Monthly Archives: August 2014

Post Offices of El Dorado County, Part 19 – “T” – “V”

Unionville 1861

Unionville 1861

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.

TWIN BRIDGES – This post office eleven miles east of Kyburz was established on Oct. 1, 1947, with Mrs. Lesta H. King as its first postmaster. It was closed temporarily on Jan. 15, 1952 and reopened on Mar. 15, 1952.

The full name of the post office at this vacation and recreational resort was Twin Bridges Hotel, the name coming from the two highway bridges over Pyramid Creek, one for eastbound traffic and one for westbound traffic. Several years ago the building at this location was destroyed and the post office closed.

UNIONVILLE – The post office at this location was established on Mar. 6, 1861 with Gaston D’Artois serving as the first postmaster.

The changing of town names to various “Union” names was popular on the eve of the Civil War, and this place was no exception.

There is no location listed for this post office, yet the Post Office Department notes the town was once called Marshall and that it was on the South Fork of the American River.
Marshall, we do know, was the original name for a town that would become later known as Uniontown and then Lotus.

Neither Marshall or Uniontown had a post office, according to the same records of the Post Office Department, however, there could be some confusion between the names Unionville and Uniontown.

The Unionville Post Office would last less than a year and be discontinued on Feb. 2, 1862.

UNO – The Uno Post Office was established on Feb. 12, 1892 with Leander C. Morris serving as the first of only three postmasters: Morris (1892), Sarah Farnsworth (1892-1914) and Nancy Giles (1914-1920).

Uno was located about two miles to the southeast of Mt. Aukum on Cedar Creek, but rarely shows up on early maps, and never on those made after the 1880s. It is believed by some that the reason there is so little information on Uno is that it may also have been known as Coyoteville.

The name is believed to have come from the Spanish word for “one”, although that too is questioned by some. Apparently the only business in town was the Farnsworth store, in which the Post Office was conveniently located. Nothing remains of Uno, or for that matter, Coyoteville.

The Uno Post Office was closed on April 9, 1920 and moved to Aukum, a named that was later changed to Mt. Aukum. The Mt. Aukum Post Office is still in operation.

URBAN – The Urban Post Office was established on Aug. 28, 1909 with Eva L. Urban serving as the first postmaster. It was located five miles southwest of Pleasant Valley and seven miles northwest of Fair Play.

The interesting name for such a rural post office obviously came from the name of the first postmaster, a practice that the Post Office Department sometimes allowed, but usually frowned upon.

On Feb. 29, 1912, the Urban Post Office became known as the Pleasant Valley Post Office. On Dec. 31, 1917, the post office was discontinued and the mail moved to Placerville.

vadeVADE – This post office at Phillips Station, located seven miles southwest of Meyers, was established on Sep. 3, 1912 with Sierra Nevada Phillips Bryson serving as the first postmaster.

This stop on the main freight and passenger road between Sacramento and the Comstock Lode (Virginia City), later known as Highway 50, was first settled by the Phillips family in 1862.

The Phillips’ daughter, Sierra Nevada, who was six years old at the time the family settled here, grew up and became a well known businesswoman, establishing the Rubicon Mineral Springs Hotel and Resort and managing resorts at Tahoe City and Meeks Bay.

When she tried to get a post office in Phillips she was told that name was taken. Consequently, when the post office was established it was named Vade – her nickname.
On September 2, 1961, the post office was moved three miles east and renamed Little Norway, a post office that has now closed.

Phillips, also casually known as Pow Wow, after the restaurant and gas station located there (“Eat at Pow Wow and get gas” the sign said for years), is the location of Sierra at Tahoe (formerly Sierra Ski Ranch).

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).

Post Offices of El Dorado County – Part 18 – “S-T”

Taho 1867

Taho 1867

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.

 

 

 

SUNBEAM – This post office was established on Apr. 6, 1888 at a location on the west side of Lake Tahoe, some two and one-half miles south of McKinney (Placer County) and nine miles north of Tallac.

It is known that the first postmaster was Dietrich Kaiser, but there is no record of the origin of the name.

On Oct. 14, 1893 service at this post office was discontinued and the mail moved to the post office at McKinney.

Taho 1864

Taho 1864

TAHO – This post office, originally named Lake Valley for its location at the southern end of Lake Tahoe, was established on Dec. 26, 1863 with Underhill Van Wagner serving as the first postmaster.

