American Ranch and Hotel (No. 479 California Historical Landmark)
California Historical Landmarks Program
Historical Landmarks are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of statewide significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value. Historical Landmarks are eligible for registration if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type in the state or within a large geographic region
2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of California
3) Is a prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in a region of a pioneer architect, designer or master builder.
California’s Landmark Program began in the late 1800s with the formation of the Landmarks Club and the California Historical Landmarks League. In 1931, the program became official when legislation charged the Department of Natural Resources—and later the California State Chamber of Commerce—with registering and marking buildings of historical interest or landmarks. The Chamber of Commerce then created a committee of prestigious historians, including DeWitt Hutchings and Lawrence Hill, to evaluate potential landmark sites.
In 1948, Governor Earl Warren created the California Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee to increase the integrity and credibility of the program. Finally, this committee was changed to the California Historical Resources Commission in 1974. Information about registered landmarks numbered 770 onward is kept in the California Register of Historical Resources authoritative guide. Landmarks numbered 669 and below were registered prior to establishing specific standards, and may be added to the California Register when criteria for evaluating the properties are adopted.
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After Plumas was formally recognized as a county, the American Ranch and Hotel in Quincy served as the county seat in 1854 until the county commissioners found a better location. (The land within Plumas County was once part of a larger Butte County). Three county commissioners met at the hotel to create the submission paperwork to designate a new county. James H. Bradley was one of the organizers of that effort. He donated the land and named the town of Quincy in honor of his ranch in Illinois. The post office opened the following year.
The hotel was also the first sawed-lumber building to be built in Quincy. It was used by several local groups as a meeting place. Another point of interest is the Plumas County Museum featuring history of Plumas County with historical artifacts and audio-visual exhibits.
Quincy remains a small mountain town, with a population of less than 2,000 people, according to the 2010 U.S. census. The city holds the distinction as being the only one in Plumas County to have two traffic lights. Quincy is also known for its High Sierra Music Festival held every July.
The historical marker and the hotel are located at 355 Main Street in Quincy.
El Rio de las Plumas, “The river of feathers,” lends its name to Plumas County. Captain Luis Arguello named the river, having been impressed by the many floating feathers on the water. Plumas County also contains Beckwourth Pass, the lowest summit of the High Sierra, which quickly became a favorite route of wagon trains.
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