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.
The name was derived from Virner or Camp Virner, a mining camp and then a vacation resort at this location between Georgetown and Quintette, on what is now known as Wentworth Springs Road.
The Virner Post Office was discontinued on Mar. 31, 1913 and the mail moved to Georgetown.
In the 1800’s, James W. Marshall, the discoverer of gold at Coloma, built a cabin near here in Marshall Ravine.
VOLCANOVILLE – The post office at this mining camp from the 1850’s was not established until July 8, 1930, when Mrs. Clara P. Fraser was appointed as the first postmaster.
Located a few miles to the north of Kentucky Flat, on a point overlooking the Middle Fork of the American River, the town of Volcanoville was so named because a nearby mountain seemed to be an extinct volcano and the miners had to work through lava cement (a hardened ash/mud deposit) to get to the gold. When an 1879 forest fire destroyed most of the buildings in town, a majority of the mines closed. But, two years later the Dore (Maurice Dore) Mine was reopened as the Josephine Mine, taking its name from its new owner, Joseph Nouges. By the 1890s the mine was so successful that the town itself was actually renamed Josephine.
The Josephine post office was established on August 12, 1895 with store owner Jerome C. Akley as postmaster. The post office would be discontinued on October 20, 1915 and reestablished on July 11 of the next year. It would be closed for good on October 31, 1917.
It wasn’t until after the name of the town was changed back to Volcanoville that the Volcanoville post office was opened. Postal service was discontinued on January 31, 1953 and the mail moved to Georgetown.
By the 1960s most everything had shut down an a sign at the entrance to the town read: “Volcanoville. Pop. 4. Elev. 3036.”
At that time, Vera Frazier and her son Jim owned the town and operated a museum in a building that has once been a dance hall, general store and saloon. The museum burned in 1969, leaving only a few residences and a beer parlor.
YANKS STATION – This location on the main road through the Lake Tahoe Valley never had an official post office. However, it was an important Pioneer Stage Line Company stop and cancellations with this name have been reported.
The official post office at this location was named Lake Valley.
The name of this 1850 gold mining camp, located at the junction of the North and South Forks of the Cosumnes River, is derived from “Yomet” an Indian word for some nearby falls.
In 1854 the southern boundary of El Dorado County was shifted and the post office found itself in Amador County. On June 8, 1861 the post office was closed and the mail moved to Jackson (Amador County).
YOUNGS – This post office, located at a vacation resort called Youngs, on the North Fork of the Cosumnes River one mile north of Somerset, was established on Mar. 7, 1924 with Morgan W. Young serving as the first postmaster.
On Aug. 1, 1950 the post office was closed and moved one mile south and renamed Somerset. The Somerset Post Office is still in operation.
ZODOK – This post office was established on Aug. 6, 1887 with Jasper M. Bell serving as the first postmaster.
The Postal Route Map shows the location of this post office as being five miles south of Placerville, but gives no origin for its unique name.
Less than one year after it opened, on June 30, 1888, service 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); “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).