The name is believed to be a corruption of the Washo(e) Indian word “Tahooee”, meaning “much water.” Service was discontinued on Dec. 20, 1870 when the name of the post office was changed to Tallac.

 

 

 

TAHOE KEYES – The Tahoe Keyes Post Office, named for what was originally a vacation and recreation marina on the south end of Lake Tahoe, was established on Aug. 17, 1959 as a branch of the Tahoe Valley Post Office. Since it was a branch of another post office, it had no postmaster.

On July 1, 1962 service at this branch was discontinued.

Tahoe ParadiseTAHOE PARADISE – Formerly known as the Meyers Post Office, the Tahoe Paradise Post Office was established on Aug. 1, 1962 as a rural branch of the Tahoe Valley Post Office.

Like the Tahoe Keyes Post Office it was named for a vacation resort that would become a subdivision. Also like the Tahoe Keyes Post Office, and for the same reason, it had no postmaster.

On Mar. 24, 1967, it became a rural branch of the South Lake Tahoe Post Office.

 

Tahoe Valley2TAHOE VALLEY – This post office was established on June 12, 1940 with Alvan W. Lampson serving as its first postmaster.

A Lake Tahoe vacation resort, it was located three and one-half miles southwest of Al Tahoe and five miles southeast of Camp Richardson.

On Mar. 24, 1967, it became a station of the South Lake Tahoe Post Office.

 

 

Tallac 1883

Tallac 1883

TALLAC – This post office was established on Dec. 20, 1870 as a result of the change of the name of the Taho Post Office, with Ephraim Clement as its first postmaster.

Located on the south end of Lake Tahoe, five and one-half miles west of South Lake Tahoe, it obtained its name from an Indian word meaning “large mountain”.

On Feb. 15, 1871 service was discontinued and the name changed to Lake Valley. On Mar. 12, 1875 it was reestablished as Tallac. On Nov. 13, 1883, it was moved one-half mile east and on Mar. 10, 1888, moved one-half mile west.

Service was discontinued on June 16, 1927 when the name was changed to Camp Richardson.

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).

Post Offices of El Dorado County – Part 17 – “S”

Spanish Flat, Gibbs Express

Spanish Flat, Gibbs Express

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.

 

 

 

SPANISH DRY DIGGINGS – This short-lived post office was established on Feb. 12, 1875 on the summit of a hill between two creeks, at a site above the Middle Fork of the American River, some five miles northwest of Georgetown and four miles north of Greenwood.

For a short period it not only served the community of Spanish Dry Diggings, but other noted mining communities such as Spanish Bar, El Dorado Slide, Dutch Bar, Rockey Chucky and Canyon Creek.

Its name came from the fact that a group of Mexican miners, under the command of General Andreas Pico, the brother of California’s last Mexican governor Pio Pico, were sent by the Mexican Government to prospect through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. They established the first gold camp at this location in 1848, giving the area its name. The first, and only postmaster was William R. Davis, since the post office was closed on Dec. 22, 1875, only ten months after its opening and the mail moved to Greenwood.

Spanish Flat 1855

Spanish Flat 1855

SPANISH FLAT – Located four miles northeast of the town of Kelsey, this post office was established on Nov. 21, 1853 with James Muricey serving as the first postmaster.

The mining camp at this location was originally established in 1849 by some Spanish miners, thus the name. It should be noted that the term Spanish was often applied to almost anyone from Mexico, Central and South America.

Service at this post office was discontinued on Jan. 22, 1872 and its name changed to Garden Valley (a previous Garden Valley Post Office had been established in 1852 and discontinued in 1862). Service at the Spanish Flat Post Office was reestablished on May 31, 1888 and discontinued less than six months later, on Oct. 30, 1888, when the mail was moved to Kelsey.

 

SPORTSMAN’S HALL – This post office was established on Oct. 10, 1865 with James Blair serving as postmaster.

Sportsman’s Hall, which has a controversial history and at times called the Eleven Mile House and Fyffe, was originally owned by a D. C. Dealy, It was he who claimed one hundred and sixty acres at this location along the Placerville-Carson Valley Road and established a ranch. The following year he sold his land and Sportsman’s Hall to John Blair, one of four brothers that had immigrated to America from Scotland and become lumbermen. John’s brother, James Blair, came west to join him about the time that silver was discovered in the Comstock Lode of Nevada (Virginia City area). Because of this discovery, the road soon became crowded with freight and passenger traffic to and from the mines, so the Blairs enlarged Sportsman’s Hall to hold 150 travellers, also adding stables for 500 horses and corrals that would hold even more.

