Parrotts Ferry Bridge

Calaveras County, California Tour

Calaveras County Communities

Calaveras County, California. The population was 45,578. in the 2010 census. San Andreas, is the county seat and Angels Camp is the only city that is incorporated. Calaveras means skulls; the district was purportedly named for the remains of Native Americans found by the Spanish explorer Captain Gabriel Moraga.

Calaveras County is located in in both the Gold Country and High Sierra California regions.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a Giant Sequoia tree preserve, is a few miles east of Arnold on State Highway 4. Augustus T. Dowd, a trapper, made the discovery these giant sequoias in 1852 while he was tracking a bear. The unusual gold telluride mineral calaverite was found in the county in 1861 and was subsquently named for it.


Jenny Lind 1856 colorized
Jenny Lind 1856 colorized
In 1927, Bob and Bernice Arnold, opened the Ebbetts Pass Inn. Preceding that, the community comprised of two large ranches where logging was the fundamental industry. The motel inn became a stop for individuals traveling along the Ebbetts Pass route and in addition lodging for those visiting adjacent Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Camp Wolfeboro was set up close-by as a Boy Scout camp in 1928 and keeps on being in operation today. The first post office was established in 1934. Bernice Arnold was its postmistress at one time.


Avery Hotel
Avery Hotel
Avery is situated on State Route 4 and features the oldest hotel in constant operation in the country, the Avery Hotel Restaurant and Saloon. Built in 1853, it was called the "Half Way House," being situated between Murphys, Arnold, and the Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

The community is named after its first postmaster, George J. Avery. The post office was established in 1885, shut down in 1943, and re-established in 1949.


Copperpolis Town Square
Copperpolis Town Square
Copperopolis made its mark during the 1860s when the adjacent copper mines were providing material to the Union Army's ammunition. Around 10,000 individuals lived there then and dozens of businesses were in operation. The Calaveras Heritage Council said the copper area was the second most critical in the nation.


Initially known as Cold Springs Ranch, name of the town changed when the post office was established in 1902. Dorrington was the maiden name of the wife of the first postmaster. The post office was closed in 1919, re-established in 1921 and shut for good in 1934.

Forest Meadows

Forest Meadows is a census-designated community in Calaveras County. The population was 1,249 at the 2010 census, up from 1,197 at the 2000 census.


Located 10 miles northeast of Mokelumne Hill along present Highway 26, at one time, the formal name of Glencoe was Mosquito Gulch. The business segment of the town was on located the north side of Mosquito Gulch, although not one of the old buildings remain today. Initially Mexicans worked the mines in the early 1850s. Quartz mining prevailed yet there was some placer mining too. The town is registered as California Historical Landmark #280.

In 1858, the first post office was opened at Mosquito and closed in 1869; In 1873, it was re-established up as Mosquito Gulch. The town was renamed to Glencoe in 1912; the post office again closed in 1916, however was re-opened in 1947.

Jenny Lind

Jenny Lind 1856 colorized
Jenny Lind 1856 colorized
Jenny Lind I.O.O.F.
Jenny Lind I.O.O.F.
Jenny Lind Bridge
Jenny Lind Bridge
Jenny Lind Bridge
Jenny Lind Bridge
Jenny Lind Bridge
Jenny Lind Bridge

Situated on the north bank of the Calaveras River, the community of Jenny Lind became a placer mining town as early as 1849. The vast majority of the placer mining was done along the slopes over the waterway; later the stream was mined using dredgers. By 1864 the population was said to be around 400, with half being Chinese. Located on the road from Stockton, it was an important freighting community for the territory.

The town is named after the Swedish singer Jenny Lind, and there are several stories with reference to why this is so. One story says that it was truly named for Dr. John Y. Lind, while another says that the braying of pack donkeys incited the miners to utilize the vocalist's name in snide humor. In all probability, it was named in the artist's respect, despite the fact that she was never in California. The town today is California Historical Landmark #266. A post office was located in Jenny Lind from 1857 through 1944 and again from 1947 through 1951.

Mokelumne Hill

Hotel Leger 8304 Main Street Mokelumne Hill was one of the richest California gold mining towns. Established in 1848 by a group from Oregon, the placers were rich to the point that the miners risked starving rather than make a trip to Stockton for more provisions (one person did just that and made it rich by turning into a merchant). Soon after, gold was found in the local hills, there was so much gold that miners were confined to 16 square feet claims, but then many claims were reported to yield as much as to $20,000.


