Noble Pass (No. 11 California Historical Landmark)
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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Located at the peak of Mt. Lassen, at an elevation of 10,451 feet, this marker recognizes the accomplishments and challenges of early pioneers who, in 1852, crossed the Noble Pass that linked the Humboldt-Nevada Road with Shasta and Northern California. William H. Noble showed the emigrants the way through the Sierra on a wagon road in May 1852. This is the place where the emigrants caught their first glimpse of the Sacramento Valley.
During the previous year, Noble had been part of a prospecting party of 80 men who crossed Indian Valley and then through the Sierra to Honey Lake Valley. Noble was especially impressed with the pass through the mountains that continued on to Shasta, the main town at the time in the northern most part of the state. He realized that there was commercial value in opening an emigrant route through the mountain that ended at Shasta. So Noble spoke with the business men of the community, who hired him and a group of other men to go to the pass and divert emigrants to come to Shasta. The pass thereafter become known as Noble’s Pass.
Some of the sites written about in Hutching’s California Magazine of June 1857 include enjoying Rabbit Hole Springs, Willow Creek, Pine Meadows and Summit Springs. The following passage is quoted from the article, “A Jaunt to Honey Lake Valley and Noble’s Pass.”
“…there is a beautiful waterfall of about thirty-five feet in height, and sixty feet in width, which would not only enable settlers to drain the whole valley – nearly thirty square miles in extent - but give the finest water-power in the world, and timber sufficient for the entire length of a railway from the Missouri to the Sacramento River. Indeed we wonder that these innumerable advantages are so generally unknown or almost entirely overlooked.”
“This low ridge, known as the “Pass,” is one continuous forest of magnificent pines the whole distance through it, and so level that one is puzzled to know whether it is up or down.”
The historical marker is located at Lassen Volcanic National Park on the park highway .2 miles east of park marker 60, 3.7 miles from the northwest entrance on State Highway 44.
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