Post Offices of El Dorado County

Post Offices of El Dorado County, Part 9 – “I”- “J”

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.

Indian Diggins Last Day Postmark

Indian Diggins Last Day Postmark

INDIAN DIGGINGS: This post office, four miles south of the town of Omo Ranch, in the southern portion of El Dorado County, was established on Nov. 22, 1853 with Jacob Wolf as the first postmaster. The name came from miners finding a group of Indians mining along the creek.

Service at the post office was discontinued on June 15, 1869 when it was moved one and one-half miles to the northeast and the name changed to Mendon.

The Mendon Post Office had been first established on Dec. 2, 1857 with J. Edmondson as postmaster. The community was generally known as Brownsville, but Mr. Edmondson wanted to name the post office after himself. The Post Office Department would not allow him to do that, so he rearranged some letters from his name and came up with Mendon.

The Mendon Post Office was discontinued on Feb. 15, 1869 and then reestablished on June 15, 1869 when the Indian Diggings Post Office was closed and moved there. On Mar. 23, 1888, the post office was again closed and moved back to Indian Diggings.

With the closing of the post office, the name Mendon was dropped and the town was again called Brownsville.

When the post office was moved back to Indian Diggings, the last “g” was dropped renaming it Indian Diggins. The Indian Diggins Post Office was discontinued on Nov. 30, 1935 and the mail moved to the post office at Omo Ranch.

JAY HAWK: This short-lived post office was named for the area which had been first settled by members of the ill-fated “Jayhawkers Party”, a group of 1848 gold seekers (not from Kansas, but from Missouri, since Kansas wasn’t a state yet). It was established on Aug. 29, 1860 with John S. Tipton as the first postmaster.

There is no specific location for the post office in the federal archives (ghost post office), but it is known that it was about ten miles southwest of Coloma and twelve miles northeast of Folsom City. On Dec. 26, 1863 the post office was discontinued and the mail moved to Folsom City.

JOB’S STORE: This was a phantom post office, for which there are no official records. The Aug. 2, 1858 issue of the “Sacramento Union” erroneously reported that the Postmaster General had appointed Mosses Job as the postmaster of a post office by this name near Lake Tahoe.

JOSEPHINE: Located fifteen miles northeast of Georgetown, the Josephine Post Office was named for the Josephine Gold Mine, which was nearby. It was established on Aug. 12, 1895 with Jerome C. Akley serving as the first postmaster. On Oct. 31, 1917, the post office was discontinued and the mail moved to Georgetown.

JurgensJURGENS: Named for its first postmaster, Annie G. Jurgens, this post office was located six miles southeast of Rescue. It was established on July 1, 1903 and discontinued on the last day of December in 1914. The mail was moved to the post office at Rescue.

 

 

 

 

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 8 – “G” – “H”

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. Many others, once established, continue to operate until this day.

GREEN SPRINGS: This post office, believed to be named for the lush green growth around the local spring, was established prior to July 28, 1851, the date the first postmaster, James C. Parks, was confirmed in Washington, D.C.
Located on Weber Creek, eight miles southwest of Coloma and fifteen miles northeast of Mormon Island, the town was an important way station on the road to Coloma. Service at the Green Springs Post Office was discontinued on January 21, 1852 and the mail moved to the Mormon Island Post Office in Sacramento County.

Green ValleyGREEN VALLEY: This early post office was located on the Green Valley Ranch, a supply center for the local mines and also on the main route from Sacramento to Coloma, seven miles southeast of Salmon Falls and ten miles south of Lotus. Nelson Van Tassel was named the first postmaster when the post office opened on Feb. 4, 1854.

On Mar. 30, 1855, this still young post office was discontinued, probably because of downturn in mining. On Sep. 12, 1865 the Green Valley Post Office was reestablished by renaming the Hitchcock Ranch Post Office, which was located on the Hitchcock Ranch, a short distance away from the Green Valley Ranch. On Dec. 12, 1908, the post office was moved one and one-half miles to the east. Then, on Oct. 14, 1911, it was discontinued and the mail moved to the post office in Rescue.

Greenwood postmark by Alta Express

Greenwood postmark by Alta Express

GREENWOOD: The Greenwood Post Office was originally the Louisville Post Office, which 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.

