Isaac Hinkle was 25 years old and working on his father’s farm in Indiana in 1880. His older brother Amos had left the farm for California and Isaac decided to follow him in 1881. By 1882 Isaac was a registered voter in Sacramento County’s Mississippi Township. In 1885 Isaac married Jessie Brown and would have a long marriage with Jessie for the next 48 years. Also in 1885 Isaac Hinkle would make his first land purchase. He bought land in the town of Ashland from John Cardwell who was a large owner of in the area for $850. Even though the land was within the Public Land Survey System of Townships and Ranges, the deed refers to original metes and bounds description before the 1865 official survey map.
I’m a typical history nerd who daydreams while driving about old trains or historical events that took place on the same road I’m driving over. The daydreams turn obsessive when I’ve read and researched about certain historical events and I can almost recreate them in my mind. A good example is the path the California Central Railroad took from Folsom to Roseville, California, in 1861. I’ve driven and walked over so much of the rail grade that is accessible, and thought about its construction and daily operations, that I finally made a video about retracing the long forgotten railroad grade.
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.
With Folsom Lake water levels low in the autumn of 2016, I decided to hike from Rattlesnake Bar up the North Fork of the American River to see if I could catch glimpses of gold rush era history. The terrain was far more difficult than I imagine. While I know the river canyon has change since the gold rush of 1849, I was surprised at just how arduous the hiking along this stretch of the river must have been for the gold miners.
Most postcards, even from the 19th century, feature a historic building or natural wonder such as Half Dome in Yosemite. I came across a postcard from the early 20th century featuring the environmental destruction of hydraulic mining in Weaverville, California. The title of the image on the small postcard is “#21 Hydrulicing At La Grange Mines […]
From the shoreline of Granite Bay Beach Park at Folsom Lake you can probably see where Mr. Reppert was buried in 1849 in an unmarked grave far away from home and family. The death and burial of this gold rush miner comes to us from a fellow traveler and miner who wrote about his experiences in the […]
When I picked up the old photo in an Antique shop in Albany I was immediate struck by hpw the suspension bridge supporting a water pipe across a river could be the one across the American River to the Zantgraf mine built in 1899. But upon closer inspection, and studying a companion photo, this suspension bridge was at another site in California. My research indicates that the suspension bridge was built to deliver water to a 1930’s hydraulic mining operations on the east side of the South Fork of the Trinity river, just south of the confluence of the South Fork and main Trinity River in Salyer, CA.
A group of Native Americans from Georgia settled in the area working the exposed auriferous gravel deposit north of Table Mountain and called the area Cherokee. By 1855 there were several small placer mining operations working the ground. By 1873 they had built the largest inverted siphon to carry water across the Feather River.
History may be posing a greater threat to the integrity of Folsom Dam than the terrorists. Recent road widening projects and dam improvements have uncovered several gold mining tunnels and shafts precariously close to the dykes which could comprise Folsom Dam. In attempt to safely probe the depths of a mine shaft between dykes 4 and 5, the Bureau of Reclamation pumped several thousand gallons into a large pit on top of the ridge this past August, 2013.
South of Horseshoe bar you will come upon what is referred to as the NFD viaduct. This is an impressive structure built to conduct the water over a small ravine. Easily 15 feet tall and 40 feet in length, large granite blocks were carefully stacked to create what looks like a dam.