Genealogy Trails Placer County, California News & Stories

Items of Interest
Auburn Courthouse Project
Brings Back Memories of the Old Days of '49
The Celebration on the Fourth
Detour: Ghost of a Highway in Placer County
Dutch Flat Hope to Keep Gold Rush Hotel Standing
Growth of Lincoln
Historical Sleuth Seeks Out Forgotten Past of Dutch Flat
Living in Lincoln-Growth Brings Huge Changes to Small Town
Mark Twain Tricked in Placer County
Mined on Main Street in '49
Museum Making History in Rocklin
Our Town- Its Appearance
Pages of the Past-Roseville Railroad History Is Recalled
Railroad is Sound, Roseville History
Roseville Developer Polishing a Piece of History – Odd Fellows Hall, Built in 1878, Looks to Relive Glory Days
The Big Move-Rail Yard Relocation 100 Years Ago Preceded Explosive Growth
Town Improvements
Unique Opening Set for Bridge

Local Brevities
 


BRINGS BACK MEMORIES OF THE OLD DAYS OF '49
     Walsh Bros., proprietors of the Freeman Hotel at Auburn, have received a menu of the El Dorado Hotel at Placerville, which is an echo of the good old days during the '49 gold excitement in California. The document shows what the early miners had to eat, and what they had to put up for it:  "Bean soup, $1; oxtail soup, 50c; sauerkraut, $1; bacon, $1; hash, low grade, 75c; hash, 18-karat, $1; beef roast, Mexican prime cut, $1.50; beef, uplong, $1.50; beef, tame, $1.50; beef, plain, $1; beef, with one potato, $1.25; codfish balls, 50c; grizzly, fried, 75c; jackass rabbit, $1; baked beans, plain, 75c; baked beans, greased, $1; two potatoes, 50c; two potatoes, peeled, 75c; rice pudding, plain, 75c; rice pudding and brandy peaches, $2; rice pudding, with molasses, $1; square meal, with dessert, $3. Payable in advance. Gold scales at end of bar." Roseville Register, Thursday September 1, 1910. Submitted by Kathie Kloss Marynik.

PAGES OF THE PAST - Roseville Railroad History Is Recalled

     Rudolph E. Noble, 84-year-old retired engineer, can probably recollect further back into Roseville's railroad history than anyone else in these parts. Noble, who was born at 9th and Kay Streets in Sacramento, started work with the Southern Pacific Company in the Sacramento machine shops when he was 15 years old at the startling sum of $1.25 a day.
     The SP then had accumulated trackage in the valley region, and the Central Pacific Railroad went over the mountains to Wadsworth, Nev., 36 miles from the present yards in Sparks. In 1890, the Southern Pacific absorbed the Central Pacific under its name.
     Noble piloted a switch engine for awhile and in 1894 he was promoted to engineer and was "on the road" taking trains across the "big hump," as the Sierra Nevada is known to railroaders.
     The first engine driven by Noble was a wood-burner, and average speed across the mountains was 10 to 12 miles per hour. He has since seen the transition from steam engines to coal burners in about 1900, then to steam, and finally to the diesel power which is used today.
NUMBER OF CARS
     In those days, the train size was not measured by tonnage, but by number of cars. The maximum train length was 15 cars, whether they were loaded with feathers or iron. Therefore, the trip time varied depending on the cargo. The railroad began to make up trains by tonnage in about 1908.
     The trip "over the hill" was much more rugged prior to 1906, not only because of the unrefined equipment, but because of an unusual natural phenomenon described by Noble. He said that before the San Francisco quake, rain never went above 4,500 ft. elevation, and there were no showers to help melt the snow. It just stacked up. After the quake, wintertime rains began to fall on the slopes of the Sierra, alleviating the snowpack, but before that, every trip across the mountains was a battle between man and the elements. Forty-two miles of snowsheds ran from Blue Canyon to Truckee.
Noble moved to Rocklin, site of the Southern Pacific installations then, in 1898. Roseville was known as the Junction then, and consisted of a water tank tower, a few stores and farmland. He recalls the moving of the railroad from Roseville to Rocklin over a period of time from 1907 to 1909.
     The retired engineer started at the first Roseville roundhouse and commuted from Rocklin to Roseville until 1909 when he established his home here. The commuters special was the local train which ran from Colfax to Sacramento every day. Other commuters used horse and buggies.
THE WAVE HIT
     Five hundred homes were moved from Rocklin to Roseville in "the wave." Noble built his home is 1909 in Roseville, which is his present residence, on Coronado Avenue. It was high on a hill, and there were no surrounding dwellings -- he could see from his window to the Lincoln Street crossing.
     He is one of the first members of the Granite Division, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, which was instituted in Rocklin in 1863. The charter was transferred to Roseville when the railroad was moved. He is also a charter member of the Native Sons of the Golden West organized in 1906. He retired from active railroading in 1937 and still holds membership in the Brotherhood.
     Noble is looking forward to the annual BLE dinner which will be held on Saturday evening, March 26, in the Veterans Memorial Hall, where he will enjoy swapping stories with other Rosevillites who grew up with the railroad.
Roseville Press-Tribune, March 21, 1955, Monday, Submitted by Kathie Kloss Marynik.

