There’s more than one “tale of the unexplained” floating around the old buildings in Markleeville! Perhaps it just seems like there should be a ghost in places that have seen so much life pass through their rooms. But stories about ghosts at Markleeville’s Cutthroat Saloon (Wolf Creek Restaurant) have been swirling for years: One waitress will swear to […]
Summit Lake Mysteries (in Alpine County, CA) . . .
Photographer John Calvin Scripture captured this haunting image of a mysterious lake about 1874. The hand-lettered caption calls it “Summit Lake,” and confirms the location as Alpine County, California. So where was this 140+ year-old picture taken? There is, of course, a “Summit Lake” in Alpine County not far from today’s tiny airport, and another (on some maps, at least) […]
Earl Lessley: The Flying Cowboy
He died over half a century ago. But tales live on about Earl Lessley, the “flying cowboy”! Earl Lessley was born in 1889 in Drytown, California. His parents, Mary and Samuel Lessley, had crossed the plains from Missouri by covered wagon. Even after they arrived in California, the family evidently moved around a bit; a second […]
The Story of Lame Tom: Finding Gifts Among Tragedy
The true “pioneers” of Alpine County were the native Washoe. But little was written about them in the early days. So it was a real treat to stumble across a 1927 Record-Courier article detailing the life of Markleeville resident “Lame Tom.” In the early 1900s, Lame Tom (his real name was Assu) lived in a wickiup […]
How a Fire Saved the Fiske Hotel
Just how often do you get to walk inside a piece of history? Built in 1863, this hotel is a slice of life from Alpine County’s version of the Comstock days. And the building still exists — thanks to a fire. Yes, a fire is what saved this historic building. Two fires, actually. Here’s how it happened: […]
Why You’ll Actually Want to See The Inside of THIS Jail Cell. . .
. . . the historic jail at the Alpine County Museum, that is! Built in 1867, these heavy iron cells were created for a new jail in the mining boomtown of Silver Mountain City. Silver Mountain was Alpine County’s original county seat and a quintessential mining town, back in the days of the Comstock Lode. […]
Gold Country Roses
Visit a historic old graveyard in Mother Lode Country to see the — roses?!? You bet! Plymouth Pioneer Cemetery off Highway 49 is a cool place to visit, all by itself. But it turns out that this pioneer cemetery’s roses are so special they even have their own Facebook page! (Just type “Plymouth Pioneer Cemetery Heritage Roses” […]
Stage Robberies -Wells Fargo’s Finest (Part 2)
It was June 15, 1893 on a remote stretch of road outside Jackson, California. Mike Tovey was again riding shotgun as security guard for Wells Fargo, this time aboard the stage headed from Ione into Jackson. Mike had been shot once before in his dangerous career; no doubt his eyes were always scanning the countryside for possible trouble. […]
(More) Best Sierra History Books!
After our recent round-up of Sierra history books (you can find it here), we realized we’d left off a number of our own favorites — and we’ve also gotten some more great suggestions from readers! So check out this additional list for more fascinating Sierra history reads — and be sure to let us know if […]
Stage Robberies and Wells Fargo’s Finest (Part 1)
Did stage robberies still occur as late as 1893? Just ask poor Mike Tovey; he died in one. The headstone of Mike Tovey stands its silent vigil in the Jackson City Cemetery. It was erected by his employer, Wells Fargo & Co., which evidently felt a bit guilty about Tovey’s death. Our story begins back […]
If you’ve ever stopped at Woodfords, you may have seen the Wade House — and probably never gave it a second glance. But this small, nondescript green house has an amazing claim to fame: it’s said to be the oldest continuously-inhabited dwelling on the entire Eastern Sierra! The original cabin (likely just a single room) was built by mill-builder […]
More Traces of the Emigrant Trail:
Iron Mountain Road Today’s Iron Mountain Road was the route the Mormons took as they headed east over the mountains in 1848. And it soon was followed by the great westward migration — becoming an important leg of the early Emigrant Trail as wagons rushed for Gold Country. You may remember our earlier newsletter taking you as […]