Campo Seco (No. 257 California Historical Landmark)
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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Campo Seco is home to the largest living cork oak tree in California which was planted in 1858. Quercus suber, the cork oak, is a medium-sized evergreen oak tree that is the prime source of cork for wine and champagne bottles. It is also naturally fire resistant which makes it very useful for acoustic and thermal insulation. Cork is even used in diverse forms in spacecraft heat shields.
Campo Seco was established by Mexicans in 1849 and translates to “dry camp” in Spanish. This mining camp was very diverse for its time, boasting over forty different nationalities. Unfortunately the town was nearly demolished by a fire in 1854. Luckily, the rich copper placers were still abundant, allowing most of the town to be rebuilt. There are still the remains of the old Adams Express Building which was once bustling with miners and their earnings. You can also see the remaining unusual green stone used in the buildings of the Chinese section of Campo Seco, and other artifacts.
The historical landmark marker is located at the intersection of Campo Seco and Penn Mine Roads.
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.
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