MARK TWAIN TRICKED IN PLACER COUNTY
     A good story is related of Mark Twain, the scene of which was located in Placer County. Clemens worked at Sacramento for the Union, for a few weeks. Later he went to the Sandwich Islands as their correspondent, but he came back in less than half a year. Then he began giving lectures. It was while on his way to lecture at Gold Hill that some of the boys put up a job on him by means of a fake holdup, in which Clemens was dispossessed of a sack of gold coin amounting to nearly $400. He believed he had really been held up until they all got around him a few days later and amid much merriment returned his coin and let the "cat out of the bag." The victim of the joke took it in good part.
Roseville Register, 4/28/1910. Submitted By Kathie Kloss Marynik.

 

DETOUR: GHOST OF A HIGHWAY IN PLACER 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, Tuesday, 2-21-1989. Submitted by Kathie Kloss Marynik.]

 

 

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, Tuesday, 6-21-1994. Submitted by Kathie Kloss Marynik.]

 


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 systemwide 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.”

[Roseville Press-Tribune, Saturday, 5-6-2006. Submitted by Kathie Kloss Marynik]

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. [Iowa Hill Weekly Patriot, Saturday, 1-15-1859. Submitted by Kathie Marynik.]

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

11th Benediction

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), 7-6-1861. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

Town Improvements

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), 9-28-1861. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

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 Herald (Auburn), 4-12-1862. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

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.[Roseville Press Tribune, Tuesday, 8-28-1973. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

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, Friday, 9-23-1988. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

 

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, Wednesday, 8-23-1989.Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

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, Sunday, 7-24-1994. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

 

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, Saturday, 2-5-2000. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

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, Thursday, 11-7-2002. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]


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, Tuesday, 11-3-2009. Submitted by Kathie Marynik]

 

Mined on Main Street in '49--
We received a pleasant call from Mr. Abner Graves of Des Moines, Iowa, this week. Mr. Graves is traveling through California with his wife and boy, and he stopped off in Auburn which was his stomping ground 40 years ago. Mr. Graves landed in Auburn with his father and a party of Oswego, NY, gentlemen on September 7th, 1849. Abner Graves was then only 15 years of age. He and his father first took up a claim 20 feet square, right in the center of Main Street, the ravine running over that course at that time. Later the New Yorkers built a cabin just north of where the depot now stands on this side of the Boardman Nursery. A portion of the chimney of the cabin is the only evidence remaining. Later Mr. Graves lived at Michigan Bluff, and in 1854 he went to Trinity and for the past 30 years has resided in Iowa. Mr. Graves remembers Billy Gwynn, father of Frank Gwynn; George Applegate; and Hon. J. H. Neff, the latter being Deputy Sheriff in 1854. He relates quite a joke on Mr. Neff. There was a big ball across the river in El Dorado and everybody was going. Mr. Graves had no partner and was acting as a sort of "round up" in seeing that all the ladies were furnished carriages or horses. Mr. Neff and his girl were going on horseback and were all ready to start when Mr. Neff was notified that there were important papers to serve in the sheriff's office. It was duty first and dance afterward, and Mr. Graves had the honor of acting as escort to Mr. Neff's fair partner. (Some of our ladies may think that Mr. Neff never had a girl, but here is proof that he did in 1854.) Mr. Graves is now a gentleman of means and has just purchased a lemon ranch in Los Angeles and says that his wife likes it so well in Auburn that he may sometime return to the home of his youth.
[Placer Herald, Auburn, Saturday, 9-28-1895. Submitted by KKM]

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