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Double Springs (No. 264 Historical Landmark)

Historic Site or District
National Parks Service

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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Founded in February 18, 1850, Double Springs is a ghost town of the Mother Lode mining region and was a thriving center after it was named the county seat in 1850. Neighboring towns, however, were also growing and soon wished to hold this coveted position. One of these was Jackson, then in Calaveras County, north of the Mokelumne River.

The county seat was so coveted by those in Jackson, that a few men decided to take it upon themselves to ensure their town held the distinction. It is alleged that one night in the summer of 1851, a group of men drove by wagon to Double Springs to carry out a nefarious plan of getting the town clerk sufficiently inebriated at a local tavern to distract him long enough for some of the men to steal all the country records from the courthouse. After stealing the documents, the men headed back to Jackson, which effectively became the county seat until 1852, when Mokelumne Hill became the new county seat by popular vote. Mokelumne Hill remained the county seat until 1866 despite allegations of voter fraud.

Today, San Andreas is the seat of Calaveras County. Jackson became the seat of Amador County in 1854, when it was separated from Calaveras County.

The old courthouse from which the county documents were taken was constructed from Chinese lumber in 1849. Part of the building is still standing, but not at its original site: it is now on display at the Calaveras County Museum Complex in San Andreas. The original courthouse site in Double Springs is marked by an eight-foot marker of native sandstone, erected by the Calaveras Chamber of Commerce. The courthouse represents a time in American history of early trade relations between the west and China. Initial trade relations were influential in Chinese immigration to the US.

The two springs for which the town was named lies between the low hills, surrounded by oleanders orange trees, and aged locusts. A mansion made of squared sandstone built in 1860 by Alexander R. Wheat still stands, and a family cemetery is located on a hill across the road from the mansion.

A stone marker one mile from the town site was erected by the Department of Public Works- Division of Highways.

Double Springs is located on Double Springs Road, 3.6 miles east of Valley Springs.

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.

Calaveras is a Spanish word meaning "skull." The name was first given to the river because of the great quantities of human skulls found along the lower reaches of the river.

Calaveras County is famous for its lode and placer mines, and the largest gold nugget from the United States was taken from the Morgan Mine at Carson Hill in 1854, weighing 214 pounds. For many years it was the principal copper-producing county in California. Cement deposits from its vast limestone deposits has become one of the county's major industries in recent years.

Time Period Represented


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