Monthly Archives: July 2014

Post Offices of El Dorado County, Part 16 – “S”

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.

Salmon Falls 1862SALMON FALLS – The post office at this 1848 mining camp located on the South Fork of the American River a few miles northeast of Folsom City was established prior to Oct. 7, 1851, the date the first postmaster, George Coon, was confirmed by the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C.

The name of the mining camp and the post office came from the display of salmon spawning below the falls near this camp.

Service was discontinued on Jan. 18, 1875 and reestablished less than a month later on Feb. 15, 1875. It was again discontinued on Nov. 15, 1893 and reestablished two days later on Nov. 17. On Nov. 30, 1912 the post office was discontinued and the mail moved to Folsom City in Sacramento County.

ShingleSHINGLE SPRING – The post office at this early mining town and shingle mill site along the main immigration road from the east to Sacramento, was established on Feb. 3, 1853 with D. Thomkins serving as the first postmaster.

Service at this post office, located ten miles southwest of Placerville, was discontinued on Mar. 30, 1855 and then reestablished on Oct. 10, 1865 with an “s” added to the name making it Shingle Springs. On May 11, 1895 the name of the post office was again changed, this time to simply Shingle. On Mar. 1, 1955, the post office changed the name for the last time, making it officially Shingle Springs. This post office is still in operation.

 

Slatington2SLATINGTON – This post office, at the top of Chili Bar Grade, six miles north of Placerville, was established on Mr. 3, 1903 with James McGraw as its first postmaster.
Its name is derived from the hand split slate shingles that were made at a mine nearby.

On Oct. 31, 1912 service was discontinued and then reestablished on Jul. 3, 1916. On Sep. 23, 1920 the post office was moved one and one-half miles to the northeast and the name changed to Kelsey.

 

 

Slippery Ford 1865

Slippery Ford 1865

SLIPPERY FORD – This early post office, thirty-three miles east of Placerville along the South Fork of the American River, was established on Nov. 21, 1861 with Powell Crosley serving as its first postmaster.

The name came from a large, slippery rock that made the river crossing (ford) very hazardous.

In 1896 the name was changed to one word, Slipperyford and on Jan. 13, 1911 the Slipperyford Post Office was discontinued and its name changed to Kyburz, in honor of Samuel E. Kyburz. The Kyburz Post Office is still in operation.

A few miles to the east was another crossing of the river known as Slippery Ford. The location of the Slippery Ford House which flourished as a stop along the road to the gold and silver mines of Virginia City, Nevada during the 1860s. The two are often confused. This second one was later known as Twin Bridges.

Smith's Flat 1883

Smith’s Flat 1883

SMITH’S FLAT – This post office, located three and one-half miles east of Placerville, was established on Jan. 31, 1876 with George B. Raffetto as postmaster.
Named for Jeb Smith, a pioneer rancher.

It was on the main road between Placerville and Lake Tahoe (Highway 50) until the freeway bypassed it in the 1960s.

On Sep. 7, 1895 the name of this post office was changed to one word, Smithflat, with the “s” dropped. The Smithflat Post Office, originally in the Smith Flat or Three Mile House, was discontinued in the 1980s and the mail moved to Placerville.

 

SOMERSET – The Somerset Post Office was established on Aug. 1, 1950 with a name change from Youngs. Previously the post office was at a resort known as Youngs, a short distance to the north on the North Fork of the Cosumnes River. It was closed and moved to this location. The first postmaster at Somerset was Aimee Hicks.

The name for this community (and later the post office) at the intersection of Mt. Aukum Road and Buck’s Bar / Grizzly Flat roads, was given to it in about 1856 by some early settlers from Somerset, Ohio.

The Somerset Post Office, which is thirteen miles southeast of Placerville, is still in operation.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – This post office, serving most of the California communities at the southern end of Lake Tahoe, was established on Mar. 24, 1967 when several small towns were incorporated into the City of South Lake Tahoe and the post office at Bijou closed. Willis W. Brown was the first postmaster.

This post office is still in operation.

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 15 – “R” – “S”

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.

Rescue 1896

Rescue 1896

RESCUE – The Rescue Post Office was established on June 12, 1895 with Merritt A. Hunter serving as the first postmaster. The history of the establishment of a post office at this important way station on the wagon road from Sacramento to the “diggins” is quite interesting.

The town was originally called Green Valley, but the U.S. Post Office Department decided that there were already too many towns with that name in California.

The Department requested the owner of the building that housed the post office, one Dr. Hunter, to submit a list of new, one-word names for the town from which the Department would choose the one they liked. One proposed name on the list was given to Dr. Hunter by Andrew Hare, who had a nearby mining claim called the Rescue Claim. His claim had “rescued” him from poverty and he thought it would be a fine name for the town. Apparently the Post Office Department agreed with Mr. Hare.

On July 1, 1962, the post office changed its location to the Rose Springs Literary Society Meeting Hall, with Mrs. Ila Wing Brazil as acting Postmaster (she was officially appointed Postmaster on October 23, 1963).

The entire upstairs of this historic structure, dated 1896, has a magnificent dance floor where once great celebrations were held. Downstairs contains the Post Office and areas that could be used meeting rooms. The building is being carefully restored to its original magnificence by the Rescue Volunteer Fire Association, using private funds. The Rescue Post Office is still in existence at this location.

RINGGOLD – This post office about two miles east of Diamond Springs was established prior to Feb. 20, 1852, the date the postmaster, Jacob L. Sargent, was appointed by the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C.

The community and a local gold mine were both named for an early explorer of the Sacramento Valley and foothills named Lieutenant Commander Cadwalader Ringgold. He is also partially responsible for the naming of many of other landmarks such as the American River.

Service at the Ringgold Post Office was discontinued on Nov. 22, 1853 and the mail moved to Placerville.

