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Lockhart Ferry (No. 555 California Historical Landmark)

Historic Site or District

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. 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 Fall River Valley was once home to the Achomawi (Pit River) tribe. During the Gold Rush era when thousands of emigrants rushed to California’s gold country, the Native Americans were progressively pushed out of homelands they had occupied for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. The conflict over land disputes was often bloody with widespread destruction of property and loss of life on both sides.

Shasta County fared no differently than other places in California. In 1855, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Rogers arrived with teams of oxen and wagons filled with machinery. They began immediately to construct Fall River’s first saw mill.

Samuel Lockhart and his brother Harry developed a wagon road that stretched from the head of the Sacramento River at Red Bluff to the northern mining communities of Yreka. The Lockhart Ferry was a connecting link in the trail situated at the confluence of Fall River and Pit River. In 1856 the ferry began operation and the California Stage Company ran the Red Bluff to Yreka route for a short time. The Lockhart Ferry became an important station on the route.

The Native Americans returned to the settler’s camp in the Fall River Valley during the winter of 1855-1856 when Sam Lockhart and other settlers left to search for additional provisions. Angry with the settlers taking over native lands, the Native Americans drove the five men who were left in the camp – Mr. Alva Boles, Colonel Jedediah H. Rogers, Harry A. Lockhart, and two brothers, Daniel and John Bryant – away from their homes and then murdered all of them. The Native Americans then burned down the saw mill.

After what is called the “December massacre,” the ferry was re-established in 1857 below Fall River Falls. The Historical Marker is placed .25 mile away from where the "Pit River Massacre" took place.

Shasta County

Shasta County is bordered by the Trinity Mountains to the west and the Cascade Range to the east, featuring the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Although Shasta’s jewels include Lassen Peak and Lake Shasta, Siskiyou County to the north claims the spectacular landmark Mount Shasta.

Time Period Represented


Nearby Places