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Mormon Tavern- Overland Pony Exress Route in California

Historic Site or District
NoeHill Travels California (

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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Mormon Tavern was constructed on this site in 1849 on the old Clarksville-White Rock Emigrant Road. Franklin Winchell operated and enlarged this stage stop in 1851. It became a remount station of the Central Overland Pony Express and on April 4, 1860, pony rider Sam (Bill) Hamilton changed horses here on the first eastbound trip.

The Pony Express was a mail service that operated for 19 months from 1860-1861 and provided a reliable means of communication between Missouri and California until the Pacific Telegraph line was established. Mail was delivered by relay teams of men on horseback.

In 1950, the California State Park Commission in dedicated a plaque here in cooperation with the James W. Marshall No. 49 E. Clampus Vitus, Marguerte Parlor No. 12 Native Daughters of the Golden West, and the Central Overland Pony Express Trail Organization.

The marker is located on a frontage road adjacent to Highway 50. To reach it, take El Dorado Hills Boulevard for 0.5 miles to old White Road, then 0.9 miles northeast, then 0.3 miles west on PG&E Clarksville Substation Road to the plaque, 0.5 miles west of the Clarksville townsite in El Dorado Hills.

El Dorado County

Stretching from oak-studded foothills and the shores of Folsom Lake to the western shore of Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County is probably best known for the 1848 gold discovery at Coloma. “Old Hangtown” sprang up during the Gold Rush and was later renamed Placerville. The county name comes from the mythical land rich in gold sought by Spanish explorers. The first inhabitants of El Dorado County were the Maidu and Miwok Indians, followed by miners attracted to the area by the Gold Rush.

El Dorado County was one of the original counties in California. The Pony Express Trail ran through the county approximately where Highway 50 is today, from April 3, 1860 to October 26, 1861. The first county seat was Coloma, and it was superseded by Placerville for this position in 1857. El Dorado means “the gilded one” in Spanish; a fitting name considering the mines in El Dorado County produced millions of dollars of gold.

Time Period Represented


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