Post Offices of El Dorado County

Post Offices of El Dorado County, Part 13 – “N”- “P”

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.

Nashville 1889NASHVILLE – This early post office, located a short distance north of what is now the crossing of the North Fork of the Cosumnes River by Highway 49, was established prior to March 5, 1852, the date the first postmaster, Elias DeYoung, was confirmed by the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C.

The area and the post office were named by the miners who had come from the town of that name in Tennessee. In fact, the area was also known as Tennessee Bar and Quartzite, but there was never a post office at this location with either of those names.

Service at the Nashville Post Office was discontinued on June 20, 1854 and reestablished again on May 25, 1870. It was again discontinued on Mar. 15, 1907 and the mail moved north to the El Dorado Post Office.

Newtown bNEWTOWN – This post office was established on June 17, 1854 with Wilber Fisher serving as the first postmaster.

The town, which was located on the South Fork of Weber Creek, was originally named Dogtown by the miners in 1849. Believing that to be an inelegant name, the Post Office Department and the local citizens changed it to Newtown, which is often spelled Newton.

For some reason, service was discontinued on Sept. 23, 1875 and reestablished less than a month later on Oct. 18, 1875. On Dec. 31, 1912, service was again discontinued and the mail moved to the Smithflat (Smith’s Flat, Smith Flat) Post Office.

 

Omo RanchOMO RANCH – Located five and one-half miles east of Fair Play and six miles northwest of Indian Diggins, this post office was established on May 9, 1888 with William H. Frye serving as the first postmaster. The name for the post office and the town came from the name of a local Miwok Indian village.

Service was discontinued on Mar. 15, 1974 and the mail moved to the Somerset Post Office.

PACIFIC (PACIFIC HOUSE)- This post office, located 13 miles west of Slippery Fork (Kyburz) and 16 miles east of Smith’s Flat, was established on March 10, 1880 with Adam Kessebring, Jr. serving as the first postmaster. The name commemorates the Pacific House, an inn on the American River immigrant route. It was also a relay post for the Pony Express.

Service was discontinued on Nov. 15, 1893 and reestablished less than one year later on Sep. 15, 1894. On June 1, 1958, the word “House” was added, making the name of the post office Pacific House.

Park 1893PARK – This relatively unknown post office was located eight miles east of Pleasant Valley. It was established on Oct. 15, 1891, with John T. Wallin serving as the first postmaster. The name probably came from the same source that named Park Creek.

On Jan. 13, 1900 the post office was moved one mile to the east, and on Oct. 31, 1907 moved two and one-half miles to the northwest. Service was discontinued on Dec. 15, 1919 and the mail moved to Placerville.
 

Pilot Hill 1855

PILOT HILL- The post office at this location was established at this 1849 gold mining site on Apr. 18, 1854 with Silas Hayes serving as the first postmaster. The post office and the community get their name from the hill by that name on which fires were lit to guide early explorers and miners.

Located nine miles south of Auburn, the Pilot Hill Post Office is still in existence. It should be noted that this area was also known as Centreville, but no post office of record had that name.

 

 

Pino Grande 1898PINO GRANDE – Pino Grande a lumbering site on the north side of the South Fork of the American River, almost directly across from Camino (although the Post Office Department showed the location as eleven miles north of Pacific House). The name is derived from the Spanish word for “big pine.” Lumber cut at Pino Grande was sent to mill in Camino by way of a cable which terminated on the south side at Cable Road.

The post office at this location was established on Oct. 20, 1892 with George W. Cummings serving as the first postmaster.

On Aug. 22, 1893, the post office was moved five and one-half miles to the south and on Sep. 30, 1899, service was discontinued. On Oct 14, 1902 the post office was re-established and then, on May 31, 1909, service was discontinued for the final time and the mail moved to Fyffe (often believed to be near or at Sportsman’s Hall).

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 12 – “M”

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.

Mendon, 1872

Mendon, 1872

MENDON – This early post office was established on Dec. 2, 1867 at a location 28 miles southeast of Placerville and 27 miles northeast of Sutter Creek (Amador County). Also known as Brownsville, although there was no post office by this name, the first postmaster, J. Edmondson tried to name it after himself and, when prohibited from doing that, simply rearranged some of the letters in his name to make up the community’s name of Mendon.

The post office was discontinued on Feb. 15, 1869 an reestablished just a few months later on June 15, 1869. On Mar. 23, 1888, service was discontinued and the post office moved to Indian Diggins.

MEYERS – This seasonal post office was established on Oct. 6, 1904 at the southwest end of the Lake Tahoe basin with Charles G. Celio as the first postmaster.
Originally a stage stop on the American River route across the Sierra Nevada (also known as Yank’s Station), it was named for Dudley Meyer, an 1850 homesteader. On May 31, 1957, it was discontinued and, one year later, on May 1, 1958, reestablished as a rural station of the Tahoe Valley Post Office.

The Meyers Post Office was discontinued on July 31, 1962 and its name changed to Tahoe Paradise, the name of a very large residential subdivision in the area.

