is assurance against dull periods of the year. There are no seasonal depressions; one busy period melting away into the rush of another. The county is also many times blessed with its diversity of industries; the mines, railroad shops, clay pits, and pottery plants vying with the orchards and farms in providing daily activity. There is still another phase of the county’s fame which has drawn the blessings of countless hundreds – that as a health resort. In the region lying between Weimar and Alta, sanitariums have been established, especially for those afflicted with tuberculosis or else threatened with the disease. Weimar is the site for a sanitarium established by 11 counties of Northern California. The elevation between Weimar and Alta ranges from 2,000 to 3,600 feet. The county, rich in natural resources, also is rich in health-giving climate, a blessing to the afflicted and to which they come from many states. The streams and lakes long have lured the outdoor lover, and many beautiful resorts have grown up within that region. Vast areas are yet in their virgin state; sparkling lakes are lined by heavy timber, a combination that offers great attraction to hunter or fisherman. A part of the great Lake Tahoe lies within Placer County, one of the most beautiful bodies of water the world over. From these snow-fed lakes and the white-capped mountains are fed the innumerable streams and rivers that flow down into the valley. The wealth of Placer County is vast; her resources are diversified; it is a county that offers opportunities to all, whether they seek agricultural or industrial avenues. The glory that first crowned the county has given way to a newer glory and one which neither time nor man can take away from her.
Daytona Beach Morning Journal, 6-17-1956
They Honor Old Joe
FORESTHILL, Calif.—Folks along the Foresthill Divide still remember Old Joe, one of the last heroes of gold rush days. Joe was the lead horse on the Foresthill stage. He died from the blast of a highwayman’s shotgun July 3, 1901. The holdup man was never caught in spite of a local wave of revulsion over his crime. But even so, in 1901, the robber was about 35 years too late. The last big gold shipments from the Foresthill mines had dwindled out long before, and the robbery netted only $70. The stage was on an uphill grade when the robber stepped from behind a manzanita bush and ordered the driver, Henry Crockett, to stop. Crockett shook his head and whipped up the horses. The bandit fired at the team. Old Joe dropped in his tracks. The big horse was cut from the traces and buried along the road with a crude stone slab to mark the spot. John de Maria remembers that as long as the stage line operated, one of the drivers would stop every July 4 to put a flag on Old Joe’s grave. In the last few years, the job has been taken over by the Placer County Historical Society. About 250 persons still live at Foresthill, 53 miles east of Sacramento in the Sierra.
Roseville Press Tribune, Tuesday, 8-28-1973
Unique Opening Set for Bridge
The most unique ribbon-cutting ceremony in California history will take place Saturday in connection with the opening and dedication of the new Auburn-Foresthill Bridge over the North Fork of the American River canyon. The 10:30 AM event will feature Bertha, the dancing pachyderm from John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, NV, and a donkey from El Dorado County prancing (hopefully) from opposite ends of the span to the middle where they will snap the ribbon heralding the opening of the $15.4 million crossing. Use of the animals will signify the bi-partisan effort of the Auburn Dam Committee during the past 17-plus years to secure authorization and construction of the huge Auburn Dam-Folsom South Canal project. Congressional, state, county, and local officials, plus representatives of several federal agencies, will be on hand for the public ceremony for which the Placer High School Pep Band and other organizations will provide entertainment. The 2,428-foot steel truss bridge, which soars 730 feet above the streambed of the American River, was built by the US Bureau of Reclamation as the replacement for an older span at the confluence of the North and Middle Forks of the American River. The former bridge will be inundated by the filling of the Auburn Dam Reservoir. The new bridge, located just east of Interstate 80 at Auburn Ravine overpass, was recently turned over to Placer County. It provides direct access to the Foresthill Divide from Interstate 80. The crossing has been built to accommodate two lanes of traffic initially, but can be expanded to four lanes when necessary. A civic luncheon at the Auburn District Fairgrounds will follow the bridge dedication ceremony. The public is invited with tickets for the luncheon, $3 per person, available by calling the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce, 885-5616, or the Placer County Chamber of Commerce, 885-0416.
San Diego Union, 8-18-1985
The Glorious Gold Rush Days Still Glow in Dutch Flat
--by Arthur Ribbel
It was in 1963 when I first visited Dutch Flat, a small Sierra Nevada gold town that is a lovely portrait of rustic beauty created by nature, man and time. Just over a rise off Interstate 80 in Placer County, beyond the roar of trucks and cars, nestles Dutch Flat, a mini-settlement that somehow preserved its heritage of quiet and simplicity from a golden past. On that first visit, smoke curled from stone chimneys against a green and autumn gold primeval backdrop like a Christmas card tableau. Flecks of snow, a falling pine cone and the rap-rap of woodpeckers enhanced the scene. The town is set prettily like a gem amid the thick forests of pine and fir, a bit of the California gold country that may have forgotten to giddyap into the modern turmoil. The falling pine cones tumbled off roofs deep-pitched to shed the snow. Snow patches glistened on the forest floor. Dutch Flat for the traveler is a side trip from State Highway 49, the Trail of the Miners, at Auburn to Interstate 80. The little place is 29 miles northeast of Auburn, and its business district is less than 2 miles off the interstate. One must see Dutch Flat more than once to discover its many interesting nooks, corners, and relics. As with all historic towns, you see more on each succeeding visit ... things you missed on the first trip ... an ancient wagon, a vine-covered cottage, a hydraulic monitor or a weed-covered head frame of an old mine. It was merely a whim that prompted me to turn off toward Dutch Flat. I'm glad I did. By just being there, the weary wayfarer, the refugee from city's noise, smog, and tensions finds enjoyment and relief. A neat sign in a neat window of a neat little white house said the Ladies Aid met every Wednesday. There was the red bell on a little tower off Main Street which brought the six-man volunteer fire force on the run. The general store, in business since 1854, was an exhibit by itself. It sold penny candy, and you could buy almost anything a gold-region mountain man might want -- long underwear, traps, picks, pans, lamps, chimneys, potbellied stoves, gold scales, and boots. The store kept money in a 7-ton iron safe, hauled to the town by mule train from San Francisco. In a separate vault inside was kept gold dust. No highwayman could pack that safe off! Main Street was lined with poplar and locust trees. The locusts were favorites of the pioneer town builders. A little town is much more handsome when it is lined with tall trees. Fire, which has been the scourge of little towns of the California gold country, mostly missed Dutch Flat. It was one of the few gold towns that never suffered major damage from flames. Thus each building carries a little history with it into the 20th century. There was (and is) the Dutch Flat Hotel, a handsome old survivor with its long mirror, old ledgers and overhanging balconies on the second and third stories. General U.S. Grant and the famous New York newspaper editor Horace Greeley stayed at the hotel. Whiskey sold for 12 1/2 cents an ordinary glass, the beds had high carved backs and top-hatted men and bustled women wandered about in pioneer luxury. Its polished black wood bar was 25 feet long. The lower floor dates back to 1852. The hotel shows up handsomely on color photos, like a good-looking old gentleman of the old school with a gold-headed cane and fine clothes from yesterday. It must have been a travelers' palace in its heyday. One historian said it had 30 rooms more than those represented in the present structure. There is the IOOF (Odd Fellows) building erected in 1856, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1859-1861. Dutch Flat has known gold and glory. Millions in gold have been taken out of the stream beds and ridges around the town, including placer mines and hydraulic operations. The California State Historical Handbook gave this capsule look at Dutch Flat: "Founded in the spring of 1851 by Joseph and Charles Dornbach. From 1854 to 1882 it was noted for its rich hydraulic mines. In 1860 it had the largest voting population in Placer County. Here Theodore Judah and D.W. Strong made the original subscription to build the transcontinental railroad." Judah, 1826-1863, published an influential booklet on a transcontinental railroad. He induced the "Big Four" -- Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington and Leland Stanford -- to join him in creating the Central Pacific Railroad Co. He suggested the Dutch Flat crossing of the Sierra Nevada. He died without seeing his dream fulfilled. The last spike of the railroad was driven at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869, the meeting of the East and West rails. In addition to its importance as a mining center, Dutch Flat was a major stage station before the coming of the trains. One nugget taken out of Dutch Flat was worth more than $5,000, which helped to burnish its enviable reputation in the Gold Country. In a hollow approaching the town from the south, there was an adobe-wood house that was a Chinese store. The Chinese population at Dutch Flat once numbered 2,000. Next to the pioneer American cemetery just above the town were the Chinese burial grounds. Most of the bodies were removed from the graves and taken back to China. Still alive in the town is the belief that a residue deposit of $30 million in gold is still buried near by. The old buildings were all Western originals, never to be duplicated in textures, handiwork, materials or in the spirit of urgency. Humble and plain, some of them, they help to narrow the gap between now and the golden "thens." Once there were seven grocery and provision stores, 17 saloons, eight clothing and dry goods stores, two breweries, three blacksmith shops, two tin shops, three hotels, two banks, a Wells-Fargo Express Office and an opera house. There are no saloons now in Dutch Flat. The present population is calculated to be about 320, with more in the summer. The town not only has a Main Street but also a Fifth Avenue! It is neither flat nor Dutch. Thirsty miners crossed the Bear River from Little York to quaff the local suds from "The Two Dutchmen." There is a story in town that a handsome hearse on display was paid for in part by shady ladies who derived the money from special "dollar days." Dutch Flat, like other hydraulic centers, closed down in 1882 after the courts and legislature ruled that the big hose operations polluted the streams and farm fields. There is much color and quaint history in Dutch Flat. Like the time the upper floor of the Masonic Hall sagged three inches toward the center. The members solved the leveling problem by cutting a like amount off the back legs of the chairs. There is the old native stone mortuary and morgue. The Dutch Flat pioneers were practical in the Gold Rush days. They hanged criminals outside the mortuary so they wouldn't have far to haul the corpses. Dutch Flat has been called quaint, colorful, quiet, lovable, fascinating, and historic. It is all of that and more to its patriots.
Sacramento Bee, Friday, 9-23-1988
Dutch Flat Hopes to Keep Gold Rush Hotel Standing
Nicolas Pansegrouw and his friends here might have picked themselves a champion project when they set out to save the 1852-vintage Dutch Flat Hotel. This is no sad, tumble-down structure ready to fall in upon itself with the next high wind. It is sound, ready for another century or two with just a bit of care and maintenance. The building, with a bulk that must equal the volume of all the other commercial buildings in "downtown" Dutch Flat combined, has a new roof, new foundation and rejuvenated exterior walls and supporting structures. "It's just that it's behind this chain link fence, locked up, with no future whatever the way it stands now," Pansegrouw said the other day as he stood in Dutch Flat's sleepy, tree-shaded Main Street and surveyed the building. The fear is, he said, that the building may fall into the hands of a developer who prizes the property as five potentially bare town lots more than as a historic structure. He said the history of California's gold country is closely entwined with the old hotel. Dutch Flat is full of tales of the famous and powerful who stayed at the hotel, but unfortunately, the hotel's register is not to be found. Pansegrouw said he is trying to track down the source of a remark attributed to Bret Harte in the 1870s, during the height of hydraulic mining in the area. The story is that he said the crowds in front of the hotel reminded him of the boulevardiers of New York. As for the structure's good health, he explained that the hotel was closed in 1941 and was being restored with the idea of reopening when the woman who owned it died around 1980. "Her name was Florence Pfister. She wanted to open the bar and restaurant on the ground floor, then eventually operate it as an hotel," said Pansegrouw, 68, a native of South Africa with twinkling blue eyes who operates an antique book business from his Dutch Flat home. Some $500,000 had already been invested in shoring up the old building when she died. Perhaps $65,000 more would be needed to finish off the bottom floor, maybe $250,000 beyond that to do the whole job, including two apartments on the third floor and eight sumptuous guest rooms on the second floor, Pansegrouw said. With broad porches around each of its three floors, its bar and front doors carved elegantly in a distinctive motif, its tall windows and high ceilings, its gracious air, the old hostelry could have made a nice dinner house. But in Dutch Flat, two miles from Interstate 80 and with a population of only a few hundred, the chances appear slim that such an operation could be profitable, even in elegant surroundings. Pfister's son and heir, Robert, chose not to complete the investment. Instead, he has agreed to sell it to the local Golden Drift Historical Society for $400,000, said Pansegrouw, who is this year's president of the society. "Of course, we don't have $400,000, but we're certainly going to try to raise it," he said. If they do raise the money, the building will become a museum of gold country history, he said, and already, the people of the area have come forth to join the effort. A hotel committee has more than 50 members, and when it was decided to; hold a work day to spruce up the premises as an enticement for others to join in the effort to save it, most of the committee turned out, Pansegrouw said. "You should have seen it. People more than 80 years old up on tall ladders washing windows. All a labor of love." The committee is taking its first stab at fund raising Oct. 7, 8 and 9 with a communitywide celebration. Unique features will include booths selling old photographs and hotel towels, a fancy, $100-a-plate dinner in the hotel dining room and a box-lunch picnic on the lawn of a local home. Pansegrouw peered along the length of the hotel's main porch, looking down the line of supporting pillars. Those on the ends are round and symmetrical, but the others are oddly misshapen. "I'm told that those pillars in the middle were worn that way from decades of people sitting on this porch and propping their feet up there," he said. "It would be good to be able to preserve this building for things like that, even if we'll never know with certainty why those pillars are worn." For information on the Dutch Flat Hotel celebration, telephone Nancy Bullard, (916) 389 2409, or Julianne Smith, 389-2325, or write P.O. Box 253, Dutch Flat 95714.
