Fourth Crossing (No. 258 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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The very first Justice Court in Calaveras County was located in Fourth Crossing. Originally the area became known as Foreman's Ranch after a man named David Foreman settled into the area. He came sometime in 1848 when the rich places of San Antonio Creek were discovered. Foreman set up a trading post, hotel and of course, a saloon. Not long after, it was changed to Fourth Crossing because it was located at the fourth river crossing on the road between Angels Camp and Stockton. Foreman and a man named Alexander Beritzhoff joined together and started a ferry service for crossing the river. Eventually they built a toll bridge that was in use until January of 1888, when the current owner, William Reddick sold it for $1200 to the Calaveras County and it became a free bridge. The bridge is still standing today, just west of the Highway 49 bridge.
Fourth Crossing was one of the earliest mining camps in Calaveras County. Along with the Justice Court, there was an early school and post office that were established in June of 1855. John B. Reddick became an Assemblyman and eventually the Lieutenant Governor under Governor Markham in the early 1890s. The top floor of the dining hall from his early hotel was converted into a home and it still stands today. Lode mining proved to be quite lucrative after the placers ran out. Once the placers had been picked dry, the camp continued to operate as an important stage and freighting stop, and provided for the southern mines all the way up to the turn of the century. Eventually the town faded away and the land returned to its grassy, untouched appearance as it was before the gold hunters made their claims. Today, there are still a few buildings standing, as well as a few grave sites that give you a little look back to the days of the old Gold Rush.
The historical marker is located on Highway 49 at San Antonio Creek, just 5 miles south of San Andreas.
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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