Mormon Island 2MORMON ISLAND – Now part of Sacramento County and inundated by Folsom Lake since 1955, this post office, which was located on the South Fork of the American River, three miles northeast of Folsom City, was established prior to August 7, 1851 when John W. Shaw was confirmed as Postmaster in Washington, D. C.
Ex-members of the Mormon Battalion discovered gold here in 1848 and it rapidly became a large mining area.

The post office was discontinued on October 15, 1890 and moved to Folsom City.

 

MOSQUITO – The Mosquito Post Office was established on September 9, 1880 with Jane Dickinson serving as the first postmaster. It was named for the nearby Mosquito Creek and located nine miles to the northeast of Placerville and 21 miles southeast of a place called Lava.

The Mosquito area, which was a major mining location in early California, is often referred to as Swansboro, the name of a large land development which itself was named for an early family in the area, although spelled differently. Service at the Mosquito Post Office was discontinued on Oct. 11, 1881 and reestablished on Nov. 12, 1892. Service was again discontinued on Oct. 31, 1895 and the mail moved to Placerville.

Mt. Aukum first dayMT. AUKUM: This post office in the southern part of El Dorado County was first established on September 23, 1895 as the Aukum Post Office. Service was discontinued on August 31, 1914, with the mail then directed to the post office in the town of Uno. On April 9, 1920 the Uno Post Office was discontinued and the mail moved back to Aukum.
Because much of the mail destined for Aukum went instead to Auburn, the U. S. Post Office Department officially changed the name of this post office to its present Mt. Aukum on October 28, 1961.

The location for this town named for the nearby peak is officially listed as five miles north of Oleta, the original name of the post office in Fiddletown (Amador County). Aukum, often spelled Aurum, Oakum or Orcum, is apparently derived from a Miwok word, which may be the word Ochum, one of the names they gave their dwellings. The first postmaster was Lydia A. Wrigglesworth (Wigglesworth?).

The Mt. Aukum Post Office is still in operation.

Mud Springs, 1852

Mud Springs, 1852

MUD SPRING(S) – The Mud Spring Post Office was established prior to Nov. 6, 1851, the date the first postmaster, Darwin Chase, was confirmed by the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C.

This post office was so named because the thousands of immigrants traveling along this part of the immigrant trail, between Diamond Springs and Shingle Springs, watered their stock here, muddying the spring and the surrounding land. On Dec. 15, 1855, the name of the post office was changed to El Dorado with George W. Critchfield serving as its first postmaster.

Named after the Spanish word for “The Gilded One,” because of the number of rich gold mines in the area, the El Dorado Post Office has continuously operated since it was first established.

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 11 – “L” – “M”

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.

LatrobeLATROBE: This post office was established on Oct. 11, 1864, when this small town, thirty-seven miles east of Sacramento City, was created as the eastern terminus of the Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad. A. George Davis was the first postmaster.

The Chief Engineer for the railroad, F. A. Bishop surveyed and platted the town into small lots and, while doing so, suggested the name of Latrobe for the new town, in honor of Benjamin H. Latrobe, the civil engineer for the first railroad in the United States.

There is some question whether Latrobe, Pennsylvania is named after him or his father a famous architect of the same name who designed the Bank of Pennsylvania and rebuilt the U.S. Capitol after the British burned it in 1814.
Service at the Latrobe Post Office was discontinued on May 31, 1921 and the mail moved to what was then known as the Shingle (later Shingle Springs) Post Office.

Lava 1881LAVA: The Lava Post Office, located thirty miles north of Placerville, near the present site of Volcanoville, was established on Sep. 9, 1880 with Jeremiah Saucerman serving as the first postmaster. The name came from the type of soil in the area. It was discontinued only a short time later, on Oct. 11, 1881, and the mail moved to Placerville.

 

 

 

Little Norway 1964LITTLE NORWAY: This high mountain post office, sixteen miles east of Kyburz and five miles west of Meyers, was established on Sep. 2, 1961, when the mail was moved here from the Vade Post Office (Phillips), three miles to the west. Don Peterson was the first postmaster. The Little Norway Post Office is now closed.

LOTUS: This post office, located two miles west of Coloma and ten miles northeast of Green Valley, was established on Jan. 6, 1871 with George W. Gallanar serving as the first postmaster.

An early mining town, Lotus was formerly known as Marshall and Uniontown, although it never had a post office by either of those names.
The present name of the town, according to some historians, was chosen because “the inhabitants of the community were as easy-going as the lotus eaters of the Odyssey.” The Lotus Post Office is still in operation.

Louisville double rate postmark

Louisville double rate postmark

LOUISVILLE: This early post office was established prior to July 28, 1851, the date when the first postmaster, George C. Blodgett, was confirmed by Washington, D.C.
The name, Louisville, had been given to this 1848 mining town, thirteen miles east of Auburn, by the miners working here, who were from the city by that name.
On Oct. 9, 1852, just a short time after being established, the Louisville Post Office was moved and its name changed to Greenwood.

LOVER’S LEAP – The Lover’s Leap Post Office was established on Oct. 30, 1919 with Annie M. Scherrer serving at the first postmaster. It was located between Strawberry Valley and Camp Sacramento and was named for the rock that rises a sheer 1,285 feet above the South Fork of the American River.

