Where Did That Road Name Come From? J- L

Continuing through the alphabet of common and obscure names given the local roads and streets over the past century and a half:

Jackpine Road is named for the gray-green pine tree that grows on the less fertile and drier soils in our county. For many years the tree was also known as the Digger Pine, after the local Native Americans who ate the pine nuts from the tree and were called “Diggers” because they also dug up roots and bulbs for food and other uses. More recently the tree has been officially re-named the Gray Pine to be more politically correct.

Jacquier Road (pronounced jake way) is a road in Smith Flat connecting Smith Flat Road (old Highway 50) and Carson Road. It is named for the Jacquier family who owned property in that area.

Jay Hawk Court, Jayhawk Drive and the Jayhawk Cemetery in Rescue are named for early settlers who came not from Kansas, but from Missouri in the 1850s (Kansas not becoming a state until 1861). The term was later applied to guerrilla raiders in Kansas during the Civil War.

Johntown Creek Road is named for a creek near Garden Valley that is one of the first places prospected north of the Coloma valley following the discovery of gold in January of 1848.

The town named Johntown, which was actually a suburb of Garden Valley, was located at the junction of Manhattan and Empire creeks (the headwaters of Johntown Creek). It was often used interchangeably with Garden Valley through the late 1880’s. Who the creek, town and road was named for is lost in history, although there is a possibility that it was named for an early settler, John Cody, who built a sawmill there.

Kanaka Valley Road, is a road that leads to Kanaka Valley, near Salmon Falls.
The term Kanaka, comes from the Hawaiian word for person or human being and was used to identify the immigrant natives from the Sandwich Islands (later Hawai’i) in the mid-1850s, including most of the crew on the ship that brought John Sutter to California from the Sandwich Islands. They were not liked by the American miners because they were great swimmers and would dive into the rivers and pick up gold nuggets. Kanaka soon became a derogatory word in California.

Kelsey Road and Kelsey Canyon Road get their name from the two brothers, Benjamin and Samuel Kelsey, early miners after whom the town of Kelsey is named.
Benjamin, his wife Nancy and their daughter, Ann, were members of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party which arrived in California in 1841, making Nancy and Ann the first white women to cross the plains into California. Benjamin and Samuel’s brother Andrew, also a member of that party, settled in Lake County and was killed in 1849 by the local natives whom he reportedly did not treat well. The town of Kelseyville in that county is named in his memory.

Kentucky Flat Road serves Kentucky Flat, a large area near Otter Creek, east of Georgetown that was first settled by a group of miners from Kentucky. Later, Aretas J. and Isabella Wilton settled on 160 acres there, engaging in mining and agriculture while raising four children.

Kingvale Road runs in a southerly direction from Motherlode Drive between El Dorado and Shingle Springs. At the intersection of the two roads was the community of Kingvale (sometimes called Kingsville) and the Kingsville House, a roadhouse claimed by the owners in 1853 (without much basis in fact) to be the “largest building in the state”.

Latrobe Road, which becomes El Dorado Hills Boulevard north of Highway 50, is named for the town of Latrobe, which it serves from both the north and the south, connecting with Highway 16 near Rancho Murietta.

The town and the road were named prior to 1864, by the Chief Engineer for the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad, F. A. Bishop, who surveyed and platted the town into small lots to sell and make money for the railroad. While doing so, he suggested the name of Latrobe for the new town, in honor of Benjamin H. Latrobe, Jr., the civil engineer for the first railroad in the United States. It is now believed that Latrobe, Pennsylvania is named after him, not 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).

Logtown Ridge Road, or more often Logtown Road, was the former name for a portion of Highway 49 between the town of El Dorado and the Amador County line.
The town of Logtown was about two miles south of El Dorado and was a large mining camp with a population of 420 in the 1850 census. Although no one seems to know for sure how the town got its name, it is believed that it was named for the log cabins that the early miners built.

Sources for this story include: “Atlas of California,” by Donley, Allan, Caro and Patton (1979); “California Gold Camps,” by Erwin Gudde (1975); “California Place Names,” by Erwin Gudde, 3rd Edition (1974); “History of El Dorado County,” by Paolo Sioli (1883), reprinted and indexed by the El Dorado Friends of the Library (1998); the Mountain Democrat, 1854-present; the Empire County Argus (Coloma), 1853-1856; the Californian (Monterey), 1846-47; the California Star (1847-48) and the Alta California (San Francisco), 1849-1850.

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