Sacramento Bee, 2-21-1989
Detour: Ghost of a Highway in Placer County, A County, A Hint of Tourism Called the Lincoln
An estimated 75,000 cars sweep past Roseville every day on Interstate 80, carrying harried commuters and other travelers whom boosters of Placer County hope to lure from the frantic freeway. The hope is to get the drivers off the freeway that cuts through the heart of their county's biggest city and steer them onto a slower, quieter, nostalgic journey along the remnants of I-80's pioneer predecessor -- the old Lincoln Highway. That historic road, the western end of America's first transcontinental highway -- 3,331 miles from New York to San Francisco -- wound its way down the mountains through once-rich gold mining camps, railroad towns and farm communities recognized now only as signs on a freeway off-ramp. Lincoln Highway revivalists see the road as an invitation to those speeding by on I-80 to slow down for a trip back to the glory days of the automobile through some magnificent scenery and places that remain locked in time. Wally Lagorio, director of Placer County's Information Center, said preliminary efforts are under way to organize supporters from towns along the way and -- perhaps with the help of historical societies and the state Department of Transportation -- to mark the route with replicas of those original signs. "We must create a reason for the traveler to slow down or even stop to get a look at the scenic and historic spots,'' he said. "When you consider that Placer County's restaurants, hotels, bars, gift shops, and sporting goods stores did a combined $48 million in the first quarter of 1988, how much more could we accomplish with use of the Lincoln Highway and other seldom-traveled scenic back roads as a key to tapping an additional tourist resource?'' Lagorio said he and others are captivated by the idea of turning what remains of the storied Lincoln Highway into a longer version of the Monterey Peninsula's vaunted 17-Mile Drive. The near-forgotten route, he points out, traverses some lovely and isolated country and is lightly traveled now, mainly by locals. The pioneer national highway was marked by red-white-and-blue signs emblazoned with the capital letter "L'' and nailed to telegraph poles and fence posts as navigation aids for early-day motorists. From his headquarters in Colfax, a once-booming railroad center, Russ Englestadt, marina concessionaire at nearby Rollins Lake, expressed his enthusiasm for promoting use of the old highway. "It would be the greatest thing since popcorn,'' he said of the route that might help revitalize his town. "A lot of people would be pleasantly surprised when they discovered what we have here.'' The idea that visitors could spend an entire day exploring on quiet back roads from historic old Auburn to Truckee -- through the storied mining camps of Gold Run, Dutch Flat and places named Clipper Gap, Applegate, and Alta -- shows promise, he said, of bolstering a lagging economy in those small towns. Started by a group of astute Detroit automakers, the Lincoln Highway Association organized in 1913 to promote a coast-to-coast highway "open to all lawful traffic … without toll charges.'' Charted by adventurous motorists between 1913 and 1916, the route struck out from the New Jersey banks of the Hudson River and headed west across the plains and the mountains following emigrant trails and wagon roads. As it snaked down the mountain from Donner Summit, the ""highway'' actually rode the Southern Pacific right-of-way. Travelers were warned that approaches to the railroad snow sheds at Norden were hazardous. "Before entering the snow sheds, note whether trains are approaching,'' a map's footnote read, "This road is impassable in winter. Hotels are found at Towle, Immigrant Gap, and Truckee.'' Promoted and supported by the major car companies and suppliers before federal and state funds were available, the route was the first, life-giving artery of the national highway system. The Complete Official Guide to the Lincoln Highway, published in 1916, recently was resurrected by Sacramento automobile historian Lynn Protteau. Edited by her in 1984, it was re-issued in dedication to the pioneer highway builders and adventuresome tourists. In 1921 Congress passed legislation to help develop a national highway system but with the start of government plans to number all highways, the Lincoln Highway lost its identity. Major portions of the route become Highways 30 or 40, predecessors of present-day I-80. Today, with a little guidance, the remains of the route are fairly easy to follow. A run down Riverside Drive in Roseville puts a driver on what once was the old road. The road continues onto Atlantic Street and out to I-80, where a jog on Taylor Road through Rocklin puts the traveler back on track. The route then parallels the freeway, winding through Loomis, Penryn, and Newcastle before it enters Auburn passing the old Placer County Courthouse on Maple Street. The course runs up Maple to Lincoln Way and out of town headed east. The road proceeds through Clipper Gap, Applegate, and Colfax and on to Gold Run, Dutch Flat, and Alta. Weather permitting, another segment continues through the ski resorts at Soda Springs and Norden, over the twisting old Donner Summit grade, along the shore of Donner Lake and on to Truckee. Typical of the places to be seen along the way is the quaint old town of Newcastle, briefly the head of the Central Pacific Railroad as it was being constructed in the 1860s. Rare old buildings bearing the stamp of Victorian and turn-of-the century architecture line Newcastle's tiny town square facing Packing Shed Row, from which a major share of California’s pears, apples, grapes, and other orchard products were shipped to Eastern fresh-fruit markets. Travelers over the age of 50 may recall driving that twisting two-lane road where traffic often choked to a crawl and radiators boiled on hot summer afternoons before the advent of air conditioning. "It may seem ironic,'' Lagorio said, "that we're trying to turn a road that drivers once cursed into an opportunity for a leisurely scenic drive.''
Sacramento Bee, Wednesday, 8-23-1989
Railroad Is Sound, History of Roseville
The clanging and banging of boxcars, the traffic routes over and under the railroad tracks, the smell of diesel fuel, the sight of hobos near the rail yards -- all have been an integral part of Roseville for decades. Today, as Roseville grows and Southern Pacific's work force shrinks, the influence of the railroad is diminishing. As the city spreads out and homes are built further from the rail junction at the city's historical heart, many people are not even aware that the largest freight marshaling yard in the West cuts through the middle of Roseville. There is even a proposal to build sound walls around the railroad yard. "People are moving into the Roseville area just like crazy, and they have no idea about the history of the city,'' said Dean Moore, a retired conductor and history buff. Moore and other members of the Roseville Historical Society want to build a railroad museum. Its centerpiece would be a restored turntable -- a huge ''lazy Susan'' used to turn trains at the end of their run -- stocked with locomotives borrowed from the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. A Roseville museum would help revive interest in the railroad, said Phillip M. Ozenick, a city councilman and president of the historical society. "People who are kind of new in Roseville … may know the railroad is here, but they know very little about it. It's very important that people know about the heritage," Ozenick said. Roseville was founded in 1864 at the junction of the California Central and Central Pacific railroads. But it was not until 1908, when Southern Pacific -- successor to the original rail lines -- moved its switching and terminal facilities from Rocklin to Roseville that the town of 250 people began to grow. During the first half of this century, the majority of workers in the city were employed by Southern Pacific or its sister company, Pacific Fruit Express. Roseville was a company town with the railroad's influence extending into the city's social and cultural life. Waves of immigrants -- including Hispanics, Slavs, Italians and Greeks -- came to Roseville to work for the railroad, giving the community an ethnic mix that remains today. People built houses with lumber from old boxcars that the railroad company dismantled and gave away. Hobos rode boxcars into town, slept in hobo jungles and did yard work in exchange for meals. Southern Pacific no longer has old employment records, but retired railroad employees say at its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, the company had more than 6,000 people working at its Roseville yards. Some estimates place the number at more than 10,000. "When I was a boy growing up in Roseville, everyone worked for the railroad," said Mayor William M. Santucci. "To me it was a godsend. My dad retired from the railroad, I had two uncles who retired from the railroad. I worked for Southern Pacific when I was going through high school in the summertime, and all my friends did too. " If there weren't the railroad and the Pacific Fruit Express, there would not be a Roseville." In the days when most people worked for the railroad or had a relative who did, the dust, the noise, the encounters with rail-riding tramps and the long waits at train crossings were tolerated. Now those annoyances are becoming increasingly unacceptable to the many residents who have no ties to the railroad. Jerome Perry, a retired engineer who lives a block from the tracks, said he's so accustomed to the noise from the rail yard that he doesn't even hear it anymore." Other people, they come here and they can't sleep at night," he said. "They don't like the noise, especially at night. They can't understand that the railroad is a 24-hour job." Complaints from merchants and residents have become so frequent that the city staff has proposed building sound walls along the tracks, where a dilapidated wooden fence once stood. The walls would reduce the noise and make property next to the rail yard more attractive to business development, according to the city's proposed redevelopment plan. Carol Norberg, who grew up in Roseville, said she was appalled when she learned about the sound walls, proposed at a cost of nearly $3 million. "I know there are people who don't even know there are railroad tracks here. Our whole history is built around the railroad," she said. "To try to disguise it from a few is just ridiculous. It's part of this town and part of its heritage." Norberg said it was ironic that the plan -- which has not been approved -- proposes to hide the railroad from the public view, and at the same time contains partial funding for a museum to honor the railroad.
Sacramento Bee, 6-10-1993
Meadow Vista Native Knows his History
Neilsburg is no more. The Gold Rush-era community north of Auburn near what's now the Dry Creek exit on Interstate 80 suffered the same slow fade as some other Northern California communities of the time. "It just kind of went away," said Meadow Vista resident George Lay, who owns a Placer County survey map that includes now forgotten Neilsburg. No one is worried that Meadow Vista, the upscale community of about 3,500 people seven miles northwest of Auburn, will go the way of nearby Neilsburg, but Lay wants to make sure the record of Meadow Vista's past doesn't disappear. Using old newspaper articles, photographs, advertisements and government documents, Lay presents the Meadow Vista story at community gatherings. His knowledge doesn't rely on just a paper record. Lay, 55, sometimes rode his horse, "Jack" to the one-room Meadow Vista Grammar School he attended as a youth, lived in the town when sawmills still operated and hasn't forgotten the taste of water from the well at his childhood home, once known as the Cole Ranch. "That was the coldest water," said Lay. "It was clear and cold and it tasted so good." Lay recalls his father, Merlin, who enjoyed an occasional beer, saying "he'd probably quit drinking beer, the water was so good." Lay knew John Livingston, the man who named Meadow Vista. An Auburn resident who bought a 400-acre ranch around 1918 near what is today the site of the Placer Hills Elementary School, Livingston drew the name from the views the property offered. "He would be surprised," Lay said of the community's size and success. "He'd be surprised at the land prices." Lay's interest in the community's past began early. "I started taking photos when I was in the fourth grade," he said. The Meadow Vista resident also began collecting material from longtime residents. Meadow Vista has a long tradition of rowdy, independent politics. Lay, whose father helped begin both the school and water districts, remembers attending a meeting on a water-related issue. People were heatedly talking about wells going dry. Animated discourse among residents still marks life in Meadow Vista. "They do the same now when they go to these Winchester hearings," Lay said, referring to the proposed residential development that has sparked controversy. Lay, who founded the "Society for the Preservation of the History of Meadow Vista," has expanded his historical review to include Applegate, Clipper Gap, Christian Valley and Weimar. The foothills were once home to the Esoteric Society, a religious group established in Applegate in 1887. Founded by Hiram Butler, mysticism and metaphysics were part of the brew Butler served up in publications sent around the world from Applegate. "Americans as a rule are comparatively brilliant," one Esoteric Society publication stated. But "the brain faculty of "continuity' is one of the weakest in the American head and character." The society promoted its Bible Review with the note that "the name suggests orthodoxy, but do not let that mislead you." The Applegate post office expanded to handle the volume of mail the group generated, Lay said. Applegate, he noted, draws its name from a Missouri family that moved after the Gold Rush and not from the fruit often grown in the foothills. Lay likes preserving the past, but he's not a subscriber to any gold-old-days nostalgia. Fear of fire houses had little defense against blazes when wells were the only water source the marginal medical care of the era, and the rigors of rural life are part of the story of old Meadow Vista. When a friend got a fish hook caught in his ear, a local doctor yanked it out. The friend received no anesthesia and just screamed. "I never forgot that," Lay said of the sound. Potluck community dinners were fun, but when they were over all the fathers had to head home to milk the cows. Still, life in old Meadow Vista had its rewards. "Everybody knew everybody. It totally changed around in the 1970s the early '70s," said Lay. Newcomers, however, seem to bring the same affection for the community that has long been a part of Meadow Vista, he added. "When I grew up here I never wanted to leave," he said. "I never left. I'm very lucky that way."
