Did you know tiny Markleeville, California has a sister city? Well, not an official one. In fact, the two towns probably have no idea they’re even related. But Newman, California and Markleeville share a common heritage. The link that binds them? The man who gave the town of Newman its name. Here’s the tale! Simon Newman (Neumann) was born in 1846 in Willmars, in the Bavarian […]
The Legacy of Lewis Chalmers
Today, few people know his name. But back in the 1870-1880s, everyone in Alpine County and most of nearby Carson Valley knew mining promoter Lewis Chalmers. And whether they loved him or hated him, everyone had an opinion. Son of a wealthy Scottish family, Chalmers was raised among the movers and shakers of Fraserburgh. His father and grandfather had each […]
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: […]
Curtz Lake Mystery
Next time you’re up for a fun hike, try the short loop trail at Curtz Lake. Just over a mile long, it’s currently well-maintained (thanks to a recent joint effort between BLM and the Alpine Trails Association). There are plenty of scenic backcountry views along the trail, and interpretive signs make for interesting reading. For […]
Was Jacob Marklee Buried Here?
Alas, poor Jacob Marklee! His name lives on in his namesake town of “Markleeville.” But aside from that one honor, this first pioneer has largely been forgotten. We know Marklee was a Canadian, born about 1821. And we know he had a fine eye for real estate, picking out the beautiful 160-acre parcel (which now […]
Found: A Markleeville Pioneer!
The old wooden headstones that once graced Markleeville Cemetery have long since turned to dust. Time, neglect and a bit of vandalism have wreaked havoc here; sadly, most of those who rest in this historic cemetery now lie in unmarked graves. But this week, at least one of the cemetery’s mysteries was solved! Thanks to […]
Walt Monroe Exhibit
Alpine County artist Walt Monroe was born in the tiny mining town of Monitor in 1881. His artistic talent became evident quite early when he began sketching murals in chalk on the schoolhouse walls at the old Webster School. At the age of 17, Walt had his first exhibit of wooden carvings. “In Markleeville, […]
Markleeville: Ghost in the Admin Building?
There’ve been a few ghostly rumors about the county Administration building in Markleeville. Today’s parking lot once was the site of an old house, built by Alvin Grover around 1899. Even back then Grover’s house wasn’t exactly new; it was constructed from lumber from an old schoolhouse that used to sit in the abandoned mining town […]
Markleeville’s Mercury Hill
There’s a peculiar red streak in the cliff just south of Hangman’s bridge. Blink and you’ll miss it; today, most people drive by without a glance. But to Markleeville old-timers, this was where a valuable mineral resource was mined. Back in the day, homes were roofed with simple wooden shingles. Jacob Marklee himself is said to […]
The year was 1864. William A. Johnson, road superintendent for Carr & Co., was building a new toll road from Markleeville to the booming mining camp of Silver Mountain. There was just one obstacle in his way: Captain Jim, a Washo Chief. The new toll road, it seems, was passing too close for comfort to […]
He was a big man with a large moustache and outsized energy. Born in 1874 in Villa de Maya, Spain, Julian Maisterrena was a Spanish Basque who came to this country at the age of 19 with his pockets empty. Julian worked in sawmills and as a sheepherder, and tucked his meager salary away. Before […]