Jenny Lind Bridge
Milton Railroad Depot
Completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1871 also marked the founding of the town of Milton. Named for Milton Latham, one of the railroad construction engineers, it was the first town in Calaveras County to feature a railroad. Cargo and travelers continued their journey to other Calaveras County areas by wagon and stagecoach. Also the town was the terminus of the Stockton and Copperopolis Railroad. The town registered as California Historical Landmark #262. A post office established in 1871 and shut down in 1942.

Mountain Ranch

The settlement was founded during the California Gold Rush. The post office was established in 1858. In 1868, it was relocated to another community called El Dorado Camp 1.5 miles south, however there was at that point an El Dorado post office in California, El Dorado Camp was named Mountain Ranch.

As of now, there are 3 post office buildings located in the town. The present one, a small station built 1956, and a post office constructed in 1923 which was once labeled the world's smallest post office. The original area of the town also features a historical landmark. The bell on the historic marker was utilized as a part of the local school from 1885 to 1953. Founded in 1855 as Cave City School District, in 1946, this school joined with the Banner District to be the El Dorado Union Elementary School District.

The last of the gold mines closed in 1942. Further economic misfortunes occurred in the 1970s, when local sawmills closed, also in 1983 when the Calaveras Cement Co. shut down. In 2015, the town was ravaged again by the Butte Fire. Over 350 homes along the edges of town burned, however firefighters and local ranches spared the greater part of the downtown.


Murphys Main Street Murphys, Daniel and John and were members of the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party, the first party of immigrants to bring wagons from the East and to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains into Sutter's Fort in Sacramento in 1844. They made their income as merchants, but like so many others, they started prospecting at the time the California Gold Rush started. They first began in the town of Vallecito, which was called by many at the time as "Murphys Old Diggings," prior to them moving on in 1848 to another location which turned into "Murphys New Diggings," "Murphy's Camp," until ultimately just plain "Murphys."

Rail Road Flat

This historic mining town, was named after primitive mule-drawn ore cars used in the area. There was never really a railroad here. The town was founded in 1849 on the site of an Indian council and in addition the center of both placer and quartz mining. Its largest mine was the Petticoat Mine. The post office was set up in 1857, shut in 1858, and re-opened in 1869 and the Edwin Taylor store opened in 1867. The town's population was obliterated in 1880 by black fever.

The Clark Reservoir was created when W.V. Clark, an engineer built a ditch running from the Mokelumne River, as there was very little water to work the placers. The reservoir, situated on his property, provided water to both the mines and to the town. Registered as California Historical Landmark #286.

Rancho Calaveras

Rancho Calaveras Lake
Rancho Calaveras Lake
When it was built in the 1960s, Rancho Calaveras was California's largest residential subdivision. The Pacific Cascade Land Co. of San Leandro bought 1200 acres of land from the Lombardi Family and an additional 4000 acres were acquired from the Dennis Family and the land was subdivided into 3620 parcels ranging from half acre to three acre parcels. In the early stages, Rancho Calaveras incorporated an airport, rodeo grounds and horse stables. A real estate broker's dream, agents from all through the state flocked to the subdivision. Pacific Cascade, in any case, expeditiously sold the Rancho Calaveras subdivision to Boise Cascade for 36,000,000, which at long last divested its final interest 1973. The only prior history remaining is the name of Lake Dennis.

San Andreas

<br>Main Street
Main Street
San Andreas was named after the Catholic parish St. Andrew, and settled by Mexican gold miners in 1948, the town has been a prominent mining camp since early on. The gold from the at first discovered placers gave out after just a few years, however the discovery of gold in an underground waterway in 1853 renewed the camp and it soon turned into a town.

Sheep Ranch

Sheepranch has a colorful history. The town was once encompassed by sheep corrals, and in 1860 gold was found in the corrals where the sheep were kept overnight. Before long Sheepranch was a clamoring gold mining town. Prior to the turn of the century there were five prospering gold mines and one featured a ten-stamp mill. The town likewise had 15 saloons." On August 4, 1880, Judge Ira Hill Read. patented the town. The main mine in the local area was called the Hearst mine. George Hearst, who with partners purchased the mine in 1897, was also the father of William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper man. The mine operated under different company names until closed by the government in 1942.

Sheepranch at one time had two places of worship, one Catholic and the other Protestant. The nearby red school house, which still stands today as a private home, had two teachers until 1907 when the enrollment dropped to 30 students. The Eagle Hotel along with the Pioneer Hotel were the two unmistakable local establishments, however just the Pioneer Hotel stands today. The first post office was established in 1877, and was renamed Sheepranch in 1895.