Sacramento Bee, 5-15-1994
Gold vs. Grain – Destructive Hydraulic Mining Left its Mark on Placer County
Claude Chana was one of the first to suffer from slickens. The mining pioneer remembered with a statue off Interstate 80 in Auburn's Old Town for discovering gold in the Auburn Ravine in 1848 returned to his first love, farming, after he made his fortune. "Of all places I have seen," Chana said of the 18,000-acre farm he bought along the Bear River, "this spot is the prettiest and best in which to make my home." But in 1861 sand and other debris known as slickens coming down the river from hydraulic mining high up in the mountains inundated the farmland home Chana had planted with almonds, peaches, and grapes of his native France. After slickens flooded his farm, Chana lived at his Bear River property just across from the Placer County border for another dozen years, building levees to try to protect his land from the mining debris carried down from the mountains by the river. But the attempt to protect his farm failed. A history of Placer County described Chana's farm as "the most complete wreck, the most utterly desolate scene; the most sorrowful case of individual hardship wrought in the entire state by the devastating erosions of this modern age." Chana had to abandon the land he loved. He retired to Wheatland and sold wine made from grapes he bought lacking land or vines of his own. He died nearly penniless and was buried in a grave marked simply "Pioneer." Unlike Chana, who traveled briefly with the Donner Party in his 1846 trip west and went on to discover gold in Placer County, most of those affected by hydraulic mining debris were obscure valley farmers. The debris from hydraulic mining, an industrial operation shooting jets of water against hillsides from cannon-like "monitors" to free gold, set off one of the most celebrated battles in the history of the West. Similar to if less celebrated than the conflicts between farmers and Los Angeles water interests chronicled in the movie "Chinatown" and the battles between immigrant farmers and cattle barons in the film "Heaven's Gate," this farmer-miner showdown has a 100-year history. "Gold vs. grain," one historian called the fight between hydraulic miners in the mountains and farmers in the valley. The battle was played out in newspapers, the state Legislature, courtrooms and the Gold Country itself. Foothill newspapers called on readers to end subscriptions to the Sacramento Record-Union, a bitter critic of hydraulic mining. The sheriff of Sacramento County traveled by train to mountain mining communities to serve notices on hydraulic mining officials for legal actions brought by valley interests against the mines. It is unthinkable in this era of environmental impact reports, lawsuits and government regulations, but a century ago miners could find a site, set in place the hydraulic monitors along with the canal water system needed to feed them and fire away at hillsides. No government agency regulated the rivers or the debris they carried from the mountain mines to the valley farms. As an enterprise, hydraulic mining represented the same shock to the Sierra foothills that the railroads brought. Frank Norris' classic novel "McTeague," chronicling California gold fields in the 1890s, included the author's account of the mining enterprise. "In some places east of the Mississippi nature is cozy, intimate, small and homelike, like a good-natured housewife," Norris wrote. "In Placer County, California, she is a vast, unconquered brute of the Pliocene epoch, savage, sullen, and magnificently indifferent to men. But there were men in those mountains, like lice on mammoths' hides, fighting them stubbornly, now with hydraulic "monitors,' now with drill and dynamite, boring into the vitals of them, or tearing away great yellow gravelly scars in the flanks of them, sucking their blood, extracting gold. On near approach," Norris wrote of hydraulic mining, "one heard the prolonged thunder of the stamp-mill, the crusher, the insatiable monster, gnashing the rocks to powder with its long iron teeth, vomiting them out again in a thin stream of wet gray mud. Its enormous maw, fed night and day with the car-boys loads, gorged itself with gravel and spat out the gold, grinding the rocks in between its jaws, glutted, as it were, with the very entrails of the earth, and growling over its endless mea l, like some savage animal, some legendary dragon, some fabulous beast, symbol of inordinate and monstrous gluttony." Farmers hated hydraulic mining for regularly sending river-borne debris onto farmland, but the state-of-the-art mining technology of its day showed dazzling profits. Between 1859 and 1878 more than $6 million in gold was taken from the Stewart Mine in Gold Run outside Colfax using the hydraulic jets known as monitors. In hydraulic mining's heyday, a single cleanup of the sluice box holding the washed-away dirt could net $50,000 to $100,000. Invented in 1853, hydraulic mining could do the work of a dozen miners employing picks and shovels. The cost of taking gold from a cubic yard of gravel fell to as little as a half cent. Hydraulic mining also helped rescue the ailing gold mining industry. A decade after its discovery in 1848, gold recovered through placer mining extracting the mineral from river beds with such simple tools as pans and picks was a dying enterprise. Once-booming mountain towns were slowing down. "Men stand at the door of their stores, look up and down the street, yawn, stretch themselves, and return to mourn over dull times," an 1861 edition of Mining and Scientific Press noted. Business owners who survived the slowdown sat with "chairs tilted back, their feet against he stovepipe, while they read the daily papers for the twentieth time. Times are dull everywhere." A California drought in the early 1860s helped bring the new technology of hydraulic mining to a near halt, but by the next decade the enterprise had heated up again. Investors from San Francisco, the East Coast and England financed the mining, and the vast network of ditches and canals needed to supply water. As hydraulic mining revived, so did the anger of farmers who said river-borne slickens were ruining their land. One anti-hydraulic mining organization argued that an end to the enterprise would mean "waters of our mountain streams would immediately regain their original purity." Meeting mixed success in efforts to win a ban on hydraulic mining from state lawmakers in Sacramento, farmers turned to the courts. In a landmark case, federal Judge L. B. Sawyer ruled against the mining operations in 1884, forbidding the discharge of debris into streams. The Sacramento Bee, an opponent of the mining method, soon proclaimed that hydraulic mining was a "dead dog in the pit." Mines did indeed shut down, although some smaller, less visible operations in remote areas continued the hunt for gold, hoping to evade notice. Although wounded, hydraulic mining still showed some economic life in following decades. Federal legislation passed in 1893 created the California Debris Commission and sought to fund debris dams to catch slickens and allow the mining enterprise to continue. It was more than 40 years before any debris dams were built, however. Both Lake Clementine outside Auburn and Lake Combie in Meadow Vista owe their beginning to the federal law, known as the Caminetti Act. The Depression of the 1930s brought a surge of interest in gold mining, including the hydraulic method, but the great hydraulic era was history. Sacramento Valley interests continued their battle against the enterprise. The Carmichael Irrigation District in the 1930s sued the Lost Camp Mining Co., arguing that the district was damaged by mud and silt from hydraulic mining on the north fork of the American River near Auburn. The water district won an order limiting hydraulic mining during the irrigation season. Legal battles waned and the mining effort itself faded, limited to a few maverick operators. An old hydraulic monitor can still be seen at the Gold Run Rest Stop outside Colfax on Interstate 80, one of the few relics of an industry that contributed to the economy and environmental decline of the foothills. New growth has covered up most of the scars left by hydraulic mining. Even before its formal end, however, the enterprise had evoked a kind of nostalgia for its glory days of the late 19th century. "I was born and reared within the sound of the roar of the hydraulic monitor and giant," James D. Stewart, a prominent Gold Run miner, remarked in 1928. "My schooling and living have been wrested from the gravels of the hills I have always loved."
Sacramento Bee, 6-21-1994
Auburn Courthouse Project Breathes Life into Placer’s Past
Placer County museum curators are dusting off and repackaging some local history, hoping to capture the public's imagination at a new facility in the old Auburn courthouse. The museum, on the ground floor of the picturesque Placer County Courthouse on Maple Street, will open July 4 as the building is feted during a 100th birthday party. Meanwhile, dust is flying in a part of the building that once served as a dark and damp men's prison. A combination of contractors, volunteers and current county jail inmates is hurrying to get the 2,200-square-foot main display area ready in time for the scheduled 1:15 p.m. opening on Independence Day, said David A. Tucker, the museum director. The project has three parts, all under construction at once: (1) The main gallery, focusing on American Indians and the transportation chapters of Placer County history, (2) An authentic re-creation of the office occupied in 1915 by Sheriff Elmer Gum. (3) Five large display cases housing rotating exhibits. "We hope to give the public a real sense of history," said Tucker, seated in his office but unable to relax because of frequent interruptions and the noise of hammers and saws nearby. "Everything is so transitory today. We're dealing with three-dimensional history here, far beyond the history books." Once the sawdust is swept away and the museum is open on a regular 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday schedule, Tucker hopes to open up the pages of Placer County history to the region's schoolchildren. The county museum staff will prepare a teachers' guide to the museum that will help pupils understand and interpret local history. There was a ready stock of artifacts for the museum, according to Tucker. An example: He was able to obtain almost every item of furniture from Elmer Gum's office, down to the confiscated guns the sheriff kept in a display case. The county's transportation history highlights include a little-known first for the entire state, Tucker noted. The state's first railroad was three-quarters of a mile of track built in 1851 to link the mining settlement of Virginiatown with a gold-rich creek called Auburn Ravine. The first transcontinental railroad also snaked through the county and Placer additionally played a part in the first transcontinental air-mail route, with lights spaced 20 miles apart across the Sierra Nevada to mark the aerial alignment of the route at night, Tucker said. The new, $220,000 facility is something of a museum within a museum. Construction on the 130-foot-tall, domed courthouse began in 1894. It was declared structurally unsafe, vacated and restored during a four-year, $6.8 million project that ended in 1990 when its courtrooms were returned to service. One of the upstairs courtrooms was returned to its turn of the century flavor, complete with original oak furniture and green burlap wall covering. If visitors to this sixth addition to the Placer County museum system aren't surprised to find a 120-year-old stagecoach on display, they may be intrigued by its history, Tucker said. The old "Yosemite" style, open-air coach carried the mail from Auburn to the mining camp of Michigan Bluff in the late 19th century. During a holdup on Foresthill Road, robbers stopped the stage by shooting the lead horse, Tucker said. The horse's roadside grave is marked with a monument.
Sacramento Bee, 7-17-1994
Influence of Japanese Americans Wanes as Loomis Grows
Decades ago, the Loomis area in Placer County was considered the fruit basket of the world. Hot summer days and cool nights produced some of the sweetest, tastiest peaches, plums, pears and nectarines in California. Old-timers recall that orchards - many of them operated by Japanese immigrants (Issei) and their children (Nisei) - could be seen everywhere. Today, the fruit trees are virtually gone as are most of the grown grandchildren of the immigrants (Sansei), who have moved out of the area, following different career paths. The large orchards have been broken up into horse ranches and llama farms. Loomis, once a rural, agricultural area, is now highly desirable for ex-urbanites - those leaving behind the problems of city life to come to the country and yet remain within an easy commute to Sacramento. Large, upscale homes increasingly dot the tops of rolling foothills. And as the residential population has increased, the influence of the Japanese American community in the region has lessened. "Placer County used to brag it was the fruit basket of the world," said Howard Nakae, owner of Twin Peaks Orchards and chairman of the board of directors of Blue Anchor Inc., a fruit exchange. "All this area used to be fruit orchard. In my younger days, no matter which way you looked, no matter which road you took, it was all orchards." There was a tremendous amount of fruit raised as late as 1960, said Nakae. "There were still about 22,000 acres of tree fruit in the county," he said. "Today we are looking at 1,000." “If you were gone since the 1930s and '40s, you wouldn't recognize Loomis," said Placer County Sheriff Donald Nunes. "I remember riding in the school bus. Large fruit trees were hanging over the road. High school kids were coming in getting jobs in the fruit sheds and fruit ranches. Only remnants of the orchards remain,” he said. “The '30s and '40s were the peak years of fruit production in Placer County,” said Nakae, whose father bought the family's land in Newcastle in 1912. Nakae said there were more than a dozen shipping houses in the different Placer County towns: three in Auburn, six in Newcastle, two in Penryn, three in Loomis, and one in Colfax. Today, there are only two, both in Loomis, he said. "Placer County fruit was a quality fruit," said Loomis native Ed Leak. "It was good-tasting. We didn't get the production they got in the Valley. The little mom-and-pop stores in the East knew they could sell it. When the markets (chains) took over, they ruined our fruit market." Production was easier in deep soil of the flat lands of the Central Valley where orchards increased. The rocky orchards of hilly Placer County declined. And Loomis landowners began cutting up their acreage into smaller residential-sized plots. With the growth of the Roseville-Rocklin corridor along Interstate 80, Loomis also became home to middle-class suburbanites. Rusty Uratsu, 71, looked out of his Loomis kitchen nook window and recalled that not many years ago "you could look around and, other than the hill and big trees, it was nothing but orchards. Nighttime especially, you look around and see nothing but lights. Now it's like a big city." Until two years ago, Uratsu, farmed the 40 acres that his immigrant parents purchased in 1938. "Early on, there were no other job opportunities. The only alternative was to farm so a lot of them (Japanese immigrants) used to share-crop," Uratsu said. "Then they were finally able to buy a place." Like other Nisei men, Uratsu began farming to help support his family. In those days, discrimination prevented Nisei college graduates from getting other jobs, he said. But the Sansei, including his own children, went to college and left Loomis for jobs with more potential in bigger cities. So the Nisei started selling their orchards for housing parcels. "People started selling out because they were getting old. They weren't making money," said Uratsu. "Developers came around with good offers for the land and you couldn't refuse it." Uratsu sold 35 of his 40 acres, and on the land where he once grew pears, plums, peaches and nectarines, new homes are popping up. The growing population has diminished by proportion the influence of the Japanese Americans in the Loomis area. The number of people of Japanese descent in Placer County in 1990 -- 1,262 -- is less than their population in 1940. During the same period, the population of the county has grown more than fivefold: from 28,108 to 172,796, according to U.S. census figures. Nowhere is that change seen more dramatically than in the pews of the First United Methodist Church. Founded in 1903 by a small group of Japanese immigrants, the congregation now is 90 percent non-Japanese, said the Rev. David L. Bennett. Only a handful of Sansei regularly attend the 570-member congregation, Bennett estimated, and the special parking spaces reserved for aging Issei are infrequently needed. Historically, church services have been conducted in Japanese for non-English speaking members. Now sermons in Japanese are given only once a month with four or five people in attendance, Bennett said. Until several months ago, Loomis native Florence Takahashi played the organ for the Issei service "ever since I got married - it will be 67 years ago." Her husband, Benji Takahashi, 96, is one of the few Issei who remain in Loomis. The couple ran a general store, the Loomis Mutual, for decades and recognize but do not begrudge the drastic changes in their town. "I am satisfied," Benji Takahashi said. "You have to live with the times." But the church does not want to forget its Japanese American roots, Bennett said. "As the Loomis basin becomes white upper middle class, we want to make sure our children remember the Japanese heritage of our congregation. I think it's very important," said Bennett. "Someday there will be no one who can read the Japanese writing on the walls. It was all those people out on that rock who got me here." That large granite stone dedicated in October 1983 - with names like Takagishi, Takuma, Kondo, Omachi, Nitta, Makimoto and Sasaki on its bronze plaque - memorializes the 40 Issei founders of the church. Nearby is the peaceful Memorial Japanese Garden. Its lichen-covered plaque was placed in November 1972. In 1913, the Issei contributed and began plans for the construction of the initial wooden chapel on 10 acres of land purchased for $800, according to the history of the church written by Uratsu. In later years, the congregation added classrooms, a larger sanctuary and a social hall. The facilities once were used by the Loomis Grammar School for a kindergarten class. The church served as the center of community activities until it was shut down from May 1942 to the end of World War II, a period when Japanese Americans were interned. The church, like the community, began to change in the mid-50s, Bennett said. Despite the decrease in Japanese American members, the church has attempted to remember its founders, Bennett said. As part of confirmation classes, children are taught about the church's history. On the first Saturday in March, the church still holds its annual "Oriental Food Bazaar," Bennett said. It's a tradition that was started in 1916 when a profit of $60 was made, according to Uratsu's history. Now some 5,000 meals are served, said Bennett. "People we virtually never see come to the sushi and teriyaki," he said.