The Greenwood Post Office, like the town, was named for Caleb Greenwood and his two sons, Britain and John, who had established an early trading post at this location. C. C. Brady was the first postmaster at Greenwood. The Greenwood Post Office is still in operation.

Grizzly flat 2GRIZZLY FLATS: This post office was established on Aug. 31, 1855 and took its colorful name from a legend of an encounter between an early prospector’s pack mule and a California Grizzly Bear on a flat area eleven miles east of Somerset. James Burgess was named to serve as the first postmaster.

Although the post office is officially named Grizzly Flats, the town more often shows up on early maps as Grizzly Flat, without the added “s”. Unlike the California Grizzly Bear, which is now extinct, the post office is still in operation.

HITCHCOCK RANCH: This post office was established on Oct.9, 1860, with William Dormody serving as its first postmaster. The Hitchcock Ranch was settled in 1848 and had become a supply center for the local miners. Service at the Hitchcock Ranch Post Office was discontinued on Sep. 12, 1865 when its name was changed to the Green Valley Post Office.

HULFISH: This post office, with a name of unknown origin, was established on Mar. 5, 1901, at a location forty-two miles east of Georgetown. John Darrington would serve as its first, and possibly only, postmaster. On July 30, 1904 it was discontinued and the mail moved to Georgetown.

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 7 – “F” – “G”

Georgetown 1851, folded letter to Mokelumne Hill.

Georgetown 1851, folded letter to Mokelumne Hill.

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. Many others, once established, continue to operate until this day.

 

 

 

Fyffe 1893

Fyffe 1893

FYFFE: This post office was established on either July 24, 1882 or Aug. 16, 1882, depending on the source of the information. It was named after the operator of this summer resort located six miles south of Pacific (House) and nine and one-half miles east of Smith’s Flat. Oswald Hardie was appointed as its first postmaster.

Service was discontinued on Oct. 31, 1913 and the mail moved to Camino. Some records indicate that a Fyffe owned Sportsman’s Hall at one time and confuse this post office with the one at Sportsman’s Hall, which only existed for a short period during the 1860s.

 

Garden Valley 1865

Garden Valley 1865

GARDEN VALLEY: The Garden Valley Post Office was established on Dec. 16, 1852, with Thomas McConnell serving as the first postmaster.

The town was often called Johnstown, but the Post Office Department decided to use the name Garden Valley because of the number of vegetable farms that had been established in this fertile valley four miles south of Georgetown and ten miles north of Placerville.

On Dec. 20, 1853, the post office at Garden Valley was discontinued, but then reestablished less than one year later on Dec. 4, 1854. It was then discontinued on June 4, 1862 and reestablished again one decade later, on Jan. 22, 1872. It was again discontinued on Oct. 31, 1895 and reestablished just a few months later, on Jan. 27, 1896. The post office was then moved one-quarter mile to the northwest on Feb. 1, 1940.

In spite of its open and closed history, it is still in operation.

Georgetown 1859, Wells Fargo mail carrier.

Georgetown 1859, Wells Fargo mail carrier.

GEORGETOWN: Unlike the opening and closing Garden Valley Post Office four miles to the south, the Georgetown Post Office opened prior to Oct. 17, 1851, the date its first postmaster, William T. Gibbs, was confirmed by the Post Office Department in Washington D.C., and has simply remained open ever since.

Georgetown, which is located some twenty miles east of Auburn and fourteen miles north of Placerville, was named after either George Ehrenhaft or George Phipps, both of whom settled there in 1849.

The town, which was at the western end of an alternate immigration route that connected with the main route in the American River Canyon, burned down more than once and was even moved to its present location on high ground from a canyon to the south as a protection against fire.

GLEN ALPINE: This post office was named for a vacation resort at the south end of Fallen Leaf Lake, six miles to the southwest of Camp Richardson. It was established on June 23, 1904 with Susan G. Pierce serving as the first postmaster.

On Sep. 14, 1918, service was discontinued and then reestablished on Sept. 13, 1929, with the post office becoming a Summer Post Office. The Glen Alpine Post Office did not open during the 1938, 1943, 1944 and 1945 seasons and service was ultimately discontinued on Sept. 10, 1947, with the mail being moved to the Camp Richardson Summer Post Office.

GOLDEN: This aptly named but short-lived post office was located sixteen miles to the northeast of Placerville. It was established on Oct. 13, 1923 with Miss Callie L. Golden, after whom the post office was named, serving as its first postmaster. The post office was discontinued on Apr. 30, 1926 and the mail moved to Placerville.