Service at this post office, which the confusing records of the Post Office Department show as being three miles further west of Kyburz than Placerville and, at the same time, eleven miles east of Placerville, was discontinued on May 28, 1867.

Stateline 1941STATELINE – Located nearly on the California-Nevada border at the south end of Lake Tahoe, this post office was established on June 12, 1901 with Arthur M. Hill serving as the first postmaster. On March 24, 1967, when the South Lake Tahoe Post Office was established, the Stateline Post Office became a station of it.

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).

Post Offices of El Dorado County – Part 16 – “S”

Salmon FallsIn 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.

SALMON FALLS – The post office at this 1848 mining camp located on the South Fork of the American River a few miles northeast of Folsom City was established prior to Oct. 7, 1851, the date the first postmaster, George Coon, was confirmed by the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C.

The name of the mining camp and the post office came from the display of salmon spawning below the falls near this camp.

Service was discontinued on Jan. 18, 1875 and reestablished less than a month later on Feb. 15, 1875. It was again discontinued on Nov. 15, 1893 and reestablished two days later on Nov. 17. On Nov. 30, 1912 the post office was discontinued and the mail moved to Folsom City in Sacramento County.

ShingleSHINGLE SPRING – The post office at this early mining town and shingle mill site along the main immigration road from the east to Sacramento, was established on Feb. 3, 1853 with D. Thomkins serving as the first postmaster.

Service at this post office, located ten miles southwest of Placerville, was discontinued on Mar. 30, 1855 and then reestablished on Oct. 10, 1865 with an “s” added to the name making it Shingle Springs. On May 11, 1895 the name of the post office was again changed, this time to simply Shingle. On Mar. 1, 1955, the post office changed the name for the last time, making it officially Shingle Springs. This post office is still in operation.

 

Slatington3SLATINGTON – This post office, at the top of Chili Bar Grade, six miles north of Placerville, was established on Mr. 3, 1903 with James McGraw as its first postmaster.
Its name is derived from the hand split slate shingles that were made at a mine nearby.

On Oct. 31, 1912 service was discontinued and then reestablished on Jul. 3, 1916. On Sep. 23, 1920 the post office was moved one and one-half miles to the northeast and the name changed to Kelsey.

 

 

Slippery Ford 1865SLIPPERY FORD – This early post office, thirty-three miles east of Placerville along the South Fork of the American River, was established on Nov. 21, 1861 with Powell Crosley serving as its first postmaster.

The name came from a large, slippery rock that made the river crossing (ford) very hazardous.

In 1896 the name was changed to one word, Slipperyford and on Jan. 13, 1911 the Slipperyford Post Office was discontinued and its name changed to Kyburz, in honor of Samuel E. Kyburz. The Kyburz Post Office is still in operation.

A few miles to the east was another crossing of the river known as Slippery Ford. The location of the Slippery Ford House which flourished as a stop along the road to the gold and silver mines of Virginia City, Nevada during the 1860s. The two are often confused. This second one was later known as Twin Bridges.

Smith's Flat 1894SMITH’S FLAT – This post office, located three and one-half miles east of Placerville, was established on Jan. 31, 1876 with George B. Raffetto as postmaster.

Named for Jeb Smith, a pioneer rancher, it was on the main road between Placerville and Lake Tahoe (Highway 50) until the freeway bypassed it in the 1960s.

On Sep. 7, 1895 the name of this post office was changed to one word, Smithflat, with the “s” dropped. The Smithflat Post Office, originally in the Smith Flat or Three Mile House, was discontinued in the 1980s and the mail moved to Placerville.

SOMERSET – The Somerset Post Office was established on Aug. 1, 1950 with a name change from Youngs. Previously the post office was at a resort known as Youngs, a short distance to the north on the North Fork of the Cosumnes River. It was closed and moved to this location. The first postmaster at Somerset was Aimee Hicks.

The name for this community (and later the post office) at the intersection of Mt. Aukum Road and Buck’s Bar / Grizzly Flat roads, was given to it in about 1856 by some early settlers from Somerset, Ohio.

The Somerset Post Office, which is thirteen miles southeast of Placerville, is still in operation.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – This post office, serving most of the California communities at the southern end of Lake Tahoe, was established on Mar. 24, 1967 when several small towns were incorporated into the City of South Lake Tahoe and the post office at Bijou closed. Willis W. Brown was the first postmaster. This post office is still in operation.
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).