Sacramento Bee, Sunday, 7-24-1994
Historical Sleuth Seeks Out Forgotten Past of Dutch Flat
Russell Towle is a historian, not a detective, but sometimes the work requires him to be more Sam Spade than scholar. Trying to track down copies of the Dutch Flat Enquirer, which published from 1860 to 1868 in the community 10 miles northeast of Colfax, Towle contacted the state library in Sacramento. Call the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Towle was told. The federal library said only four issues of the newspaper between the years 1866 and '68 existed and were located at the University of California, Berkeley. However, Towle, a Dutch Flat resident, read a local history that cited an 1863 article from the newspaper. Contacting the author, Towle learned that copies of the Enquirer had been stored at the offices of the Colfax Record newspaper. Still unable to locate copies of the Dutch Flat paper, Towle began calling past owners of the Colfax paper and finally reached Auburn resident and City Councilman Bud Pisarek. Pisarek had copies of the weekly Dutch Flat newspaper covering a year. "I had to do a lot of calling around before I finally lucked out," Towle recalled. His efforts covered several months and furthered his curiosity about the records of history. "I'm very intrigued by what gets saved and what gets lost," he said. Towle, 45, is preserving the record of Dutch Flat. He's completed his third book about the mountain community. "The Dutch Flat Chronicles," like his two earlier works, is a compilation of newspaper and other contemporary accounts. He published "Artifacts from the Dutch Flat Forum" in 1992 and "The Seven Ages of Dutch Flat" the following year. During the Gold Rush era of Placer County the community was central to the politics and economy of the Sierra foothills. Dutch Flat had a large Chinese population, and the newspapers Towle has compiled record the bias Asians faced during the era. "The anti-Chinese movement is not a pretty part of California history," he said. "The Chinese were easy targets." The Workingman's Party was vocally anti-Chinese. Editors of another Dutch Flat newspaper, the Forum, were members of the party and had political ambitions, Towle noted. He refers to the "relentless racism" in the pages of the newspaper. The racial prejudice was hardly unique to the mountain town. In many Placer County communities white residents periodically burned down homes of Chinese, Towle noted. Dutch Flat played a key role in the building of the Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860s. Theodore Judah, the railroad engineer who discovered the route through the Sierra, met with a Dutch Flat drugstore owner who showed Judah the way over the mountains that the Central Pacific eventually followed. The role of the two men in the railroad's beginning is often told, but Towle offers an intriguing new theory as to why Strong would know of a route over the mountains. Hydraulic mining, which was common in Dutch Flat, required large amounts of water for the hoses that blasted hillsides in the hunt for gold. Strong and others knew the route of ditches that brought water from the South Yuba River to Dutch Flat for hydraulic mining, Towle recounted, and understood a railroad could run through the same route. The water ditches ran along the Dutch Flat Divide. Towle noted the first major water route, the Placer County Canal, began operation in 1859, shortly after Strong directed Judah to the possible train route from Dutch Flat to Donner Pass. Towle has also uncovered Giant Gap, once a premier tourist attraction but largely lost to history. When railroads brought people to the West, the spectacular views from Giant Gap a "kind of climax of cliffs," as Towle calls the site near the north fork of the American River east of Dutch Flat was considered the highlight of the 3,000-mile rail trip. "It's one of the most beautiful places in California," Towle said. Giant Gap, said Towle, was more famous than the Cape Horn passage near Coflax, the stretch of railroad track that ran high along a mountainside and afforded a spectacular view of the American River. Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker, two of the famed Big Four credited as the force behind the railroad, commissioned a painting of Giant Gap. Towle's most recent book, "The Dutch Flat Chronicles," is published, as were the first two, by Giant Gap Press, which he started. Books can be ordered by calling 389-2872 or writing Box 141, Dutch Flat, CA 95714.
Sacramento Bee, 3-16-1997
Trio Pores Through Artifacts to Mine Historical Nuggets
They haven't had this much fun together since high school. Jerry Logan, his brother Don and childhood friend Wes Freeman meet in the basement of the Lincoln Library every Wednesday morning to catalog, dust and collect anything that pertains to the history of Lincoln. "It's been a lot of fun. We can really see what's going on downtown from here," Freeman said about their knee-level view of F Street from the library's basement. The three attended Lincoln Union High School. Freeman graduated in the class of 1940, Jerry Logan in '42 and Don Logan in '43. The trio works cheek by jowl in a 200-square-foot space in the library basement on F Street. "We don't complain because we're begging space from the library," Jerry Logan said. "One of the missions of Lincoln Arts was to start a museum," he said. "I said I would head this effort, since I had collected so many materials." Sixteen years ago, Jerry said, he started doing genealogy. The Logans are fifth-generation West Placer County residents. He began studying the area's history, enough to write series of articles for the weekly newspaper, the Lincoln News-Messenger, and several books on Lincoln history. "At first, I thought all the old Lincoln (residents) would be interested in it," Jerry Logan said, "but the people who really are interested are the new people." Jerry promptly recruited his brother and friend Freeman. "He just put his hand on my shoulder one day and said, 'You volunteer,’ '' Freeman said. "(Freeman) is more of an expert on Lincoln itself. He grew up here," Jerry said. "I was a country boy we lived 12 miles away who came into the big city and gawked at the lights." Jerry Logan lives on the family property near Godley Road outside of Lincoln, an area that was without electricity until the 1940s and where water was retrieved from a spring. "You went down the hill with a bucket," Jerry Logan recalled. Lincoln-area residents bring in old yearbooks, store ledgers and glassware to the Lincoln Archives. "People keep trying to make us into a museum," Jerry Logan said. Sponsored by Lincoln Arts and the Native Sons of the Golden West, the Lincoln Archives is the repository for more than 100 volumes of city of Lincoln records dating back to 1890; Lincoln High School's annual, El Eco; Native Sons of the Golden West records dating back to 1885 and Odd Fellows records from 1863; Lincoln Cannery records; and a framed copy of the original town map after its 1890 incorporation. "People come in for two reasons," Jerry Logan said. "They'll ask, 'Do you know anything about the house I'm thinking about buying, or that Grandma lived in, or genealogy?'' The Lincoln Archives "Historic Resources Survey" outlines the history of 235 historic Lincoln properties. The Lincoln archivists were able to tell one woman who wrote to them about her husband's family's connection to an area house of prostitution. "She said, 'Oh, good. I was hoping we'd find some skeletons in the closet,''" Jerry Logan said. Another longtime Lincoln-area resident "just started bringing things in" a few months before her death, Jerry Logan said. The old ledger for the store in Daneville, a town settled by Danes details every purchase made and by whom for five years. A Mr. Smith was a regular purchaser of whiskey at 25 cents a bottle. One day Smith bought spuds to go with the whiskey. Another day 40 cents worth of whiskey was entered across from his name. "He must have bought a big bottle that day," Freeman said. "It was just a little store out here about five miles, and you cannot imagine all the items they had. Like dynamite, for miners.” A riffle through one of the books compiled by Jerry Logan reveals that place names have been cleaned up somewhat for this century: Valley View was formerly known as Whiskey Diggins, and Pleasant Grove is the former Gouge Eye. Solving mysteries became a sideline for the archives threesome. For years, Logan said, "People wondered, Where the heck was the old jail?” It was only three or four years ago that they discovered, by checking old fire maps and records, that the jail was in the middle of what is now Foto's Market on Fifth Street. "The funny part of it is there's a cellar over there where the jail was,” Freeman said. Century-old newspapers were rescued from Lincoln News-Messenger offices where "they were stored next to the photo lab," Jerry Logan said. "The fumes were getting to them, and they were crumbling.” The Logans and Freeman bought acid-free boxes for the newspapers, their only operating expense to date, to protect the irreplaceable artifacts. The Lincoln News-Messenger has bound editions dating from 1928, and the state library has copies dating from 1913. But the Lincoln Archives has the oldest known existing issues of the paper that began in 1890, Jerry Logan noted. "They ought to be put on microfiche,” he said. The archives contain several diaries kept by pioneers coming westward across the plains which grab the lion's share of historical interest, but Lincoln history by no means stops there. A flip through the high school annuals shows photos of the Logan brothers and Freeman when they were teenagers. A photo of the Lincoln Union High School student body out on the school lawn includes the Logans. Standing next to Jerry is George Kakiuchi. "There's my best friend,” Jerry Logan recalled. Now a retired geology professor from the University of Washington, Kakiuchi was one of about eight Lincoln Union High School students who were "carted off one day" in 1942 with other citizens of Japanese ancestry, Logan said. Japanese-Americans were "not allowed to cross west of the railroad, so they had to stop coming to high school," Logan recalled. "I was 18, and my belief in the system and the world collapsed for a while," Jerry Logan said. "We had a principal, thank god, who was a fair-minded, unbigoted person." Richard A. Lee, principal of Lincoln Union High School "for about a thousand years,” Freeman said earlier had organized a high school graduation for the six or eight students of Japanese ancestry, Jerry Logan recalled. "The whole class was there, with the band," Jerry Logan said. An all-class Lincoln High School "jubilee-homecoming-90th birthday" celebration is scheduled for Aug. 23 in McBean Park, Jerry Logan said. The school was opened in 1907. Its first graduating class in 1911 consisted of seven students with some still-recognizable names: Fowler, Gladding, Grey, and Noyes. "We'll have the oldest living graduate there, which is my mother," Jerry Logan said. A roll-top desk from the old Bank of Lincoln, which operated from 1902 to 1933, is an eye-catching donation to the archives. "We thought there might be a secret compartment in a desk like this," Jerry Logan said. "We looked for it, thinking there might some fortune stashed in it. But no.” A library employee ushered in a computer whiz to repair an unused computer stashed in the library's basement. The woman asked Jerry Logan where the computer was. He told her he didn't know. "Archives people don't do computers," he said. "We don't do anything made after 1890.” The Lincoln Archives is open from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays in the basement of 540 F Street.
Roseville Press-Tribune, 4-2-1999
Folsom Road – The One-Time California Central Rail Bed Serves as Community’s Backbone
Folsom Road dates from the 1860s when it originally served as the right-of-way for the California Central Railroad. The railroad extended from the city of Folsom to Lincoln, crossing the Central Pacific tracks (later Southern Pacific and now Union Pacific) at “The Junction” near Atlantic Street and Folsom Road. After arrival of the Central Pacific to The Junction in 1864, the California Central was abandoned and the roadbed used for public traffic. Today, Folsom Road serves as the backbone of the Folsom Road Neighborhood Association, one of 30 such groups in Roseville. The neighborhood is bounded by Royer Park on the west, Douglas Boulevard on the north, Interstate 80 on the east, and Dry Creek on the south.
Janelle Stephenson grew up on Nevada Avenue in the 1940s. “There was an empty lot at Nevada and Douglas where we would dig forts and play war games,” she said. “I used to help dig the forts.” Stephenson said most of the families living along Nevada, South Lincoln, and Donner made their living with the railroad or Pacific Fruit Express. The more stately homes along Park Drive were occupied by professional and business people. “The area was filled with kids,” Stephenson said. “We would all do the same thing. We would all play in the yards. The only time you went down to Park Drive was to go to the park. You didn’t play in the yards along Park Drive.” Homes along Donner, Nevada, and South Lincoln consist of a variety of traditional architectural styles ranging from “California bungalow” to large two-story homes with shady front porches. Most predate World War II. A large percentage of the older homes have been remodeled and improved, according to Del Stephenson, president of the Folsom Road Neighborhood Association. Many, especially along South Lincoln Street, have a second rental home on the lot. “Homeowners along South Lincoln, Donner, and Nevada are getting younger,” Stephenson said. “As a lot of the older residents move on, younger residents are moving in. Many of the homes have been remodeled, painted, and fixed up over the past 10 years.
