Bonner Grade (No. 15 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.
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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Bonner Grade was the first road that crossed the Warner Mountains of northeastern California. It was named in honor of John H. Bonner, who was instrumental in securing the construction of the road over Bonner Grade in 1869. This route, which became an important stage and freight road to Yreka, was maintained by Bonner himself until 1871, when Siskiyou County took it over. Today, present day State Highway 299 overlays the original road. John H. Bonner and his colleague established the first business in Modoc County called the Cressler and Bonner Trading Post, 1865. Their business thrived as the Gold Rush brought thousands of emigrants through this area.
Note: A commemorative plaque is not placed at this site.
Through Modoc County, the northeastern corner of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, thousands of early emigrants traveled in search of newly discovered gold during the Gold Rush of the mid 1800s. Prior to settlement, this region was inhabited only by Paiute, Pit River (“Achumawi”), and Modoc tribes. As settlers flocked in to California, battles with the Modoc Indians over territory and resources stained this area’s history in bloody conflict. The Modoc War (1872–1873), fought here, was the last of the Indian Wars to occur in California.
Time Period Represented