Monthly Archives: March 2014

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).

Steppin’ Out – Apple Blossom Coffee House

apple blossom“I have been managing Kids Inc. (the bake shop on the Delfino ranch) for 12 years,” said Robyn Delfino the owner of Apple Blossom Coffee House at 4077 Carson Road (at the corner of Carson and Larsen roads) in Camino. “When this coffee shop came available, about two and a half years ago, I though ‘why not.’ Kids Inc. is only open from September through Thanksgiving and this is a year-round business.

“Over the years we perfected the crust recipe at Kids Inc., and people love it. We use it here and I have Alejandro Lopez, who has been their baker for ten years, doing the baking. He opens for me in the morning and is also my Barista.

“My secret to great food is ‘Quality, Quality, Quality,’ it has to be perfect every time. There is no substitute for that.

“We make everything we can right here, but (as I saw) the kitchen is very, very small. What products we buy, we only buy the best.

“The previous owners here kept the place open from 7:30 until 10. We wanted to add lunch, so every day but Wednesday and Sunday, we are open from 7 until 2. On Wednesday we close at 11 and don’t serve lunch. On Sunday we are closed.”

While I was talking with both Robyn and Alejandro, I took the opportunity to try a few things. Intentionally I met with them on a Saturday because the soup of the day for Saturday is French Onion, one of my favorites.

That soup, if done properly is fantastic. If done improperly, it is often salty and flavorless. Theirs is fantastic.

It came in a large cup (handy for drinking the last drop) and had the large croutons with Parmesan cheese on top, along with bread on the side. It was as deep in flavor as its brown color, the onions were tender and it was not salty, nor did it need any.

“We put salt on the table for people,” added Robyn. “We would rather undersalt and leave it up to the customer than over salt.”

Robyn then offered me their signature coffee drink, the Caminoccino, which is blended with ice. “What flavor do you want,? she asked, verbally giving me a list. When she reached caramel, I said “Yes.” I then mentioned that butterscotch is one of my favorite caramel-like flavors, and she said, “We make an oatmeal butterscotch cookie. I will bring you one.”

I am not a big coffee drinker and really loved the Caminoccino, a drink first invented and named by the previous owners. They use only premium, handcrafted coffee from Vaneli’s in Rocklin, which makes all the coffee drinks better.

The cookie was delicious and very well made.

Robyn then mentioned that they now made a gluten-free scone and brought me one along with a regular scone, to compare.

“We have one customer who’s wife put him on a gluten-free diet,” she said. He comes in nearly every day and loves them. We buy the best, Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour, to make them.”

The regular scone was made to my liking with a bit of texture and a great scone flavor.

When I baked bread for my family I added gluten flour to keep everything together, so I never really know what to expect in a gluten-free bread.

The flavor was good, but I thought it tasted a bit under baked. That may be a characteristic of gluten-free products, since everyone else loved them.

Another special that they have on Saturday only is a goat cheese and asparagus quiche. I love quiche and theirs was excellent: nice crust, a great delicate flavor and well made. It came with a small container of Alejandro’s house made salsa, which spiced it up a bit.

In addition to their coffee and coffee drinks, the breakfast menu includes a Breakfast Empanada, a Frittata (with bacon on Saturday); Croissant or Bagel with Coffee Cup Egg or Frittata, Coffee Cup Egg, Assorted Bagels (cream cheese, butter or PB&J), Extra Fancy Bagels and, on Saturday only, the Quiche.

If you want something sweet, they also have seasonal fruit pie and Empanada, the scones, a Chocolate or plain Croissant, assorted muffins, assorted cookies and Cinnamon Roll (while supplies last).

For lunch you can choose from several bagel sandwiches, including the Coffee House Bagel Sandwich, Pizza Bagel Sandwich, Camino Reuben (yum!) Or Bird Bagel Sandwich. If for some reason your child at school forgot his or her lunch or you need one or more for a meeting, they can quickly put together a Coffee House Lunch Boxes for you.

The soups and specials include: Monday: Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder, Tuesday: no soup but beef or chicken tacos; Wednesday: no lunch served; Thursday: Sausage Lentil Soup; Friday: Chicken Tortilla Soup and on Saturday, the spectacular French Onion Soup.

Finally, they have an Apple Blossom Salad, mixed greens topped with a sprinkling of cranberries, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese with their signature apple/honey vinaigrette on the side. Diced apples replace the cranberries in season.

Again, Apple Blossom Coffee House is located at 4077 Carson Road in Camino and is open Monday and Tuesday from 7 until 2, Wednesday from 7 until 11, Thursday through Saturday from 7 until 2 and closed on Sunday.

For more information give them a call at (530) 644-0284.

By the way, if you are a fan of the movie and TV show M.A.S.H., you will easily remember the address: 4077 Carson Road.