Park Drive is lined with some of Roseville’s more stately homes built in the 1920s and ‘30s with a combination of styles ranging from authentic Spanish with tile roofs, arched windows, and front patio, to brick with a steep roof typical of the French Normandy style. “Park Drive is unique,” said David Piches, a Roseville architect who grew up on South Lincoln. “You don’t find Victorian homes. You see more stucco and brick with Italian, Spanish, and French Normandy influences.” He said the home built by the late Dr. Leo Barusch has a very authentic Spanish style with a low-sloping tile roof and front patio. Another is large with a simple design and reminiscent of the 1940s. A third home has an Italian flavor with tile roof and two stories with the garage occupying the lower level and the second level the main floor. A lot of people would like to live on Park Drive, according to Del Stephenson. “They are a very choice group of older homes,” he said. “The residents really take good care of them. They are beautifully kept and well maintained. However, not many have been sold over the years.
A 1954 map of Roseville shows a portion of Folsom Road—from the bend in the street near today’s Estates Drive south to Douglas Boulevard—as the Roseville city limits. Beyond that was the Doyle Ranch, a 360-acre spread extending to what is today Santa Clara Drive. “The barn sat where Trader Joe’s is (in Roseville Square),” said Beny Radford, granddaughter of John Doyle, who founded the ranch in the 1860s. Radford’s father, William Doyle, farmed the property following the death of his father in 1910. “It was a long barn where Dad kept the harvester, old buggies, and some equipment,” Radford said. The map also shows the west boundary of the ranch extending due north from Douglas Boulevard to Dry Creek. Streets in the Maciel Tract north of Estates Drive—Zola, Evelyn, Maciel, Columbia, and Bernice—all dead-ended at the ranch property line which served as the city limits. The original house on the Doyle Ranch sat near Lincoln Estates Park on James Drive. William Doyle built a new family home on Folsom Road (site of Park Roseville Retirement Community) in 1913. The family home stood there until 1928 when it was [illegible] Road in Granite Bay, where it stands today. Interstate 80 bisected the ranch in 1959/60 with 150 acres on the west side and [illegible] on the east side. “When the state was negotiating for the right of way, Bill didn’t want to sell the property,” Paul Radford said. “They finally convinced him to sign his name to the deed, transferring the property to the state. He didn’t like to sign his name to anything. His word was his bond.” The Doyle family sold the 150 acres on the west side of the freeway in 1959 to Lincoln Development Co. for $2,000 an acre, according to Radford. He said Lincoln sold 20 acres to Draper Development Co. the same day for $460,000 to build Roseville Square at the corner of Folsom Road and Douglas Boulevard. The building of Roseville Square required the moving a pioneer cemetery that sat on a knoll at the corner of Douglas and Folsom Road. The late Ken and Curt Cochrane of Cochrane’s Chapel of the Roses moved the 64 graves in 1960 under special permission of the Placer County Superior Court to a site at Roseville Cemetery on Berry Street. The cemetery was described as a “boot hill” for the wagon trains that came through the area. All the markers had been destroyed or busted up by vandals. The Cochranes were able to find only one living relative of those who were buried in the cemetery, but because of her age, she was unable to help them with information about the cemetery. The Doyle Ranch property was annexed to the city about the time the area began to develop. The Doyle family gradually sold the property on the east side of the freeway with the final 140 acres sold in 1979 to RBJ Co. of Sacramento for development of the Lucky/Mervyn’s shopping complex.
Roseville’s first major park was created in 1917 from land sold to the city by the Royer family for $3,000. Royer Park was developed from sand dunes and streambed level to its current elevation by William Keehner, who went to work for the city in 1907 at age 26. Keehner was placed in charge of parks, streets, garbage, and sewers, driving his own team of horses for grading streets and pulling the water wagon. He and his father-in-law L. L. King donated the right of way to the city for Douglas Boulevard. Keehner died in 1977 at age 96.
For years, Royer Park served as Roseville’s outdoor gathering place. Tourists traveling Old Highway 40 through Roseville prior to building Interstate 80 used Royer Park as a rest stop between San Francisco and the Lake Tahoe-Reno area. A stone cook shack and restrooms near the picnic area and zoo were built by WPA workers under President Roosevelt’s administration in 1935. The zoo was closed last year.
Membership in a neighborhood association consists of property owners, renters, and businesses alike. Everyone who lives within the boundary is automatically a member. There are no dues or membership fees. “The neighborhood association concept has done more for bringing the people of Roseville together than anything I’ve seen before” Stephenson said. “It is very educational.” In addition to each neighborhood having their own association, the Roseville Coalition of Neighborhood Associations meets the third Thursday of the month at 7 PM at the Roseville Corporation Yard meeting room. Designated representatives from each of the neighborhood associations get together to discuss general information items. “Through neighborhood associations, people are learning how to get involved,” Stephenson said. “They are learning how to contact the police and finding out how police are cooperating with the neighborhoods. They are learning how to deal with the city and its various departments. Before, they didn’t have a clue. It’s all been very informative. The whole concept of the neighborhood police unit has been fantastic.” As for his own neighborhood: “The one thing I miss, is quite often when I would come home in the early 1980s, all the peacocks from Royer Park would be gathered at the end of South Lincoln,” Stephenson said. “Unfortunately they’re gone, I miss them.”
Sacramento Bee, 12-23-2001
Placer County Celebrates 150 Years of Rich History
Placer was born rich. The county's founding in 1851 followed three years of gold finds that had made men like Claude Chana, a French peasant, wealthy. His luck made Chana enough money to buy land along the Bear River, which was valued - in 19th century dollars - at as much as $100,000. The riches the mineral brought meant that Iowa Hill, today a tiny mountain community east of Colfax, had two newspapers, the News and the Patriot. Wealthy Placer County stretched from its border with Sacramento County in the valley to Lake Tahoe. Placer County covered 1,386 miles, its 900,000 acres representing more land than the state of Rhode Island. About 100 miles long, 30 miles wide and narrowing to eight miles in the middle, Placer County would later be compared with a "tube of toothpaste that has been squeezed in the middle." Placer in 2001 has been celebrating its 150 years of history. "The county's history has fascinated me," said Auburn resident Bill Wilson, who has written books about the American River and about Wendell Robie, who helped establish the Tevis Cup Ride, a 100-mile endurance ride for equestrians. "I don't know of another county in the state that has such a glorious and exciting past." In 1854, Placer reflected the concentration of people in the Gold Country in California - the county ranked eighth out of 40 in the state in population. The county is now 22nd in population among California's 58 counties. Gold, along with the Central Pacific Railroad built in the 1860s and water from the Sierra snowmelt, would help the county maintain its prominence in the state. Hydraulic mining that blasted away mountains with water to obtain gold provided Placer with a second wave of wealth that neighboring El Dorado County never enjoyed. But even the county that drew its name from a form of mining found the good times could not last forever. As the gold gave out, so did the status of the communities that grew with the mineral's discovery. Booming Iowa Hill became a bust. "This was once a very important town," William Brewer wrote in 1864 of the community in his book "Up and Down California 1860-64." At the time of his writing it was much smaller, he noted, "its placers being mostly worked out." Other economic opportunities in Placer County proved elusive. In 1868, lawmakers in Sacramento passed a measure limiting the site for a new state prison to either Rocklin or Folsom. Both communities had open land and granite to build the prison and provide inmates with work projects. But the Natomas Water and Mining Co. offered free land in Folsom for the prison and the Sacramento County community won the battle. Even infusions of capital from the East Coast into mining failed to turn economic conditions around for Placer. When a New York company bought the Rising Sun quartz mine near Colfax, the site - which had run 10 hours a day - went to around-the-clock operation. The new life didn't last. The mine closed, and 14 families left Colfax in a single day. A new economic powerhouse would appear in Placer - and one drawing upon the resources of the region. Fruit orchards boomed, their pears and plums sent to markets in the Midwest and East by the railroad and fed by water from the canals first built to serve hydraulic mining. J. Parker Whitney represented the new Placer County at the start of the 20th century. His Spring Valley Ranch, a triangle-shaped property covering 21,300 acres bordered by Rocklin, Lincoln and Roseville, was the showcase of Placer. The Oaks, a 20-room mansion, overlooked an estate that included tennis courts, a stable and servant quarters. A nine-hole golf course was ready for play. Whitney, who sent a son to Yale, was president of the County Board of Trade and boosted Placer agriculture. Not all growers were such a success or so sweet on the undertaking. Discontent over farming conditions helped spur battles with the railroad - it charged too much to ship fruit, critics said - and a range of forces including brokers who sold plums, peaches and other goods to markets in the Midwest and East. Robert La Follette, a reformer who ran for president as the Progressive Party's candidate in 1924 amid promises to aid embattled agriculture, carried Placer County. The ranching life now celebrated as a glorious chapter of Placer's past could be a hard road. Charles Teague, a leader in the state's citrus industry, wrote in "Fifty Years a Ranch" that thousands of inexperienced investors were induced "by tales of fabulous profits circulated by promoters to invest all their savings in some rundown grove or citrus promotion enterprise. These unfortunate victims thought they were buying properties to which they could retire in old age and spend the rest of their years, prosperous and secure," he added. Hard times came for more people in the 1930s when economic conditions spurred a new Gold Rush. Those without work because of the Depression came to the foothills figuring that digging for gold offered at least the promise of money. A report by the Federal Work Projects Administration warned against counting on mining as a cure for economic woes. "Placering for gold is a vanishing frontier enterprise from which it is now next to impossible to extract a living," the WPA concluded. Placer County survived the challenge of the 1930s and the world war that came at the start of the next decade. In 1945, crowds mobbed the Safeway in Auburn after the manager announced on a December day that butter, mayonnaise, candy, bacon and syrup for Christmas dinners would go on sale at 11 o'clock. The region carried on amid a boom in California that seemed concentrated along the coast. The millions coming to the state in the 1950s and 1960s found Los Angeles and the Bay Area rich in jobs and housing. Placer was fruit stands along dirt roads and a justice court in Foresthill where the librarian also served as judge and would interrupt hearings to reach over and stamp a book being checked out by a library patron. The 1970s started with another economic blow. DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn - on land that today is home to many county government offices - closed in 1972, resulting in the loss of a major employer. Construction of the Auburn Dam, seen as a financial boost for the region, stopped in 1975 when an earthquake in Oroville raised concerns about the safety of the structure during a quake. An environmental review of the dam had referred to the region as "an economically depressed area." No one is calling Placer that today. Benefiting from its status as a high-tech home to such industry giants as NEC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp., the county is regularly among the fastest growing in California. South Placer, in particular, booms with continued business and residential growth, fueled in part by new arrivals from the Bay Area who think that a better life awaits them in the suburbs of Sacramento. The county's current identity as an upscale home for high-tech workers and commuters to the capital could be replaced by a new role. Placer County has gone from Gold Country, to the county where fruit grew, to its modern identity. "You never know what the next step is going to be," said Kari Samson, library liaison to the county panel formed to mark Placer's 150 years of history. Clearly, the promise of Placer, which lured newcomers to the county in the middle of the 19th century, continues. Jim Williams, taking office as county supervisor in 1997, referred to Placer's golden past and suggested it held a lesson as the 21st century loomed. "It's important for all of us to remember the true heroes of that era were not the ones who came here looking to get rich quick but those who stayed to build a community and a lasting heritage for all of us," he said.
