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Angels Hotel (No. 734 California Historical Landmark)

Historic Site or District
The bar inside the Angels Hotel – Peter Stackpole- Time Inc.

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 1800’s 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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When Mark Twain made a visit to the Angels Hotel, no one thought that it would end up making Calaveras County famous. The hotel was originally built from canvas in 1851 by C.C. Lakes, but was rebuilt with only a few years later. It was made out of wood and stone from the local quarry. A few years later he added a second floor boasting 14 rooms and a large overhanging porch.

During the next decade, Mark Twain, who was staying at a friends’ cabin on Jackass Hill, would often visit the Angels Hotel. During one of his first visits, bartender/owner Ross Coon, told Twain about a certain man and his frog. The story goes, he told Twain about the magnificent frog jump that took place on Main Street in front of the hotel and Twain, who thought it was hilarious, went back to the cabin and wrote about it. “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” was first published in the Saturday Press on November 1865. The story was later published in The Californian with the new and current title “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, and the rest is history.

About 10 years later, owners Mr. Coon and Mr. Lake, decided to sell the hotel to a man who ran it as a first class hotel and changed the name to the Commercial Hotel of Angels Camp. It was sold to various parties throughout the rest of the century and the early part of the twentieth century as well.

Currently, the sidewalk in front of the building houses the commemorative “Frog Hop of Fame” plaques for all of the winners of the annual frog jumping contest, the Jumping Frog Jubilee.

The marker is located on the northeast corner of Main Street and Bird Way in Angels Camp. Don't forget to visit the nearby Angels Camp Museum!

Calaveras County

Along with Mark Twain’s famous "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" story that spun into an annual fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, Calaveras County is rich with Gold Rush history and folklore. Remnants of the railroads and Hispanic culture add to the charm of the county located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a preserve of Giant Sequoia trees, and the uncommon gold telluride mineral Calaverite was discovered in the county in 1861, and is named for it.

Time Period Represented


Nearby Places