Where Did That Road Name Come From? – S (Part 1)

Sacramento Street, a portion of which is now Highway 49 between Placerville and Diamond Springs, was at one time the only reasonable way to get from Placerville to Sacramento. In Diamond Springs it connected with the road commonly known as the Carson Immigrant Trail (now Pleasant Valley Road), the western end of which was Sacramento.

In some journals are found notes that it took a whole day to drive a team and wagon between Placerville and Diamond Springs, due to the steepness of Weber Creek Canyon. According to the same journals, it didn’t take much longer than that to complete the downhill trip from Diamond Springs to Sacramento.

Sage Court and Drive, refer to the very common native sage (Salvia columbariae) also known as chia. It blooms from March – June in dry, open, disturbed places. In other places the seed of this plant was gathered by the Pomo Indians who roasted and ground it into a meal called “pinole”, which they baked into small, nutty flavored cakes or loaves.

A short distance from where Salmon Falls Road crosses the South Fork of the American River, was its namesake, the early mining town of Salmon Falls. This town and the road, derive their name from the falls on the American River to where the Indians came down from the mountains to catch the abundant salmon that were stopped from going further upriver by the falls. The town and the salmon are no longer there as a result of the construction of Folsom Dam, but the name remains a part of our history as the name of a road, a bridge and a residential community.

Sand Ridge Road, which connects the town of Somerset (Buck’s Bar Road) with the early mining town of Nashville (Highway 49) is named for the sandy quality of the decomposed granite over which it crosses. The County’s quarry for the sand used on the roads during the winter is near the eastern end of this road.

Sasquatch Ridge Lane refers to the rarely seen and always poorly photographed cousin to the Yeti of the Himalayas, our own Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Recently there have been fewer and fewer sightings. Perhaps the Sasquatch should be put on the “rare and endangered” list and land be set aside as a “Sasquatch Preserve.”

Schnell School Road honors Louisiana Elizabeth “Pete” Schnell who taught school in Placerville for thirty-five years, starting with a job at Placerville Grammar School. Later she was the principal of Sierra Elementary School until her retirement in 1966. She passed away in 1985. The students of Schnell School, which is on Schnell School Road, wrote and published a wonderful book in her honor which is available in bookstores and at the library.

Scotch Broom Road is named for the European plant by that name (Cytisus scoparius) which was imported during or just after the Gold Rush. Also known as broomtops, common broom, European broom, Irish broom and English broom, it is on the noxious weed list in a number of eastern and western states, Hawaii and even Canada. It is a showy, bright yellow addition to the foothill roadsides when in bloom, but has become a serious pest in the forest and on range and other agricultural lands.

Naturalized in many areas it now occupies tens of thousands of acres of land and is continually expanding onto other lands. It is often spread along highways from the seeds picked up by the tires of roadway maintenance equipment.

Sequoia Court and Lane refer to the two redwoods growing in California, the Big Tree and Coast Redwood. The Big Tree or Giant Sequoia (Sequoia gigantea), a living fossil, is found in seven isolated groves from Placer to Tulare County, with most of the trees in the southern groves. The taller, younger and not as massive Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), occurs in many large groves on the northern coast of California.

The name sequoia is believed by some to come from Sequoyah, a Cherokee who lived from 1770-1843, and who is credited with inventing the Cherokee syllabary or written language. The seeds of both these trees have been exported and specimens are growing in countries around the world.

Shingle Lime Mine Road provided access to an underground limestone mine located south of Cameron Park. The mine and limestone processing plant were owned by El Dorado Limestone Company and operated for many years. After mining ceased, the plant continued to process limestone that was trucked in from an open-pit limestone mine in Marble Valley. That quarry is also closed.

There are a number of streets in El Dorado County that contain the name Sherman. These probably refer to William Tecumseh Sherman, who was an aide to Generals Kearney and Mason during the Mexican War and reported on the discovery of gold at Coloma. In 1850 he left California, but came back in 1853 as a civilian, working as a bank manager, attorney and educator. In 1857 he again left and ultimately became a well-know Union general in the Civil War. Later he returned to California and took a position as a vice president for the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad.

Sliger Mine Road gets its name from the Sliger Quartz Claim, which was located northwest of Greenwood, near the town of Spanish Dry Diggings. The Claim, which was believed by some to be of the richest of its type in the County and possibly the State, was originally worked by a group of gentlemen named Hunter, Wade, Roush, Simpers, Hines and Grinnel.

Slodusty Road, like many in el Dorado County, is just what it says.

Slug Gulch Road is not named for the often seen “banana slugs” that reside in our County. The term “slug” refers to the large gold nuggets that were found in Slug Gulch, often the size of a man’s thumb. In the early days of California the very large $50 gold piece was also called a “slug.”

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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