Sacramento Bee, Saturday, 2-5-2000
Living in Lincoln – Growth Brings Huge Changes to Small Town
At first glance, the tiny Placer County town of Lincoln looks like it hasn't changed much over time: the 125-year-old Gladding, McBean terra cotta plant still dominates the view downtown, where worn 19th century buildings line the streets. But a second look reveals a city on the brink of profound transformation. On Lincoln's southern edge, hundreds of stucco houses with tile roofs now peek out from the rolling hills. They belong to the affluent residents of Sun City Lincoln Hills, a new Del Webb retirement community that already has 600 residents and, within a few years, will likely house 10,000. The Sun City buyers are the first wave in a deluge of 43,450 new residents expected to settle in Lincoln -- population 8,700 -- by 2022. Everywhere, evidence of the old Lincoln and the future Lincoln stands in sharp contrast. Artesyn Solutions, a company that repairs computers for Hewlett-Packard and Apple Computers, has replaced Gladding, McBean as the town's leading employer. Downtown, the 135-year-old International Order of Odd Fellows meeting hall is being renovated into a microbrewery and steakhouse by Loomis developers David Rosenaur and Karen Fox. The pending change is also evident in the traffic that now backs up in downtown Lincoln on Highway 65, which connects the town with the booming Placer County cities of Roseville and Rocklin to the south and Marysville and Yuba City to the north. The highway is being widened to four lanes and new overpasses are under construction all along the five-minute route from Roseville to Lincoln. "I don't think I can even grasp all the changes that are going to happen," said David Deppner, 24, the local chamber of commerce president. The youthful Deppner, with his long blond ponytail and pierced tongue, has a foot in both worlds. The self-described computer nerd left Lincoln after high school because he felt there was no place for him. But a short time later he returned and went into business providing Internet access and Web page design services. His firm, Psyberware, now has 1,300 Internet customers, many of them in Lincoln. "It has been changing steadily," Deppner said of his hometown. "My impression of it when I was younger was that it was sort of a hick town. I wanted to get out of it and go somewhere." Unlike the town of Loomis, just over a ridge in the Sierra foothills, the city of Lincoln has aggressively pursued growth. At one point in the dark economic days of the early 1990s recession, city leaders were so eager for new jobs they briefly considered housing a state prison. Over the past decade, the city annexed enough land to triple its size. City Manager Bill Malinen claims credit for bringing developers Rosenaur and Fox to town. After Loomis voters rejected an initiative that would have helped the pair develop land they own there, Malinen called and suggested they check out more business-friendly Lincoln instead. Fox and Rosenaur decided to open a Beermann's Beerwerks and steak house in the old Odd Fellows hall. Malinen said Lincoln residents think growth will bring more restaurants and badly needed services. Already, plans are in the works for a second grocery store, a Safeway near Sun City. "There's nowhere to buy a pair of socks in this town," Malinen said. Malinen has big plans for Lincoln. He lights up when he talks about his latest idea, for the city to go into business providing electric service to the burgeoning areas of town. He says the city could make at least $5 million a year in profit for the general fund by running its own utility. "You could pay for police and fire and parks and recreation and the library. . . . That equals quality of life." But some residents are skeptical of the city's hopes. They fear that rapid growth will bring a wrenching end to their small-town way of life. "It's unfortunate that the planners look at what's happened in Roseville as a mecca instead of a metastasizing cancer," said Al Fleming, a retired teacher whose family has lived in Lincoln for three generations. Fleming said he isn't anti-growth, but thinks expansion should occur more slowly. "I just don't think you can have a 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent growth rate and call that reasonable growth," Fleming said. "We do not have to be Roseville the day after tomorrow. The people of Lincoln can choose." Tom and Suzanne Tastad also lamented the town's changing ambience. They moved from east Sacramento to rural Placer County about seven years ago to get away from big-city hassles. They opened Lincoln's first espresso cafe, the Morning Glory, and introduced live music on Friday and Saturday nights. "It was a very sleepy town in the beginning," Suzanne Tastad said. "Now you constantly see new people, professional people. The traffic is tremendous." Historically, Lincoln has been a blue collar town. Life revolved around Gladding, McBean, where workers made the decorative terra cotta designs that adorned buildings in San Francisco, Sacramento and other cities, as well as the more mundane sewer pipes that are the company's bread and butter. The plant employs 218 people today, but had 750 workers in its heyday after World War II. Over the years, the town's modest homes have provided an affordable alternative to Roseville. But Lincoln's humble ambience seems bound to change. The new residents of Sun City are rich by local standards. About half of the 600 people who have moved in so far have come from the Bay Area, where stratospheric real estate prices turned their houses into gold mines. When they come to Lincoln, they often have enough money to pay cash for luxurious houses that sit on the golf course and offer stunning views of the rolling foothills. Tuck and Sally Halsey, both 64, paid $100,000 for their Saratoga house 22 years ago. They sold it for more than $1 million and moved to Sun City, where they bought a 2,600-square-foot house for about $500,000. "This is a central location," Sally Halsey said. "We love the ocean. We love the mountains, and it's just two hours to any of these places." Of Lincoln, she said, "It's charming and it's like going back in time." She does, however, miss the little boutiques of upscale Los Gatos and the organic produce she could easily find in the Bay Area. She eagerly awaits the opening of Nordstrom, now under construction off Highway 65 in Roseville. Sara Gibbs, 60, who moved to Sun City from San Jose, said she thinks Lincoln will eventually be "something like Los Gatos," with its "trendy shops." She called the new Beermann's brewery "a wonderful start." It remains to be seen whether the newcomers will blend into Lincoln, ignore it and stick to Sun City, or overwhelm it. Officials for Del Webb, which is building Sun City, say their residents are keenly interested in volunteering. Gibbs, for example, is already serving on a committee that plans to start a farmer's market in Lincoln. Lincoln's small size "makes you feel that maybe there's a place for you to make a difference," Gibbs said. "In a city as big as San Jose, you can just get lost." The change that is about to come isn't lost on long-time Lincoln residents. Deppner, the chamber president, said he's "generally pro-growth." Yet he wonders whether the Lincoln he grew up in will be transformed beyond recognition. "I really like the traditions you get in a small town," Deppner said. "There's a big challenge to both grow and maintain community at the same time."
Sacramento Bee, 6-2-2002
Church's 150-Year History Tells Tale of Auburn
The story of Auburn's Pioneer Church, which turns 150 years old this week, is more than the story of a building. It's the story of Auburn, indeed, of the West. The venerable United Methodist church is the oldest church in continual use in Placer County. So basically, Pioneer's celebration is the first of the 150th birthday parties for churches in the area. And this church's recent history has as much to teach us as its beginning in the rough-and-tumble days of dry diggings and grubstakes. But first things first. John Riggs Crandall, a stalwart Methodist originally from Massachusetts, settled in Auburn in 1850. He soon was joined by his wife, Harriet, who brought a pump organ with her around Cape Horn. It was clear to them that Auburn needed to provide more for the miners than just creature comforts. So they contacted the presiding elder of the California District, Isaac Owen, to supply them with a preacher. The Rev. James Hunter arrived June 6, 1852, to serve Auburn and Ophir. (A full history of the church is on its Web site, www.pioneerumc.org. It was written by Matt Swain and former pastor Jeff Mohr.) The Rev. David Leeper Moss, the church's pastor since July 2000, is enthused about the special events and activities scheduled around this anniversary. Commemorative T-shirts and polo shirts are being printed. An old-time camp meeting was held on the front lawn April 21, reflecting the fact that some of the church's early meetings took place under the trees. The congregation also sometimes met in rooms over taverns or in the Placer County Courthouse. Saturday, the church presented a concert, "The Melody Hour," as part of the celebration. This was done in honor of a series of Sunday evening concerts by that name held in 1947 for the community debut of the new "Mother's Memorial Organ." One of the special guest artists Saturday was violinist Sue Dings, who also serves as Pioneer's choir director. This morning, visiting pastor Ken Sowerby from Leyland-Preston, England, is delivering the sermon. Sowerby, who does extensive prison ministry in England, once came to Auburn with his wife, Margaret, and three children as a summer exchange pastor. Next Sunday, a special commemorative worship service and open house will be held at 10 a.m. District Superintendent Suk-Chong Yu of Reno will be on hand, as well as former pastors Sarge Wright and Jerry Fox, who went to Otley, England, in the Sowerby exchange. A time capsule will be buried, followed by a celebration, hors d'oeuvres and a catered buffet luncheon. The luncheon will be held in the fellowship hall, which just got its first fresh coat of paint in 43 years. A number of citations and proclamations will be presented to the church by visiting dignitaries or their representatives, including Auburn Mayor Jodie Hale, Placer County Supervisor Harriet White, state Sen. Rico Oller, U.S. Rep. John Doolittle, Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Gov. Gray Davis. A certificate from the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History will be presented by the Rev. Jerry Summers. On June 22, the church's "Family Night Out" will feature music, a carnival, cakewalk, history exhibits, church open house and tours. All of the emphasis is not just on history. The future also will be highlighted, with special task groups to envision and chart the course. United Methodist Bishop Beverly J. Shamana will come to Pioneer on July 28 and share her vision for the church's next 150 years. That kind of vision is what brought Pioneer Church to this point. One of the trademarks of the United Methodist Church is to try to maintain the "downtown churches," which often are historic structures in the original urban fabric of western communities. That's why the Auburn Methodists are still one block from the historic courthouse, instead of opting to move out to Bell Road or down to Granite Bay to compete head-to-head with the larger nondenominational churches. The Pioneer members considered moving. Instead, they decided to do two things: The first was to sponsor a new church in the Lake of the Pines area. That offspring, Sierra Pines UMC, is thriving. The second was to add to and refurbish their existing structure. Not an easy task. Building committee member Keith Mockford explained, "It was originally built by a ship builder. It was put together like a ship. The way it was wired, and the way it had been added onto, it was basically an accident waiting to happen." Debate ensued over whether the building should be remodeled or restored. "To what?" asked Mockford. "If you want it like it was in 1858, we'd have to take down the bell tower." The symbolic tower, added in 1904, is what gives the building its character and its most recognizable structural feature. In the end, the tower was about all that was kept, along with a bit of facade and the stunning memorial stained glass window dedicated to the Crandalls in 1908. The design called for turning the orientation 90 degrees, and increasing the seating capacity by 50 percent. Committee chairman Barry Scott-Walton got about 90 percent consensus from the congregation, with a few purists holding out for restoration or preservation. Mockford said the city and its historic board were very cooperative. Newcastle craftsman David Longthorne restored the stained glass while the rest of the building was under construction. Contractor George Twardus got the job done for just under $1 million, and everyone now seems happy with the result. Wright says the work of the long-range committee, the historical and demographic research and the building project "are really indicative of the church's spirit." He calls the refurbished building "one of the most beautiful church buildings in the Mother Lode." There's still plenty of work for the church to do. But for now, it's time to party. Happy birthday, Pioneer!
Sacramento Bee, Thursday, 11-7-2002
Museum Making History in Rocklin
Why is Rocklin called Rocklin? No one really seems to know, but at least now there is a perfect setting to talk about it. At the new Rocklin History Museum, directors fell into a recent discussion of the city's name after receiving a letter asking about some commonly heard notions. A definitive answer on whether Rocklin is derived from the area's granite-quarrying past or is the last name of someone who helped bring the railroad to town eluded them, but the museum holds plenty of other answers about the fast-growing city's past. The museum opened in June in the old Fletcher house, a turn-of-the-century residence on Rocklin Road that the city leased to the Rocklin Historical Society. "The main driving force was we needed someplace to preserve the history of Rocklin," said museum committee co-chairman Gene Johnson. The historical society organized in 1989 after representatives of several longtime Rocklin families dreamed up the idea of a museum. It now has a renovated building with 12 major exhibits, including a wall-sized "macrographic" on granite quarrying and artifacts from the Nisenan tribespeople, a subgroup of the Maidu. It also has information about the man who used to live in the building - Dr. Henry Fletcher, who was the district surgeon for Southern Pacific Railroad. "It was his office, too," Johnson said. "We raised the ceilings back to the original 11-foot height. It was quite a task." Old photographs are a museum specialty. "A man walks in and says, 'My dad lived here in the 1880s - do you have a picture?' " said volunteer Jean Day. "We had it. ... To have a picture he needed and wanted is wonderful." A computer system donated by Hewlett-Packard lets the museum scan images and store them electronically, protecting them from decay. Museum officials are looking for volunteers to operate the photo-archiving system. And it's also hunting for two small specimens of Maidu basketry and medical-related artifacts from 1905 to 1910, Johnson said. "We plan to have one room devoted to Dr. Fletcher," he said. Jerry Rouillard, director of the Placer County Department of Museums, said his staff has offered advice to the fledgling museum. "Particularly in Rocklin's case, where a lot of change is happening, a community needs to know what makes it a community, what gives it value as opposed to other foothills towns," Rouillard said. "Unless you have a record of what the community character is, you lose that." It's a good bet a lot of residents wonder whether the city's granite-quarrying heyday in the 1800s helped give Rocklin its name. "Some say it's rock and land," said Gary Day, co-chairman of the museum committee. "But rock-lin is Gaelic for rock pool." Rock pool is a good description of a water-filled granite quarry, said Johnson. But immigrants from Finland, not the Gaelic-speaking British Isles, are thought of as Rocklin's founders, as seemingly is evidenced by the Finnish Temperance Hall near the center of town. "The Finns didn't come in force until the 1880s," Day said. "Before 1870, nobody knows." Said Johnson, "I think the Irish." Now, dispute also exists on whether the rock in Rocklin is anything more than coincidence. Museum directors are exploring a theory the town name comes from a man named Rocklin who was a prominent railroad figure, an idea suggested by a recent letter to the museum's Web site. "When I was a kid in high school, my grandfather Michael Ellis Rocklin told me his grandfather had a distant relative who was involved somehow in the building of railroads," wrote Stan Rocklin of Fairfax, VA. "Grandpa's father, Elias Rocklin, told him that the town was given his name. Now, grandpa might have been correct, might have been misinformed, or might have been conjecturing himself. I have no way to know." The idea of Rocklin as a surname hadn't occurred to the directors. "But if you look on Social Security death records, Rocklin is a common surname," Day said. As compiled by the museum, the first written record of the city's name appeared on an 1864 railroad time card, Johnson said. The transcontinental railroad's Sacramento-to-Newcastle section was laid in 1863-64. Officials connected with the railroad frequently gave their names to supply station sites along the line, Johnson said. Day said it's possible Rocklin, which was a supply-station site, is linked to the railroad. "Then, with the guy's memory fading in the town, people might have started picking up on the connection between the name and granite," Day said.
