Old Emigrant Road (No. 661 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.
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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Here the Old Emigrant Road of 1848 swung down across the meadow now covered by Caples Lake (Twin Lakes) and climbed along the ridge at the right to the gap at the head of the valley. From this summit (9,460 feet) it descended to Placerville. As part of the California Gold Rush, this rough and circuitous portion of the road was used by thousands of emigrants from 1848 to 1863. This section, however, became obsolete in 1863 when a better route was blasted out of the face of the cliff at Carson Spur (a railroad spur that left the main line to San Fransisco). The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California.
The state marker is absent or missing, however, the site is located at Lake Caples on Highway 88 (173 miles west of Woodfords).
High in the Sierra Nevada along the eastern edge of California, Alpine County is sparsely populated. In 1844, John C. Fremont’s expedition, accompanied by Kit Carson, passed through the area and over today’s Carson Pass on Highway 88. The Overland Emigrant Trail passed through this county, and is marked today by yellow painted iron markers and plaques.
Time Period Represented