Genealogy Trails California Genealogy Trails
Placer County, CA
County History
History
Timeline
Historic Landmarks
Photos
Articles
California of ’79 Pictured in News Clippings of Day
History of the Roseville Fire Department
Magnificent Scenery and an Unapproachable Climate – Lake Tahoe and the Summit (1874 Article about the Journey)
Meadow Vista Native Knows His History

Native Resources of Placer County Extolled in Paper
Old Days of Livery Stables in Roseville and All-Day Trip to Sacramento Recalled
Razing of Hotel Recalls Historic Role of Building

The Glorious Gold Rush Days Still Glow in Dutch Flat
History

Placer County was home to the peaceful Nisenan Native Americans for hundreds of years before the discovery of gold in 1848 brought hordes of miners from around the world. Only three years after the discovery of gold, the fast-growing county was formed from portions of Sutter and Yuba counties on April 25, 1851 with Auburn as the county seat. Placer County took its name from the Spanish word for sand or gravel deposits containing gold. Miners washed away the gravel, leaving the heavier gold, in a process known as "placer mining."

Gold mining was a major industry through the 1880s, but gradually the new residents turned to farming the fertile foothill soil, harvesting timber and working for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Auburn was settled when Claude Chana discovered gold in Auburn Ravine in May 1848 and later became a shipping and supply center for the surrounding gold camps. The cornerstone of Placer's beautiful and historic courthouse, which is clearly visible from Interstate 80 through Auburn, was laid on July 4, 1894. The building itself was renovated during the late 1980s and continues to serve the public today with courtrooms, a historic sheriff's office and the Placer County Museum. Roseville, once a small agricultural center, became a major railroad center and grew to the county's most populous city after Southern Pacific Railroad moved its railroad switching yards there in 1908.

Loomis and Newcastle began as mining towns, but soon became centers of a booming fruit-growing industry, supporting many local packing houses. Penryn was founded by a Welsh miner, Griffith Griffith, who turned from mining to establish a large granite quarry. Rocklin began as a railroad town and became home to a number of granite quarries. Rapidly growing Rocklin now vies with Roseville for the honor of being Placer's largest city. Lincoln and Sheridan continue to support ranching and farming. Lincoln also is the home of one of the county's oldest businesses, the Gladding McBean terra cotta clay manufacturing plant established in 1875.

Contributed by Kathie Kloss Marynik

 

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, Thursday, 6-10-1993. Submitted by Kathie Kloss Marynik]

 

THE GLORIOUS GOLD RUSH DAYS STILL GLOW IN DUTCH FLAT

Author: Arthur Ribbel, A longtime San Diego newspaperman, Ribbel is retired in Carlsbad.

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 Promotory 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.

[San Diego Union, Sunday, 8-18-1985. Submitted by Kathie Kloss Marynik.]


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.

[Placer Weekly Argus (Auburn), Saturday, 10-10-1874. Submitted by K. Marynik]

 

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 Enterprise, Friday, 1-4-1929. Submtted by Kathie Marynik.]

 

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, Friday, 6-21-1929. Submitted by KathieMarynik]


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, Friday, 7-26-1929. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]


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.

[Roseville Tribune and Register, Friday, 8-2-1929. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

 

California of ’79 Pictured in News Clippings of Day

California news of the seventies was of the rip-snorting kind, and news clippings of 50 years ago give a vivid impression of the day. From the column “Fifty Years Ago” of the Grizzly Bear, official publication of the Native Sons of the Golden West, the following items have been taken:

Abijah Gibson, Elijah Frost, and Thomas McClain, arrested September 8 for raiding the smokehouses, henhouses, and barns of Little Lake, Mendocino County, ranchers, were taken from the authorities by a vigilance committee of 25 disguised men whose identity was never revealed and lynched.

A sea monster, 12 feet long and 4 feet wide, was seen cavorting in Santa Monica Bay, September 2.

On September 2 the stage from Moore’s Flat, Nevada County to Nevada City, was stopped by two masked men about three miles from the latter place. The express box, from which but a small sum was obtained, was broken open, and then the passengers were lined up for robbery. Wm. F. Cummings, a Moore’s Flat banker, carried a satchel containing $7,000 in gold. He resisted its being taken, with the exclamation “I’ll die first!” He was instantly killed.

The annual State Fair opened at Sacramento for a week’s run September 8. A special feature was an encampment of the California National Guard, 800 members of which paraded at Agricultural Park each morning. The “tiger” having a lair in every saloon, and numerous “sideshows” furnished plenty of entertainment. One of the greatest surprises for the visitors was the installation in front of the Weinstock-Lubin store of two electric lights—something heard of but never before seen.

The pest of grasshoppers that for three years destroyed crops in Sierra County appeared to be at an end due to the presence of devouring beetles. [Roseville Tribune and Register, Friday, 9-6-1929. Submitted by K. Marynik]


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