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. Others existed, but nobody was sure of their exact location. These were called ghost post offices. Many others, once established, continue to operate until this day.
RESCUE – The Rescue Post Office was established on June 12, 1895 with Merritt A. Hunter serving as the first postmaster. The history of the establishment of a post office at this important way station on the wagon road from Sacramento to the “diggins” is quite interesting.
The town was originally called Green Valley, but the U.S. Post Office Department decided that there were already too many towns with that name in California.
The Department requested the owner of the building that housed the post office, one Dr. Hunter, to submit a list of new, one-word names for the town from which the Department would choose the one they liked. One proposed name on the list was given to Dr. Hunter by Andrew Hare, who had a nearby mining claim called the Rescue Claim. His claim had “rescued” him from poverty and he thought it would be a fine name for the town. Apparently the Post Office Department agreed with Mr. Hare.
On July 1, 1962, the post office changed its location to the Rose Springs Literary Society Meeting Hall, with Mrs. Ila Wing Brazil as acting Postmaster (she was officially appointed Postmaster on October 23, 1963).
The entire upstairs of this historic structure, dated 1896, has a magnificent dance floor where once great celebrations were held. Downstairs contains the Post Office and areas that could be used meeting rooms. The building is being carefully restored to its original magnificence by the Rescue Volunteer Fire Association, using private funds. The Rescue Post Office is still in existence at this location.
RINGGOLD – This post office about two miles east of Diamond Springs was established prior to Feb. 20, 1852, the date the postmaster, Jacob L. Sargent, was appointed by the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C.
The community and a local gold mine were both named for an early explorer of the Sacramento Valley and foothills named Lieutenant Commander Cadwalader Ringgold. He is also partially responsible for the naming of many of other landmarks such as the American River.
Service at the Ringgold Post Office was discontinued on Nov. 22, 1853 and the mail moved to Placerville.
RIVERTON – This post office on the South Fork of the American River five miles east of Pacific (House) and eleven miles west of Slippery Ford (Kyburz) was established on Aug. 2, 1893 with Charles Sandfoss serving as the first postmaster.
As early as 1864 there was a respectable inn at this “River Side” location which was also the first station east of Sportsman’s Hall to service the Central Overland Express and was the first Pony Express remount station east of Sportsman’s Hall. Prior to being called Riverton, the location was known as Moore’s Station, however there was no post office by that name at this location.
The post office was discontinued on May 31, 1898 and the mail moved to Slippery Ford (Kyburz).
Just west of the present Highway 50 bridge is a plaque designating Moore’s (Riverton) as a California State Historic Landmark (#705).
ROWLAND – This post office at the southern end of Lake Tahoe was established on June 26, 1864 with Sophonia Rowland at the first postmaster according to one list and Thomas B. Rowland according to another list.
The post office was named for another Rowland, Bernard F. Rowland, the developer of the vacation and recreational resort at this site.
On Sep. 11, 1888 the post office was moved one and one-quarter miles to the east and the name changed to Bijou.
RUBICON – This post office, located four and one-half miles north of Emerald Bay, was established on May 4, 1901 with Amos L. Frost as postmaster.
This site, along with the Bay, Park, Peak and Lake by this name, is named for the Rubicon River which the pioneers found difficult to cross.
The post office was discontinued on Apr. 30, 1906 and reestablished on Mar. 8, 1909. On Sep. 30, 1913, service was again discontinued and the mail moved to the Emerald Bay seasonal post office.
RUBICON LODGE – This post office, two and one-half miles south of Meeks Bay was established on Dec. 15, 1921 with Hans Hansen serving as the first postmaster.
The name was derived from the summer resort community by this name.
On Aug. 15, 1924 the post office was discontinued and then reestablished on July 9, 1925. On Oct. 31, 1931, service was again discontinued and the mail moved to Meeks Bay.
SAINT LAWRENCEBURGH – This post office located four miles north of Kelsey and four miles south of Garden Valley was first established on June 20, 1872 with Kate H. Anderson serving as the first postmaster.
Named for the nearby Saint Lawrence Mine (gold), service at this post office on the main road from Placerville to Georgetown continued until Feb. 1, 1875.
On Apr. 15, 1880 service was reestablished and the “burgh” dropped from the name. On Aug. 23, 1882 the post office was discontinued and the mail moved to Placerville.
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); “The Pollock Pines Epic” by Marilyn Parker (1988); “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).