Where Did That Road Name Come From? – T

The many roads that include the word Tahoe in their name refer to our famous high mountain lake, Lake Tahoe. Tahoe is believed to be a Washoe word meaning “big water”, “high water”, or “water in a high place.” The name the Washoe tribe actually gave it, Tula Tulia, was considered, but rejected.

John C. Fremont named it Lake Bonpland after the French botanist and explorer Jacques Bonpland, but his cartographer, Charles Preuss, simply mapped it as Mountain Lake. Then it was named Lake Bigler to honor one of California’s early governors who led a rescue party into the mountains. Although called Lake Tahoe for years, it was not until 1945 that it became official.

Tallac Avenue refers to Mt. Tallac, in the Tahoe basin, and an early road house nearby known as the Tallac House.

The Tallac House was built in 1873 by “Yank” Clement after he had sold his early way station (Yank’s Station). Around 1879, Clement’s extensive holdings were purchased by Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin, who loved trees and also owned many acres of land in Southern California which would become the Los Angeles County Arboretum. After his death his daughter, Anita, ordered the buildings of the Tallac House demolished. The property, and the trees that Baldwin saved, are now in the care of the U. S. Forest Service.
Tamarack Avenue refers to a name often given to the Lodgepole Pine (Pinus murrayana), which grows at elevations as high as 11,000 feet. The true Tamarack (sp. Larix) does not grow naturally in California.

Tanbark Oak Court, gets its name from the Tan-bark Oak (Lithocarpus densiflora), a small shrub-like tree with sparse distribution on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. When found, it is usually within the 2000 – 5000 foot elevation.

Texas Hill Road is named for the early community of Texas Hill and the Texas Hill Mine, which was hydraulically mined using water that came from as far as Echo Lake by way of tunnels, canals and the American River. The mine and community were located on the hill by that name, on the north side of Weber Creek, near the present Placerville Airport.

Thompson Hill Road is named for the highest peak in the Gold Hill region of El Dorado County. It was previously called Thompson’s Hill, and named after either Davis Thompson, one of the men who in 1850 built the first water ditch in El Dorado County at Coloma, or John Thompson, an early settler in Uniontown, which was later known as Lotus.

It is said that James W. Marshall stood atop Thompson Hill, which he called Prospect Mountain, and first saw the Coloma Valley while searching for a place to build the sawmill.

Tiger Lily Road, along with the early town of Tiger Lily that was east of Diamond Springs, are probably named for one of two similar looking native lilies found on the western slope of El Dorado County.

The Small Tiger Lily (Lilium parvum), found above 6000 feet has small yellow-orange flowers, often dotted with purple spots. But, more than likely it was the often misidentified Leopard Lily (Lilium pardalinum), which is found in that area and up to 6000 feet in elevation. It has larger, but similar flowers.

Tourmaline Court and Way are named for a mineral often found in coarse granite (pegmatite) dikes. In El Dorado County it is usually black while in other localities it may be green, pink, red or many other colors.

Towhee Lane is named for one of two common ground birds in El Dorado County: the Brown Towhee and the Rufous-sided Towhee. Both species have adapted to living near people and are often seen scratching in the ground litter for seeds.

Toyon Court is named for the dark green, very common native shrub known as Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) or California Christmas Berry. From November to January the Toyon produces clusters of bright red berries that provide food for robins , waxwings and similar birds.

Tragedy Springs Road is named for Tragedy Springs on Mormon Emigrant Trail where the bodies of the three men scouting this route over the Sierra Nevada in 1848, Browett, Allen and Cox, were found by the main group of Mormon emigrants. They were supposedly killed and buried by Indians. The group would properly bury the three before proceeding and mark the spot by carving a memorial in a tree.

Trail of Tears is a small road near Sand Ridge Road in the Somerset area.

Although the owner of this road may have a totally different reason for this name, generally it refers to a series of events, including the discovery of gold on Cherokee lands in Georgia in 1829, that resulted in them being forced to march 1000 miles from their Georgia homeland to Oklahoma in 1838. Of the estimated 17,000 Cherokee men, women, and children who started, approximately 4000 of them died along the way.

There is also a similar, but lesser known, “Trail of Tears” in the Round Mountain area of California near Chico.

Traverse Court and Traverse Creek Road are named for the creek by that name near Georgetown, which once was known at Travers creek. If it was named after someone named Travers, nobody seems to know.

Treefrog Lane is named for the most common amphibian in El Dorado County, the Pacific Treefrog (Hyla regilla). Rarely more than two inches in length, they can be green, brown, gray, reddish, tan or black, but always have the distinctive dark stripe on the side of the head.
Their “kreck-ek” call at about one second intervals can seem deafening when large numbers of them are present.

Twin Bridges Road is named for the two, side-by-side bridges that once stood on the main road through the American River canyon just east of Lover’s Leap and Strawberry near a place called Slippery Ford. Before the two bridges were built travellers had to ford the river on an inclined, smooth granite surface. Many horses and mules lost their footing here and, along with wagons and their contents, were swept down the river.

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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