Thursday, April 21, 2016

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 243

 Quincy, California, ca 1880s

Several years ago on one of the trips we took to visit Bopa’s sister and brother in Quincy, California we stopped at the Plumas county Museum and picked up these postcards.  The cards have drawings of the way Quincy and surrounding areas looked in the late 1800s.  Only one of the drawings had the artist’s name, C. L. Smith of San Francisco.    I thought it might be interesting to see what sort of historical information could be attached to the places depicted on the cards.  Perhaps my nieces and nephews who live/lived in Quincy have other things to add?

Quincy, the Plumas County seat, is a mountain town in northern California.  The Mountain Maidu were the early primary inhabitants and lived in small settlements along the edges of the valleys.  In 1820 the Spanish explorer, Captain Luis Arguello, named the river that runs through the canyon Rio de las Plumas (Feather River) after being impressed by the many floating feathers on the water.  Life changed for the native people beginning with the Gold Rush era.   Miners were attracted to the area during after the discovery of gold in 1849.  There were stories of a lake of gold but although many prospectors searched such a lake was never found.  However, a few miners had success in the rivers and creeks and non-native settlements were established.  Even today some small nuggets and flakes can be found in the river or in the streambeds. 

I can remember in addition to the traditional crawdad feed, rubber duck races, swimming in the creek, the tree swing, and camp singing around the fire on the beach that gold panning or dredging was a favorite vacation activity when we visited the cabin on Spanish Creek.  Usually a there were few little flakes or nuggets of gold that could be put in a tiny vial as a souvenir.  On very rare occasions a larger piece might be found by someone but never enough to cause a real frenzy of gold fever.  After the gold rush years in the mid 1800s cattle ranching and timber production were introduced.  The Western Pacific Railroad, built in 1910, allowed timber to be exported beyond the local region and also in brought tourists.   Today visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, hiking, kayaking, swimming, mountain biking, hunting, and fishing.  Quincy has art shows and musicals such as the High Sierra Music Festival held in July that draws about 10,000 people each year.  There are bed and breakfast inns, motels and campgrounds.  

Spanish Ranch, Plumas County, California

Spanish Ranch is a community in Plumas County begun in 1850 by two Mexicans who developed a distribution center for the many nearby mining camps.  It is now registered as a California Historical Landmark.

L.W. Bunnell's Hotel, Big Meadows, Plumas County, California

L.W. Bunnell was one of many who came from the eastern United States to California and Nevada to mine gold in 1851.  He mined the middle fork of the Feather river until 1853 then went to north fork where he mined until 1855 that same year he moved to Butt valley in Plumas County and began raising stock and farming until 1867.  From there he came to Big Meadows where he acquired about 940 acres and built a hotel along the banks of the north fork of Feather river amid pine trees and with views of Lassen’s peak in the distance.  The hotel resort offered excursions to Lassen’s peak, the Hot Springs and Mud Springs as well as other places of interest.  

Plumas House, Quincy, California

Plumas House was the center of Quincy’s social scene for many years beginning in the Gold Rush days.  James Bradley one of the first to settle in area named the town for his hometown of Quincy, Illinois.  Elizabethtown, an adjacent mining camp, was later absorbed into what is now Quincy. 

For additional information, see:,_California,_California,_California

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