There is a legend that an Indian girl plunged from that height because her love was unrequited, thus, Lover’s Leap. Service at this post office was discontinued on July 31, 1929 when the mail was moved one mile to the east to Camp Sacramento.

MACKSVILLE – This is a phantom post office at an unknown location.
Some historical books mention a post office by this name but there is no supportive evidence in the archives of the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C. There may have been a post office at a location commonly known as Macksville with a different name.

MEEKS BAY – This seasonal post office was established on May 9, 1929 with Oswald Kehlet as its first postmaster. Its name comes from Stephen H. L. Meeks, a “mountain man,” who operated in the area of this present resort site on the west side of Lake Tahoe in the 1850s.

On Apr. 30, 1967 it became a rural branch of the Tahoe City (Placer County) Post Office. Service was discontinued on Nov. 14, 1972 and the name dropped from the Directory of Post Offices in 1974.

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 10 – “K” – “L”

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.

KelseyKELSEY: The Kelsey Post Office was established on Mar. 3, 1856 with John P. White as its first postmaster.

It was named for two brothers, Benjamin and Samuel Kelsey, who discovered gold here in 1848. It was discontinued on Jan. 15, 1872 and then reestablished on Feb. 1, 1875. On Oct. 2, 1895, the post office was moved one-half mile to the west and, on Nov. 16, 1896, moved one-half mile to the southeast. On Mar. 3, 1903, the post office was again moved and the name changed to Slatington.

 

SlatingtonThe Slatington Post Office, which was located at the top of Chili Bar Grade, six miles north of Placerville, was named for the hand-split, slate roofing shingles that were produced nearby. James McGraw was the first postmaster at Slatington. Service was discontinued on Oct. 31, 1912 and then reestablished on July 3, 1916. On Sep. 23, 1920, the post office was discontinued, moved one and one-half miles to the northeast and renamed Kelsey. The Kelsey Post Office, officially still located six miles north of Placerville, is still in operation.

 

KYBURZ: The Kyburz Post Office was established on Jan. 13, 1911 and named in honor of Samuel E. Kyburz, an 1846 pioneer. His son, Albert Kyburz, was the first postmaster. Previously, this post office had been known as both Slippery Ford and Slipperyford.

The Slippery Ford Post Office was established on Nov. 21, 1861 with Powell Crosley as the first postmaster. The name came from a large flat slippery rock that made the stream crossing dangerous on this part of the road through the canyon of the South or Silver Fork of the American River (as we will find out, there are a couple of slippery fords along this route). Nearby was the Slippery Ford House, a popular stopping place for stages and freighters.

In 1896 the name of the post office was officially changed to one word, Slipperyford. On Jan. 3, 1911, the name was changed to Kyburz.

The Kyburz Post Office is still in operation.

From the Lake Bigler "Phantom" Post Office

From the Lake Bigler “Phantom” Post Office

LAKE BIGLER: There is no official record of a post office by this name, although there are manuscript (hand written) postmarks dated in the 1860s that read, “Lake Bigler, Calif”.
Lake Bigler was the controversial name officially given to what is now Lake Tahoe in 1870 by the California State Legislature, although it had been called that since 1854.
It was named Lake Bigler because John Bigler lead a rescue party into the Sierra Nevada in the early 1850s and was governor of California from 1852-1856.

Although the lake had been know as Lake Tahoe for many years, the name Lake Bigler was not rescinded by the legislature until 1945, when someone discovered that had never officially been done.

LAKE KIRKWOOD: Located nine miles east of Silver Lake and thirty miles south of Meyers, this post office was established on Oct. 11, 1940 to serve the area around this vacation and recreational resort. Mrs. Joe Herlyn was named the first postmaster.

On May 19, 1967, the Lake Kirkwood Post Office became a rural branch of the Pioneer (Amador County) Post Office.

This was not the first post office at this location, the first being established on January 25, 1887 and called the Roundtop Post Office with Zachariah (Zack) S. Kirkwood, a local cattleman, inn and ex-stagecoach operator during the 1860s, as its postmaster. The name for the post office came from the nearby Roundtop peak that stood some 10,380 feet high. On August 31, 1907, the post office was closed and moved to Jackson.

Lake Valley 1874

Lake Valley 1874

LAKE VALLEY: Named Lake Valley for the valley at the south end of Lake Tahoe (previously Lake Bigler), this post office was officially established on Sep. 17, 1861 at a Pioneer Stage Line station known as “Yank’s Station.”

Curiously, the Sacramento Union, dated Aug. 2, 1858, reports this post office established three years earlier, with Martin Smith as postmaster. This may a result of the confusion over the Job’s Store (phantom) Post Office which was reportedly also in the Lake Tahoe Valley, but possibly in what was then Utah Territory and later the State of Nevada.
Service at the Lake Valley Post Office was discontinued on Dec. 26, 1863 when the name was changed to Taho (with no “e”).

The Lake Valley Post Office was reestablished on Feb. 16, 1871 a few months after the Taho Post Office had its name changed to Tallac. Then on Nov. 15, 1895 the Lake Valley Post Office was again discontinued and the mail moved to Bijou.

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).