Riverton 1896

Riverton 1896

RIVERTON – This post office on the South Fork of the American River five miles east of Pacific (House) and eleven miles west of Slippery Ford (Kyburz) was established on Aug. 2, 1893 with Charles Sandfoss serving as the first postmaster.

As early as 1864 there was a respectable inn at this “River Side” location which was also the first station east of Sportsman’s Hall to service the Central Overland Express and was the first Pony Express remount station east of Sportsman’s Hall. Prior to being called Riverton, the location was known as Moore’s Station, however there was no post office by that name at this location.

The post office was discontinued on May 31, 1898 and the mail moved to Slippery Ford (Kyburz).

Just west of the present Highway 50 bridge is a plaque designating Moore’s (Riverton) as a California State Historic Landmark (#705).

ROWLAND – This post office at the southern end of Lake Tahoe was established on June 26, 1864 with Sophonia Rowland at the first postmaster according to one list and Thomas B. Rowland according to another list.

The post office was named for another Rowland, Bernard F. Rowland, the developer of the vacation and recreational resort at this site.
On Sep. 11, 1888 the post office was moved one and one-quarter miles to the east and the name changed to Bijou.

Rubicon 1902

Rubicon 1902

RUBICON – This post office, located four and one-half miles north of Emerald Bay, was established on May 4, 1901 with Amos L. Frost as postmaster.

This site, along with the Bay, Park, Peak and Lake by this name, is named for the Rubicon River which the pioneers found difficult to cross.

The post office was discontinued on Apr. 30, 1906 and reestablished on Mar. 8, 1909. On Sep. 30, 1913, service was again discontinued and the mail moved to the Emerald Bay seasonal post office.

RUBICON LODGE – This post office, two and one-half miles south of Meeks Bay was established on Dec. 15, 1921 with Hans Hansen serving as the first postmaster.
The name was derived from the summer resort community by this name.

On Aug. 15, 1924 the post office was discontinued and then reestablished on July 9, 1925. On Oct. 31, 1931, service was again discontinued and the mail moved to Meeks Bay.

St. LawrenceSAINT LAWRENCEBURGH – This post office located four miles north of Kelsey and four miles south of Garden Valley was first established on June 20, 1872 with Kate H. Anderson serving as the first postmaster.

Named for the nearby Saint Lawrence Mine (gold), service at this post office on the main road from Placerville to Georgetown continued until Feb. 1, 1875.
On Apr. 15, 1880 service was reestablished and the “burgh” dropped from the name. On Aug. 23, 1882 the post office was discontinued and the mail moved to Placerville.

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); “The Pollock Pines Epic” by Marilyn Parker (1988); “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 14 – “P” – “R”

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.

Placerville 1852

Placerville 1852

PLACERVILLE – This Gold Rush post office was established some time prior to Apr. 9, 1850, the date that the first postmaster, Thomas C. Nugent, was appointed by the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C. 

The name comes from the gravel (placer) mining that took place in the area. The town was also known as the Ravine City, Old Dry Diggin’s and the infamous Hangtown, but no records show a post office by any of those names. The location of this post office is “officially” forty-four miles northeast of Sacramento.

The Placerville Post Office, although it has changed its location several times, is still in operation.

 

Pleasant Valley 1871

Pleasant Valley 1871

PLEASANT VALLEY – The Pleasant Valley Post Office was established on Mar. 23, 1864 with John B. Hass serving as the first postmaster.

The discovery of the area called Pleasant Valley is attributed to Henry W. Bigler who, on June 18, 1848 arrived in this area with two companies of the Mormon Battalion trying to find a new route to Salt Lake City, since the Truckee Route was impassable due to snow.

On Dec. 31, 1917, the post office was discontinued and the mail moved to Placerville

 

POLLOCK PINES – This post office was established on Apr. 28, 1936 with Mrs. Alice P. Grout serving as the first postmaster.

The name stems from an early land developer, Hiram Robert Pollock, who arrived here with his wife Anna and son Claude Earl, around 1909. A lumberman by trade, he borrowed money and built a saw mill. When the mill was destroyed by fire in the early 1930s Hiram and Anna Pollock started selling lots in a subdivision they created out of a piece of land that lay along the ridge, on both sides of Cedar Grove School. They called it Pollock Pines. The Pollock Pines Post Office is still in operation.

PominsPOMINS – This Lake Tahoe Basin post office was established on July 23, 1915 (local historians say 1914) with Frank J. Pomin serving as the first postmaster.

Pomins was a vacation resort located one and one-quarter miles south of McKinney (Placer County) and nine miles north of Emerald Bay. The post office was discontinued on Nov. 30, 1942 and the mail moved to Chambers Lodge (formerly McKinney) in Placer County.

QUINTETTE – The Quintette Post Office was established on Aug. 7, 1903 with Frederick H. Douglas serving as the first postmaster.

Located twelve miles to the east of Georgetown, on Wentworth Springs Road, Quintette it was named for John J. Quinn who had received the original land grant for this piece of forest land in 1889. Almost immediately he sold the land to the Barklage brothers who actually started the community of Quintette, which was supported by a logging camp and the Blue Bird Mine.

The post office was discontinued on May 31, 1912, and the mail moved four miles northwest to the town of Virner. Less than a year later, on March 31, 1913, the Post Office at Virner would close and the mail moved to Georgetown.

RandallRANDALL – The post office at Randall was established on Mar. 27, 1917 at a site on the South Fork of the American River, seven miles east of Pacific (House). The first postmaster and operator of a resort at this location was Albert B. Randall, thus the name.

Service at the Randall Post Office was discontinued on Aug. 14, 1937 and the mail moved to Pacific. Randall’s resort was known as Whitehall, although there was no post office by that name.

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 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).