In El Dorado County there were, at one time or another, over 100 post offices with some 120 different names. Some had a short life and some apparently never even existed at all, although history books make reference to them. The latter were appropriately called phantom post offices. Many others, once established, continue to operate until this day.
GREEN SPRINGS: This post office, believed to be named for the lush green growth around the local spring, was established prior to July 28, 1851, the date the first postmaster, James C. Parks, was confirmed in Washington, D.C.
Located on Weber Creek, eight miles southwest of Coloma and fifteen miles northeast of Mormon Island, the town was an important way station on the road to Coloma. Service at the Green Springs Post Office was discontinued on January 21, 1852 and the mail moved to the Mormon Island Post Office in Sacramento County.
GREEN VALLEY: This early post office was located on the Green Valley Ranch, a supply center for the local mines and also on the main route from Sacramento to Coloma, seven miles southeast of Salmon Falls and ten miles south of Lotus. Nelson Van Tassel was named the first postmaster when the post office opened on Feb. 4, 1854.
On Mar. 30, 1855, this still young post office was discontinued, probably because of downturn in mining. On Sep. 12, 1865 the Green Valley Post Office was reestablished by renaming the Hitchcock Ranch Post Office, which was located on the Hitchcock Ranch, a short distance away from the Green Valley Ranch. On Dec. 12, 1908, the post office was moved one and one-half miles to the east. Then, on Oct. 14, 1911, it was discontinued and the mail moved to the post office in Rescue.
GREENWOOD: The Greenwood Post Office was originally the Louisville Post Office, which was established prior to July 28, 1851, the date when the first postmaster, George C. Blodgett, was confirmed by Washington, D.C.
The name, Louisville, had been given to this 1848 mining town, thirteen miles east of Auburn, by the miners working here, who were from the city by that name. On Oct. 9, 1852, just a short time after being established, the Louisville Post Office was moved and its name changed to Greenwood.
The Greenwood Post Office, like the town, was named for Caleb Greenwood and his two sons, Britain and John, who had established an early trading post at this location. C. C. Brady was the first postmaster at Greenwood. The Greenwood Post Office is still in operation.
GRIZZLY FLATS: This post office was established on Aug. 31, 1855 and took its colorful name from a legend of an encounter between an early prospector’s pack mule and a California Grizzly Bear on a flat area eleven miles east of Somerset. James Burgess was named to serve as the first postmaster.
Although the post office is officially named Grizzly Flats, the town more often shows up on early maps as Grizzly Flat, without the added “s”. Unlike the California Grizzly Bear, which is now extinct, the post office is still in operation.
HITCHCOCK RANCH: This post office was established on Oct.9, 1860, with William Dormody serving as its first postmaster. The Hitchcock Ranch was settled in 1848 and had become a supply center for the local miners. Service at the Hitchcock Ranch Post Office was discontinued on Sep. 12, 1865 when its name was changed to the Green Valley Post Office.
HULFISH: This post office, with a name of unknown origin, was established on Mar. 5, 1901, at a location forty-two miles east of Georgetown. John Darrington would serve as its first, and possibly only, postmaster. On July 30, 1904 it was discontinued and the mail moved to Georgetown.
Sources for this story include, “History of California Post Offices, 1849-1976”, researched by H. E. Salley (1976); “The Gold Rush Mail Agents to California and Their Postal Markings”, by Theron Wierenga” (1987); “California Town Postmarks, 1849-1935”, by John H. Williams (1997); “Short Stories Regarding The History of South El Dorado County”, by D. A. Wright (undated); the “History of El Dorado County”, by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); and the archives of the Mountain Democrat, Empire County Argus and Placer Times (on microfilm at the El Dorado County Main Library).