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Silver Mountain Jail, Alpine County

Archaeological Site
Main Street- Silver Mountain City 1866 – Lawrence and Houseworth

Visitors have no fear...there are no criminals to be found here!

These roadside remains of a jail are all that is left to offer a glimpse into the historic boom town that was once the infamous Silver Mountain City of Alpine County. Whether you need to pull off Highway 4 on your way to Lake Alpine to stretch your legs, visit a California landmark or both, Silver Mountain Jail will not disappoint.

This Alpine County historic site is easily accessed, as long as Highway 4, the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway, is open. The highway is closed during the winter.

While the remains are contained behind a fence, it's neat to step back in time and feel the pulse of silver mining during the gilded silver age of Alpine County.

Here's an excerpt about the historic boom town from Up and Down California in 1860-1864; The Journal of William H. Brewer :

"Silver Mountain (town) is a good illustration of a new mining town. We arrive by trail, for the wagon road is left many miles back. As we descend the canyon from the summit, suddenly a bright new town bursts into view...

Founded by Scandinavian miners as Kongsberg in 1858. Silver City was the Alpine County seat from 1864 to 1875.In 1878 news of a silver strike in Bodie emptied the town of most residents. Silver City turned into a ghost town as businesses closed. Buildings like the old log jail were relocated to the new county seat in Markleeville."


From I-5 N, connect to Highway 4 East at Stockton. Continue on Hwy 4 East past Arnold towards Markleeville. Silver Mountain Jail is on the right hand side of the road. If you reach Old Private Cemetery or Scossa's Cow Camp you have gone too far.

Time Period Represented


Nearby Places