Vallecito was one of California's important early-on mining towns. Gold was found here in 1849 by the Murphy brothers, and it was initially called "Murphys Diggings," which was later called "Murphys Old Diggings" when they proceeded onward to greener pastures at "Murphys New Diggings" (which turned into the town of Murphys). The town was rejuvenated in 1852 when extremely rich gold deposits were found running for all intents and purposes through the middle of town. A post office opened in 1854, which is still being used today.

The Vallecito Bell, was cast at Troy, New York in 1853, and brought around Cape Horn. It was acquired from the ship with moneys contributed by early-day inhabitants and brought to Vallecito and erected in a huge oak tree in 1854. It was utilized to assemble the general population until February 16, 1939, when an extreme wind blew down the old tree. The first post office was established in 1854 as Vallicita; the name was changed to Vallecito in 1940.

Valley Springs

Valley Springs RailRoad Depot
Valley Springs RailRoad Depot
The San Joaquin and Sierra Nevada Railroad finished a narrow-gauge gage railroad in 1885 from Brack's Landing into Valley Springs. There was an old railroad station known "Kokines station". The line was later to become the property of Southern Pacific Railroad, and a standard-gage line into Valley Springs was built. A post office was opened here in 1872, shut down in 1879, and re-opened up in 1882.


Pettinger Road, outside Wallace
Pettinger Road, outside Wallace
Wallace RailRoad Depot
Wallace RailRoad Depot
The name of the surveyor, John Herbert Wallace is on the 1883 map of the town site. It has been widely speculated that he is the person the town is named after. Although according to historian Sal Manna, the town is named for John Herbert Wallace's dad, John Wallace, who was a engineer and surveyor of the area. He had been elected as San Joaquin County surveyor. John Wallace was additionally a older brother of Alfred Russel Wallace, a leading nineteenth century British naturalist who autonomously built up a hypothesis of normal determination around an indistinguishable time from Charles Darwin. John Wallace had initially come to California for the California Gold Rush, however was unsuccessful as a miner

West Point

West Point was initially the name of a camp set up here by scout Kit Carson, who was looking for a pass over the Sierra Nevada. The town was called Indian Gulch when first established in 1852. The first post office was established in 1856, the name of the town changed to Westpoint in 1895 and the name changed back to West Point in 1947.

One emigrant road passed by Big Meadow — its north branch came straightforwardly to West Point, which was a flourishing trading post before the discovery of gold. Writer Bret Harte lived there for a period.

Former Communities


Camanchie Marker Camanche (at first, called Limerick; and also, Clay's Bar) is a previous Calaveras County community. It lay at a height of 220 feet. Once called Limerick, the town was later named Camanche (after a town in Camanche, Iowa) in 1849. The population rose to a peak of 1,500 because of gold mining at nearby Poverty Bar, Cat Camp, and Sand Hill. Mokelumne River water was delivered by Lancha Plana and Poverty Bar Ditch. On June 21, 1873, a fire destroyed the huge Chinatown population. Buhach, an insect powder produced using a plant, was made on the nearby Hill Ranch. Camanche is now immersed by Camanche Reservoir. The settlement is California Historical Landmark #254. In 1861, A post office was opened in Clay's Bar and renamed Camanche in 1864 before being closed in 1886; it was re-opened in 1887 and shut for good in 1962.

Cat Camp

Poverty Bar

Poverty Bar was a settlement in Calaveras County now covered Camanche Reservoir waters. The closest major community is Campo Seco. Poverty Bar was established as a gold mining town south of the Mokelumne River from the Lancha Plana community in Amador County during the California Gold Rush, near Cat Camp, Camanche, and Sand Hill.

A post office was established in Poverty Bar in 1858 and closed down in 1864. Poverty Bar had a major fire on September 7, 1859. The fire started in the Lorengo and Co. grocery store, close to the middle of the town, and spread so quickly in different directions that the whole town was on fire in just a few minutes. It seemed to have been arson, the second such episode there during that summer.

During the Civil War, in 1856, the town raised a California Militia Company, he Union Guard and maintained it until its declining populace forced it to move. "On July 23, 1866, the militia company was reorganized and their central command relocated to Campo Seco."

In 1964, preceding the filling of the Comanche Reservoir, the graves in the Poverty Bar cemetery were moved to the old Pioneer Cemetery along with the People's Cemetery in San Andreas.

Sand Hill

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