Sacramento Bee, 5-12-2003
Pottery Still Fires Up Lincoln
In old Lincoln, at the foot of the foothills, the Gladding, McBean factory whistle set the rhythm for daily life. At 5 a.m. it rousted workers out of their beds. At 11, it sent them home for lunch. And, at 5 p.m. it marked the end of another day at "the pottery. I'd hear that 5 a.m. whistle when I was a kid, and I knew that all over town, men were getting up, drinking their coffee, then walking to the pottery to start work," recalled Bill Wyatt, who was born in Lincoln in 1919. "I'd snuggle down in bed, glad I could sleep another hour. In those days, we pretty much lived by the whistle, womb to tomb." After 128 years, the whistle still blows at Gladding, McBean, which each spring opens its time-worn doors to the outside world for the Feats of Clay open house. Laborers still pound clay into plaster molds with their bare fists, the kilns still glimmer orange-hot, sculptors still fashion delicate rosettes and glowering gargoyles out of earth and water. And the 19th-century factory, with its miles of clay sewer pipe and acres of terra-cotta ornaments, still defines Lincoln, though the day is gone when every boy in town figured he'd put in a stint at the pottery. "We are a clay town and proud of it," said Steve Art, the city's economic development specialist. "Gladding, McBean put Lincoln on the map." A layer of clay put Gladding, McBean in Lincoln. The city's clay deposit is uniquely fine-grained, consistent and abundant, composed of weathered granite that washed down to the Sacramento Valley from the mountains. It was first discovered by a road builder in 1874. Charles Gladding of Chicago read about the discovery during a visit to San Francisco. He tested the Lincoln clay, verified its virtues, and rounded up two partners - fellow Chicagoans Peter McGill McBean and George Chambers. With an initial investment of $12,000, Gladding, McBean & Co. was born in Lincoln on May 12, 1875. Just three months later, the factory's first 10-ton load of salt-glazed sewer pipe was shipped to San Francisco. The massive kilns of Gladding, McBean have been aglow ever since, with production eventually branching out to include terra-cotta building trim, roof tiles, bricks, garden pottery, even dinnerware. Twenty-seven years ago, the company was purchased by Pacific Coast Building Products, the giant building supply firm founded by Fred Anderson, the late Sacramento business magnate. Today, Gladding, McBean is one of only three companies nationally that still makes terra-cotta decorations for buildings. Ornate pediments and keystones from Lincoln grace historic structures from Staten Island to Sacramento. "But it's the 'after-dinnerware' - the sewer pipe - that was and still is the moneymaker of the business," said Lincoln's mayor, Primo Santini III, rolling out an old family joke. His father and uncles were all on the Gladding payroll over the years. Santini, 50, worked at the pottery himself for two summers while he attended Stanford University. The work was hard and repetitive, he said, but paid well for a college kid. It also gave him an appreciation for manual labor - and the motivation to do something else with his life. "I love factory towns, and that's exactly what Lincoln is," said Santini, an insurance agent. "Gladding, McBean meant, quite frankly, that Lincoln survived when a lot of other places dried up and died. It's still a viable employer. And I like the fact that the factory is right in the heart of town. I don't see it as an eyesore at all." The pottery, planted solidly on the north end of Lincoln's main drag, hulks over the modest downtown like a massive and gritty time machine. Fueled by sweat, pride and a prodigious amount of natural gas, the plant employs 240 people, making it the city's second-biggest employer after Selectron Global Services, a computer repair company. At times, the pottery's payroll topped 700. Townspeople say that decent wages and good benefits made the plant a likely place for a young man to put in a summer or two. Or a lifetime. "So many guys went there right out of school that we jokingly called it McBean College," recalled Nick Pasillas, who worked at the pottery for four years after he got out of the Army in 1946. "It was hard, hot work, especially in the summertime. But it was a job, I got a weekly paycheck, I fed my family." Bill Wyatt began rising to the morning whistle in 1937, the summer he graduated from high school. He went to work in the payroll department and - except for military service during World War II - remained until his retirement in 1984. Then he stayed around part time for another decade as the plant historian, poring over the pottery's meticulous records and thousands of photographs, since deposited with the California State Library. "Gladding, McBean threw nothing away," Wyatt said. "They had every invoice since 1875. I could tell you who got a turkey for Christmas in 1888." For half a century, Bill and Doris Wyatt have lived in a small white house a mile from the factory, just across the road from the clay pits. Like much of Lincoln, their place shows the pottery's influence. The garage is roofed in clay tile; the shutters are painted terra-cotta red. Both of Wyatt's grandfathers made careers at Gladding, McBean, the first one starting in 1884. "Most everybody in town worked at the pottery at one time or another," Wyatt said. "Over the years, waves of immigrants - first Greeks, then Italians, Portuguese, now Mexicans - came to work in the plant and stayed in Lincoln, thank God for 'em. There weren't any women working there though, except in the office. And, of course, during the war." Today, the pottery's personnel roster includes a supervisor named Jimmy Wyatt. "Jimmy's my third cousin and the fifth-generation Wyatt to work at Gladding, McBean," said Wyatt, his old eyes kindling with pride. Like his cousin Bill, Jimmy Wyatt started at the pottery right out of high school. Now 37, married with a young daughter, he says he enjoys life in his hometown. "I'm pretty satisfied - I have a house and vehicles - it's a good job," he said. "As long as construction is good, we're in business. And Lincoln is a great place to live. It still has a small-town atmosphere." Maybe so, but Lincoln's getting bigger fast. The Placer County town is experiencing blinding growth on its outskirts, where new development pushed the city's population over 20,000 this year, an 83 percent increase since 2000. In 2001 and 2002, Lincoln was the fastest-growing city in California - this year it slipped to second place. That growth, and the burgeoning of the rest of Placer County, gives Gladding, McBean a robust future. New development demands new sewers, and the clay pipe produced in Lincoln is exceptionally durable and strong, according to plant manager Bill Padavona. "Clay is good for this use," he said. "It makes sense, if you think about it. We take it out of the ground, fire it, and put it back in the ground." Sewer pipe accounts for about 60 percent of the pottery's business, with terra-cotta roof and floor tiles - plus the odd gargoyle, urn and eagle - making up the balance. During an impromptu tour of the plant, Padavona stopped outside the 420-foot-long tunnel kiln and removed a loose brick from one of the kiln's outer walls. Through the hole, one could view the kiln's massive innards, where hundreds of red-hot pipes inched past on rail cars, a trip that takes more than two days. With the orange glow of the kiln and the roar of the gas burners, the ambience was pure inferno. A quarter-mile away, in a massive room that smells of damp earth, the atmosphere was cool and quiet. A work crew slapped clay into plaster molds, kneading and pressing to remove any bubbles. Nearby, artists sculpted clay models, copying actual ornaments from historic buildings - century-old libraries, schools, theaters - now under restoration. If sewer pipe is the plant's bread and butter, these graceful ornaments are the icing on the cake. Sculptor Jean Cross worked in a corner of the airy studio, perfecting a replacement rosette for Curtis High School on Staten Island in New York. Cross, 54, was the only woman on the floor. "This is my dream job," she said. "For 30 years I taught high school art. Now, I do what I want to do - play in the clay." She paused at her work and looked around the dusty old building - the worn floorboards, the tall windows, the shrouded clay. "You talk about ambience," Cross said. "You feel the memory of generations of artists and workers here. And now I'm part of it." Lincoln's pottery is a relic that hasn't changed much over the years, but the town's young people have. The modern teenager doesn't envision a future at Gladding, McBean, said Kris Wyatt, a counselor at Lincoln High School (and, yes, another relative of Bill Wyatt). "There's no longer the tradition of the boys following in their fathers' footsteps," said the 30-year veteran at the school. "It's sad. Nobody speaks of it as a place to make a career anymore - I can't remember the last time I heard a boy say he was going to work at the pottery. You used to hear it all the time." She has her own theory on why this may be so: "The pottery is hard work - that's what it's all about. Hard work. Kids today don't want to do manual labor anymore. I don't want to say that's good or bad. It's just the way it is." Yet Padavona says he has no trouble finding workers, and about 60 percent of them live in Lincoln. Most of the workers these days are Latino. "Even in the 'new' Lincoln, we never have to advertise for employees," he said. "We still have several generations working together. They know they can come to work here and be comfortable and secure and earn a decent wage. And take pride in what they do." He acknowledged, however, that the new Lincoln - with its thousands of affluent Sun City retirees - is a far cry from the little blue-collar town of the past. "We're in kind of a vulnerable position, so visible in town," he said. "We're not Hewlett-Packard; we're an old-style business. It's hard to blend in. You could put $10 million into this place and it would still look like a factory." That seems fine with the hundreds of visitors who tour the plant each spring during the annual Feats of Clay festival. On a rainy morning last week, most of those on the tour were Sun City residents, exclaiming over the age and magnitude of the place. And it's fine with Mayor Santini. "All the talk today in city planning is to build housing near jobs - it's called neo-urbanism," he said. "And then I look at Lincoln and the pottery. And I think: Back to the future." Santini can hear the factory whistle from his house. "I love it," he said. "I hope it's around for another hundred years."
Sacramento Bee, 4-21-2005
City Pays Tribute to Pioneers - Eight New Rocklin Parks are Named for Early-Day Residents
Rocklin's eight new parks will be named after 10 pioneer and early-day families who were instrumental in the development of the city. Mayor Peter Hill and Councilman Ken Yorde formed a committee that studied, evaluated, and recommended the names. The plan won the City Council's backing Tuesday night. "The families had been a part of Rocklin's history and they all (contributed) differently," Hill said. The new neighborhood parks are: Bolton, Brigham-Hawes, Corral-Alva, Gayaldo, Pernu, Whitney, Wickman, and Willard. Six of the parks will be in the new Whitney Ranch development, which is being built between Stanford Ranch and the Lincoln city limits. A bronze plaque will be installed at each park with a short history of the family that is the park's namesake. Six of the families still have members living in Rocklin, Hill said. "I think it's wonderful that the city is honoring the older generation that did a lot for Rocklin when it was just a small, little city," said Candy Donnell, granddaughter of Adolph Pernu. Pernu was one of the most important quarry operators during Rocklin's quarry heyday. He was the spokesman and salesman for Rocklin granite in California and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In 1910, he built the building that is now Rocklin City Hall. Other families' relatives also were pleased. "I'm just so happy, I can't believe it," said Barbara Alva Corral, a longtime Rocklin resident and Rocklin Museum librarian. Her father was Telesforo Alva. The Corral and Alva families have been active in Rocklin since 1920. They came from Spain by way of Hawaii and bought land across from what is now Sierra College. Alva Corral remembers helping her father clear the land and pick strawberries when she was a child. Corral-Alva Neighborhood Park will be on the site of the original 1922 Corral family ranch house. Connie Gayaldo, widow of Hank Gayaldo, said she wishes her husband was alive to witness the naming of Gayaldo Neighborhood Park. "I'm really excited about it," she said. "I think it's perfect. He worked hard for Rocklin." Hank Gayaldo was a member of the City Council for 17 years and served as mayor. The Gayaldos were members of Spanish families who came to Rocklin after the turn of the century. They erected buildings and operated businesses on Pacific Street, including Gayaldo's White Spot Cafe for many years. Connie Gayaldo was active in Rocklin schools and the Chamber of Commerce. Whitney Community Park will honor after Joel Parker Whitney, a Rocklin pioneer and landowner who owned nearly 27,000 acres around what is now Rocklin and Lincoln. He was a farmer, hunter, and entrepreneur. Bolton Neighborhood Park recognizes James Bolton, a Rocklin pioneer who designed and laid out the original town site for Rocklin. Brigham-Hawes Neighborhood Park honors Charles Brigham and Elisha Hawes, who opened the first granite quarry in Rocklin in 1864. Willard Neighborhood Park honors members of the Willard family who have been Rocklin residents since 1886. Family members have included a Rocklin constable, a Placer County game warden and the first employee of city of Rocklin. Family members continue to volunteer in the community. Wickman Neighborhood Park recognizes brothers Anders Oscar Wickman and Victor Wickman, who were in the granite business. They grew up in Finland and later came to America. Anders Wickman was a granite quarry operator in Rocklin for 27 years. He also served on the Rocklin City Council for 22 years and was mayor for six years.
