Where Did That Road Name Come From? F – I

Continuing through the alphabet of common and obscure names given the local roads and streets over the past century and a half:

Fallen Leaf Road, in South Lake Tahoe, is the road that takes one to Fallen Leaf Lake, a name it gets from its roughly oval shape.

Flat Broke Way is a similar statement to Costalotta Road.

Forebay Road, in Pollock Pines, is named for the manmade lake called Forebay. Forebay is the usual name for a body of water that feeds a power plant. When the water has finished turning the turbines, it flows into an afterbay.

Forni Road is named for one of the Forni families in El Dorado County. It connects El Dorado with Placerville Drive. At one time a portion of this road was the State Highway before several re-alignments and the creation the freeway.

Fort Jim Road, which parallels Newtown Road, is named for “Old Fort Jim” which is located somewhere on Jim Valley Road.

Fowler Lane, in Diamond Springs, is believed to have been named for either William J. or Gus H. Fowler, two early immigrants to El Dorado County.

Fruitridge Road was named because of the large number of fruit trees that were planted in the deep soils along the ridge in the area. Ridges have fewer frost problems than valleys.

Garden Valley Road is the name of a road which serves the community of Garden Valley. It is in the northern part of our county where vegetable gardens once, and now again, flourish.

Georgetown Road, now a part of Highway 193, a road named for the famous town on the “divide” formerly called Growlersburg after the sound made by the large gold nuggets that “growled” in their pans. It was then called George’s Town, and later Georgetown after the first miner to pitch a tent at that location, a sailor named George Phipps (there is controversy about this, since some report that it was named after another 49er, George Ehrenhart).

Georgia Slide Road connects Georgetown with a mining camp where many experienced miners who had left an 1828 “gold rush” near the town of Dahlonega, Georgia and settled, bringing with them vast amounts of mining knowledge and experience that they fortunately shared.

Gold Hill Road, an east-west road connecting Highway 49 and Lotus Road through a very rich mining area of El Dorado County, an area that because of its warmer winter climate, now has groves of avocado and citrus trees. It is considered to be El Dorado County’s “banana belt.”

Granite Hill Road, another road to the north of Placerville, served a community by that name, a community to which the Cold Spring Post Office was moved in 1874.

Greenstone Road is named for the locally common rock of that color.

Green Valley Road is a portion of the main route the early miners and their supply wagons took from Sacramento and points west through Green Valley to the rich mining areas near Coloma. It is now the major north-side connection between Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills and Folsom.

Greenwood Road is the road that serves the early mining town of Greenwood. It was formerly named Long Valley, Louisville, Greenwood Valley then finally just Greenwood, after an early trading post operator there named John Greenwood.

Grizzly Flat Road, the major supply road from Somerset to the very successful mining town of Grizzly Flat is named for an encounter between some early argonauts and the now extinct, California Grizzly Bear.

Hackomiller Road is named after Henry Hackomiller (often spelled Hakemoller), an early settler, rancher and store-owner who arrived in California in 1849, married and raised five children.

Hank Monk Avenue is named for the very colorful stage driver who, among other accomplishments, brought presidential candidate Horace Greeley from Carson City to Placerville in record time (there is also a Horace Greeley Road).

Hanks Exchange, which is east of Diamond Springs, is named for Julian Hanks who brought goods from San Jose to a location near where Hanks Exchange and Pleasant Valley meet and sold them. Hanks, who was 39 at the time, was a signer of the original 1849 Constitution of the State of California. Due to the makeup of the population in California, that document was published in both English and Spanish.

Happy Valley Road is a road which connects large plots of timber and ranching land in the area known as Happy Valley with Mt. Aukum Road. It has a unique wooden and steel bridge which crosses the North Fork of the Cosumnes River.

High Grade Street is named after a mining technique where only the rock richest in gold was removed from underground mines (often on the sly, without the knowledge of the actual owner of the mine).

Ice House Road is a road which leads from Highway 50 north to the resort community of Ice House and the surrounding Forest Service lands, including Union (formerly Onion) Valley and the rest of the Crystal Basin.

Indian Diggings Road, which serves the community of Indian Diggins, is so named because early immigrants prospecting in the area of Fair Play and Omo Ranch came across Native Americans panning for gold.

There are also a self-evident group of street names in this list which did not appear until fairly recently. Among these are Garbage Dump Road, Getta Way, Goferbroke Road, and Hewenthatta Way.

Sources for this story include: “Atlas of California,” by Donley, Allan, Caro and Patton (1979); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the Mountain Democrat, 1854-present; the Empire County Argus (Coloma), 1853-1856; the Californian (Monterey), 1846-47; the California Star (1847-48) and the Alta California (San Francisco), 1849-1850.

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