It was a stroke of luck that I stumbled upon the original 1861 map of the Sacramento, Placer & Nevada Railroad (SPNRR) map in the California State Archives. With a digitized version of the original map, I could then compare the constructed rail line to modern roads and Folsom Lake shown on 20th century maps. While the 1861 and modern day maps don’t align perfectly, there are enough similarities to confirm suspicions of the route through the Folsom and Granite Bay areas.
It can be a difficult task to locate the faint outlines of the Negro Hill Ditch which is usually under water at Folsom Lake. But when the lake is low enough it’s possible to find the old grade and structures associated with the historic water canal that ran from east of Salmon Falls down to Negro Hill and Massachusetts Flat. In the autumn of 2016 I was able to complete my goal of walking along most of the Negro Hill Ditch.
As the lake level drops, the history is revealed. As Folsom Lake hit record low water levels in 2015, a whole lot of history was revealed. A drought shrunken Folsom Lake of 2015 was the highlight for a guy like me who had been hiking around the reservoir for years looking for historical sites. After numerous hikes around the North and South Forks of the American River at Folsom Lake, I finally organized my photographs and historical research into a book, Hidden History Beneath Folsom Lake – Hiking Across a Dry Lake in Time of Drought.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with Placer County have released new flood hazard maps and my house is right in the middle of the floodway. According to the preliminary maps, my house never should have been built and I will be required to secure flood insurance if the preliminary flood maps are approved and become effective in June 2017. The new flood maps put the kiss of death on my ability to ever sell my house, my investment, my future. Thank you FEMA and Placer County.
For history buffs there is nothing closer to heaven than examining an old map. I share that fascination and also enjoy sharing old maps that I’ve found. Recently I uploaded a map published in 1910 by the American River & Natomas Water & Mining Company illustrating their network of canals. The map is generally topographically accurate and includes some place names not found on previous or later topographical maps.
I had always noticed Rose Springs and Rock Springs marked on maps that encompassed the south Placer county region we know today as Granite Bay. It wasn’t until Folsom Lake hit historically low water levels that what I think are Rose and Rock springs became apparent to me.
It was a political junket that inspired the 1865 map of the western United States and territories. In the summer of 1865 Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican in Massachusetts, traveled across the territories of the United States to California with Speaker of the House of Representatives Schuyler Colfax. Specifically included on the map are the […]
It was perhaps the first publicly finance railroad in California. Unfortunately, the Sacramento, Placer and Nevada Railroad was cut short by an even larger publicly financed railroad know as the Central Pacific. (Click on the photos to enlarge, full gallery of images at end of post.) Iron horse for commerce As soon as the Sacramento Valley Railroad […]