Highway 50

Roads from the western county line to Lake Tahoe

Along White Rock Road – Part 1, White Rock to Clarksville

Courtesy of Steve Crandell, Fine Art, Placerville, CA

Courtesy of Steve Crandell, Fine Art, Placerville, CA

The major immigrant trail through El Dorado County was known by many names. Some called it the Carson – Immigrant Trail, some the Overland Trail, some the Sacramento – Washoe Road and some White Rock Road.

Because hundreds of thousands of immigrants followed this road west and later the long lines of freight traffic followed it east, there became established on it numerous stops and inns to serve these travelers.

We will look at at this road in a west to east direction, starting just west of the El Dorado County line and ending in Placerville. At Placerville, we continue our journey over the summit of the Sierra Nevada, through the American River Canyon, along what is now known as Highway 50.

The White Rock Springs Ranch Hotel, which was located about a mile and a quarter to the west of the El Dorado County line, derived its name from both a natural spring on the south side of the road and an isolated outcropping of white “bull quartz” on the north side of the road.

The ranch and the hotel were purchased by William Chapman in the fall of 1850 and later, sometime after 1880, by Samuel (Sophary?) Euer. Although the hotel started as not much more than a tent in the early days of the Gold Rush, it soon grew into a large hotel and tavern, important enough to give the road its name.

Just west of the County was the Aldridge Ravine House, on the south side of the road across from a grove of cottonwoods. Little is known about this station along the road other than about 1857 the proprietor was a James Douglas.

About a half mile later, on the south side of the road and just inside El Dorado County was the Bar-E Ranch which was also known as the Dennis Philip Bence property.

It was acquired by Samuel Euer in 1864, a number of years before he purchased the White Rock Springs Ranch House. One hundred and twenty years later, much of the Bar E Ranch – by then known as the Euer Ranch – would become the El Dorado Hills Business Park.

A short distance further along the road is the Carson River House, located on the north side of the road on the bank of Carson Creek, a tributary of the Cosumnes River. Little more is known about this stop other than the name of an early proprietor being Paris.