For the benefit of the geographers amongst you, the Golden Post Office was located in the SE 1/4 of Section 31, Township 12 North, Range 12 East, M.D.M.

Granite Hill 1880

Granite Hill 1880

GRANITE HILL: As mining waned and the population of the gold rush town of Cold Spring (s) left, the post office was moved to the southeast, near a landmark known as Granite Hill and given that name. This event occurred on June 11, 1874 and William P. Vernon became the first postmaster of the renamed post office.

On February 29, 1908 service at the Granite Hill Post Office was discontinued and the mail moved five miles north to the Coloma Post Office.

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 6 – “E” – “F”

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. Many others, once established, continue to operate until this day.

EL DORADO HILLS: The post office at this real estate development was established on Sept. 16, 1962 as an independent rural station of the Folsom Post Office. As the population in the area increased, in 1966 it was upgraded to a branch of the Folsom Post Office and later received its own zip code. Around 1997 a new facility was built on Post street to served this growing area.

EL DORADO MILLS: This post office was established on May 6, 1891 at an unknown location, according to the Post Office Department archives. The postmaster refused the appointment and the post office was discontinued on Sept. 29, of the same year.

EL DORADO RANCH: This was the original name for the post office located eight miles west of the townsite of El Dorado and eight miles east of Clarksville. It was established on June 19, 1857, with Lyman A. Hoyt serving as the first postmaster. This post office was discontinued on Sept. 14, 1858, when its name was changed to DuRoc.

Duroc 1860

Duroc 1860

Service at the DuRoc, later Duroc and then Durock, Post Office, where Theron Foster was the first postmaster, was discontinued on Nov. 23, 1864. Service at the nearby Shingle Spring Post Office had been discontinued on Mar. 30, 1855, but it would be reestablished on October 10, 1865, with an “s” added to spring, and serve this area.

EMERALD BAY: This Lake Tahoe post office was named for the nearby bay in the lake and was established on Dec. 17, 1888 with Lucy N. Kirby as its first postmaster. On Aug. 28, 1899, it was moved one mile to the northeast, to a location reported as being seventeen miles south of Tahoe City. On Feb. 28, 1959, service at this post office was discontinued and the mail moved to the summer post office at Homewood, in Placer County.

Fair Play 1877

Fair Play 1877

FAIR PLAY: This post office was established on Apr. 13, 1860, with George Merkindollar as its first postmaster. The post office derived its name from the rule of conduct of the miners who founded the town itself. Located eight miles south of Pleasant Valley and seven miles west of Mendon (also known as Brownsville), according to the archives of the Post Office Department, it was active until Feb. 15, 1944, when the mail was moved several miles north to the post office at Young’s.

The Young’s Post Office was located one mile north of Somerset at a vacation resort on the North Fork of the Cosumnes River owned by Morgan W. Young. It was established on Mar. 7, 1924, with Morgan W. Young as postmaster, and discontinued some time later when it was moved one mile south to Somerset. On August 1, 1950 it was renamed Somerset Post Office.

Aimee Hicks was appointed the first postmaster of the Somerset Post Office. It is still an operating post office.

Fallen Leaf

Fallen Leaf

FALLEN LEAF: Named for the lake by that name, which resembles a leaf which has fallen to the ground, this summer post office was established on May 13, 1908 to serve a vacation and recreational community, which has since become a year-round, residential area in the Lake Tahoe basin. William W. Price was the first postmaster. On May 19, 1967, it was changed to a rural branch of the South Lake Tahoe Post Office.

 

 

 

Fiddletown 1853

Fiddletown 1853

FIDDLETOWN: This post office, at an 1849 mining camp, was established on Dec. 13, 1853 with Dennis Townsend as its first postmaster.

The name, which is memorialized in Bret Harte’s “An Episode of Fiddletown”, came from the founding Missouri miners who were addicted to fiddling.

Located six and one-half miles northeast of the City of Plymouth, it became a part of the new county of Amador when the boundary was moved from Dry Creek to the South Fork of the Cosumnes River in 1854, a fact that the Post Office Department did not find out about until Feb. 6, 1864.

On May 24, 1878 the name of the post office was changed to Oleta, and then changed back to Fiddletown on July 1, 1932. It is still an operating post office.

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).