Roseville Press Tribune, 5-6-2006
The Big Move – Rail Yard Relocation 100 Years Ago Preceded Explosive Growth
When Roseville’s Ed Hammill and William Sawtell visited Southern California on a promotional business trip in March 1907, they took with them 5,000 handbills with the inscription, “Roseville, Placer County; Watch it grow.” And why shouldn’t the pair be confident? For the past year, the town had undergone such a population boom that it had literally run out of water, the result of what Roseville historian Leonard “Duke” Davis has termed “The Big Move.” This year the city is marking the 100th anniversary of the railroad’s investment in Roseville, when Southern Pacific shifted operations to the city from its longtime Rocklin site, paving the way for Roseville to become the most important in Placer County. It all started with a rumor in late 1905: Southern Pacific Railroad would not complete scheduled improvements at its Rocklin facilities. The news sparked a firestorm of interest in the county’s numerous newspapers. “THE ROUNDHOUSE,” the Placer Herald, then based in Auburn, blared at the top of its Dec. 11, 1905, issue. A headline underneath read, “Will the Railroad Take It Away From Rocklin, and if so, Where to?” Quoting “reliable sources,” the Placer County Republican, also based in Auburn, corroborated the story. “If the reports prove true,” the Dec. 21, 1905, article concluded, “it will be a serious blow to Rocklin.” Rocklin’s own newspaper, the Representative, was more blunt: “If a bomb loaded with dynamite had been exploded in Rocklin last Tuesday, it could not have created more excitement than the news did.” The next year, construction began in Roseville on what would become the largest railroad terminal in the West, changing the makeup of Placer County forever. The two-year move was part of a system-wide improvement program begun by H. H. Harriman, who presided over both the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific from 1901 to the time of his death in 1909, said Kyle Wyatt, Curator of the California State Railroad Museum. “Sacramento was running out of room because it had been built up around the railroad for the big classification yard they wanted,” Wyatt said. “And Rocklin didn’t have that kind of room for building the yard there.” While several other communities were listed as possibilities, Roseville, with its favorable location at intersection of the northbound and eastbound lines of Southern Pacific, it’s former name was Junction, won out. Until then, the town counted only about 250 inhabitants. But as construction started, hundreds of Southern Pacific railmen worked on the first roundhouse, pumping new life into the yet-unincorporated town. When completed in 1908 at an estimated cost of nearly $95,000, the roundhouse boasted 32 stalls, each one more than 87 feet deep. Construction on the huge Pacific Fruit Express ice plant in Roseville began that same year, boosting employment numbers further. The facility, jointly owned by SP and the Union Pacific railroad, built and iced “reefers” – refrigerated cars – and boasted 45,000 tons of ice storage by the 1920s, according to an article in the Southern Pacific Bulletin. A second roundhouse, providing 32 additional stalls, was completed in 1914; with it, no other facility in the West had so large a capacity. But even before the first roundhouse was completed, the city was seeing changes outside the confines of the rail yard. Many in Rocklin simply up and moved to the booming town … taking their homes with them. In 1908, the year the first roundhouse was completed, the number of residents in the city had ballooned to 2,000, according to Davis’ “From Trails to Rail,” a history of Roseville published in 1964. All those new Rosevillians needed services. Shops, sewer lines, water facilities, and more sprung up around the town, a phenomenon not lost on the local press, which carried updates on the town’s frenzied changes almost weekly. “Times good, people busy, and money plentiful,” reported the July 20, 1907, issue of the Herald. “Everything moves here … The real estate men are busy and do not have to run down customers.” The influx of railmen – called “boomers” – also led to another business uptick, as a number of “drinking emporiums” sprung up all over town, catering to the newly flush community. Twelve saloons were already operating in 1907, reported the Register. “Around the 19th of each month,” the paper wrote, “drunken men and intoxicated railroad employees have been common on the streets of Roseville.” Housing was also “at a critical state,” Davis said. “It was a tent city by the railroad tracks for a while. It was alleged even the storekeepers would rent out his place at night so a guy could sleep on the counter.” The Roseville facility continued to be a major economic presence throughout much of the 20th century. Economically, a period of decline beginning in the 1970s due to the competition from the trucking industry and other trends, was offset by a rise in high-tech industry. But the Roseville facility continued and was reborn in 1999 with nearly $150 million in improvements. Today, the J. R. Davis Yard handles 90 percent of rail traffic in Northern California, according to Union Pacific’s web site. “It’s still a major force in Roseville,” Davis said. “For a while, things looked pretty gloomy to some people. But the key was the location. Roseville at the junction, so I don’t think it will every go away.”
Sacramento Bee, Tuesday, 11-3-2009
Roseville Developer Polishing a Piece of History – Odd Fellows Hall, Built in 1878, Looks to Relive Glory Days
If the 12-inch-thick walls of the Odd Fellows building could talk, quite a yarn they'd tell -- complete with an R-rated chapter of historic Roseville. With the view from soaring second-story windows, the brick walls could boast of the city's founding, describe its growth as a rail hub, whisper about its slide into a red-light district for railroad workers and detail the years of neglect and decline. But with a construction team rehabbing the landmark building, new chapters are ahead. Developer Mike Rapport's vision is to turn the 1878 masterpiece into a 2010 work of art. "It's the oldest building in Roseville, and we are putting it back exactly the way it was," Rapport said. The two-story building on Pacific Street faces the Union Pacific train tracks that helped define Roseville's early days. Rapport owns Basic, a popular bar and pizza restaurant next door. He said he hopes to reopen the old building in June with a bar, restaurant, nightclub and meeting hall. It's the latest example of edifices built by fraternal organizations -- Masons, Odd Fellows, Elks and the like -- getting new lives as cities and private developers reinvest in downtowns. Fraternal organizations, once centers of power and influence, opened chapters as members followed the Gold Rush west. "It was like being a member of the Chamber of Commerce, or Rotary or Kiwanis," said Douglas Keister, a historian and author in Chico. Roseville's chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was formed in June 1872. Fraternal buildings often were built to accommodate businesses on the first floor, with private meeting space on the second floor, said William D. Moore, associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. With suburbanization and changing lifestyles, the role of fraternal organizations waned, Moore said. "Unfortunately, like all other fraternal organizations, membership is dropping," said Ray Link, California's Odd Fellows grand secretary. "In today's society there are more things for people to do." In 1928, the IOOF had 58,820 California members. That's now down to 5,000. The 11 members of the Roseville lodge meet less than two miles from the old headquarters. As members moved to the suburbs, Moore said, they didn't want to drive downtown for club functions. And "having to go up steep, narrow stairs became a barrier to participation." Rapport said he plans to restore the Roseville Odd Fellows building to the role it once had as a hub of activity. Steel beams now reinforce the brick walls. A new second floor stands where members once discussed charity work. "These are absolutely original," construction supervisor Bob Stofleth said, pointing to large steel window shutters. Rapport wants one improvement over the original design: access to the roof with its stunning view. "When I get the roof done, it's going to be amazing. You can see to the Sierra and you can see Sacramento," Rapport said, taking in the view from a second-story window. Phoebe Astill of the Roseville Historical Society is excited. As a local historian, she said she was happy to see Roseville's oldest commercial building coming back to life. As a fourth-generation member of the Odd Fellows organization and secretary of its women's auxiliary, she said she is "thrilled to death." Greg Van Dusen, chief executive officer of Placer Valley Tourism, had praise for what he said "isn't your typical suburban Roseville project. What they are doing out here is exciting," he said.
Sacramento Bee, 4-15-2010
The Way of Clay: A Brief History of Gladding, McBean
On May 1, 1875, the kilns of Gladding, McBean began a journey that now spans more than a century. Firing up in a large, cavernous building on the edge of Lincoln, the factory began producing vitrified sewer pipe to feed the voracious needs of the first California building boom. A chance discovery of premium clay deposits in Lincoln had led founders Charles Gladding, Peter McGill McBean, and George Chambers to invest a mere $12000 in the venture. It was a wise business decision, as the factory still creates and ships sewer pipe and more throughout California and far beyond. By the 1890s the factory had expanded its offerings to include fire brick, roof tile, enamel brick, and garden pottery, such as huge decorative urns, statuary, drinking and decorative fountains, bird baths, benches, and tables. As art deco became popular, the factory expanded its product line again, offering sensuous statuary in the genre. Its early pieces have become popular collector’s items, selling for large amounts at auction and in upscale antique stores. Dishware, which was also made at the factory for a few years, is also collectable. Architectural terra cotta came next, and it is these works of art that have made Gladding, McBean popular. Lincoln itself reveals the factory’s impact. Many plant workers’ homes display urns from the factory, and the ceramic fountain in Beermann Plaza, said to be built at the exact center of Lincoln, is a product of GMB. The fountain is such a part of Lincoln that, when the city sought a logo to use on its stationery, promotional items, and website, a stylized version of the fountain was chosen. Many buildings in town also carry the factory stamp including: the baseball stadium, the Carnegie Library, City Hall, and the McBean Park Pavilion. Outside Lincoln, examples of GMB’s work can be seen at: Stanford University in Palo Alto; the Mid-Continental Tower in Tulsa, OK; the Waikiki Beach Hotel in Hawaii; the Mitsubishi building in Tokyo; the Wrigley building in Chicago; the Opera House in San Francisco; and hundreds of other locations world-wide.Factory artists often are called upon to replicate portions of their handiwork following natural disasters or other types of damage. Gladding, McBean – or “the Pottery” as it is affectionately known by locals – has employed generations of residents. The original employees were Italian and German craftsmen who immigrated to this country to work in the factory. Many of their families still live in the area – some working at the same place their great-grandfathers did. As the world celebrated the new millennium, Gladding, McBean celebrated its own milestone, throwing a birthday bash in the park to mark its 125th anniversary. Hundreds of current and former workers gathered to reminisce. In 2001, artisans from the factory were honored as Master Craftsmen in a ceremony in Washington, DC. The factory has changed hands, expanded, and modernized. Fuel had changed from wood to cleaner-burning natural gas, but many of the old methods are still employed. Each spring, for the last 22 years, GMB has partnered with Lincoln Arts to put on Feats of Clary – a cutting edge ceramic exhibition which is held within the factory walls. The show became international in 2007. According to Claudia Renati, Lincoln Arts Executive Director, as many people take the tours for the historic significance of the factory, as come to enjoy the artwork displayed.
Sacramento Bee, Thursday, 1-7-2010
Former TB Sanatorium in Placer County Awash in Poignant History
Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King or some other master of the macabre must have planted the notion in my head: I walk into a cemetery and find my name and birth date on a gravestone. The date of death is there, but it doesn't matter. The plot is set. I even know the cemetery where this scenario takes place: an isolated and rarely visited graveyard some 2,000 feet up the Sierra foothills, just outside Colfax. It's on the grounds of what historically has been Weimar Joint Sanatorium, 450 acres of manzanita, pine, and oak whose central cluster of buildings is now Weimar Institute, a campus of Seventh-day Adventists studying religion and health. Early in the 20th century, numerous sanatoriums and cottages sprang up hereabouts to treat the tubercular. The prevailing view was that tuberculosis could best be treated with fresh mountain air, an invigorating diet and plenty of bed rest. Opened in 1919 by a consortium of Northern California counties, Weimar Joint Sanatorium became the biggest employer in Placer County before it closed in 1972, with up to 550 patients and a staff of 350 at its peak. Sixty years ago, I was one of them -- a patient, not an employee. I'd been diagnosed with tuberculosis and was taken to Weimar from our family home in Sonora, about 100 miles south. My thin, pale memories of my time at Weimar aren't to be trusted. I vaguely recall the ward's layout, with my bed near the far end. I remember a screen and projector being set up for movies. I often heard the whistles of trains starting or ending treks across the Sierra. My parents and family friends visited. The smell of institutional food lingers to this day. I don't remember, and haven't found in Placer County archives or in talks with public-health officials, a record of my admittance or discharge. I have few family records, none of which sheds light on the dates. I was there on Halloween 1949 when a noontime propane explosion and fire destroyed our home in Sonora. I remember the tossing of snowballs -- inside the ward, when windows were open, snow was scooped from the sills, and a party ensued. By that reckoning, I must have been at Weimar for several months. According to a newspaper article from that era, the average stay was eight months. A fifth of the patients died. My mother, a registered nurse, talked reverently in subsequent years of streptomycin, an early antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis. It had been introduced around the time of my stay and must have played a key role in my recovery. Beyond that, my parents had little to say of my hospitalization, and perhaps for that I never gave it much thought after I returned to Sonora. For decades, I'd pass the Weimar exit along Interstate 80 while heading to or from Lake Tahoe, quipping that I'd stop to have a look around if I wasn't afraid I'd find my name on a tombstone somewhere on the grounds. Not long ago, I was inspired to find out after reading Andrea Barrett's novel "The Air We Breathe," set in a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Adirondacks during World War I. One passage reads: "The cemetery is a mile north of our central buildings, in a clearing on the other side of the hill, hidden by a border of white pines, never shown to visitors and not mentioned in our rule book. We learn where it is from each other. When, during an afternoon walk, one person shows another the clearing for the first time, it usually signals a new stage in the relationship. After that, we think differently about how long we've been here and what time we might have left." Weimar's central buildings today include a college in the former children's ward where I was hospitalized, a vegan grocery store called Weimart, a scattering of dormitories, a vegan cafeteria and an inn where I stopped to pick up a trail map. The grounds include 10 miles of smoothly packed and generally gentle paths. We set off on the peripheral Frontier Trail, which after three miles would bring us to the cemetery. There are shorter and quicker routes, but I was enjoying the slanted sunshine and brisk air that the foothills can provide in fall and winter. Well-marked and wide, Frontier Trail took us across an old flume, past ponds with migrating or resident ducks, through groves of manzanita and toyon and across a sunny glade. We eschewed "Cardiac Bypass" for the steeper "Cardiac Hill" and were rewarded near the top of the ridge with a bench to recuperate, one of many along the paths. The hum of traffic on nearby Interstate 80 could be heard at times, but for the most part the trek was a quiet amble through stands of mossy oak trees and looming ponderosa pines. We met only two other people. Suddenly, we came around a bend and found ourselves in the cemetery, unmarked but for tidy and dark rows of stubby wooden grave markers amid the pine needles, oak leaves and acorns. It looked as if it could have been a Civil War burial ground hastily laid out soon after a battle. The 2-by-6-inch planks, originally painted white, had generally faded to bare wood. According to an old newspaper article, more than 1,400 people are buried at Weimar. I need not have fretted about finding my name on any of the markers. There are none. The only identification is a numbered medallion, possibly copper, possibly brass, often so tarnished the number is difficult to read. Some markers are missing the tags altogether, and some have been pulled from the ground or simply fallen over. Here and there, next to an old marker will stand a gleaming headstone of polished granite bearing a name and dates of birth and death, evidence that someone returned to formally salute a long-gone family member or friend. On another day, I stop by the administrative offices of Weimar. There, preserved in a vault, are four big leather-bound volumes titled "Record of Patients." At last, I sensed, I'd learn just when I'd been admitted -- and discharged, plump and rosy. Unfortunately, there originally were five volumes. The one missing covers the years 1946 to 1954, the era I was there. The vault also holds the mortuary records, the solemn reconciliation of the numbers on the medallions in the cemetery with the names of the persons under the stakes. I could have sat down and flipped through the books to see if any name was uncomfortably familiar. But by this time I'd concluded that I had best leave well enough alone.