Site of California's First Grange Hall (No. 551 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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The first Grange Hall in California was organized on August 10, 1870. Earlier that summer, A.A. Alexander became interested in the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry after reading an article about them. He wrote to O.H Kelly, the National Grange Secretary in Itasca, Minnesota for more information. Because there was no resident General Deputy of the Patrons of Husbandry in California, Bayley was assigned a special commission and was given the directives of the organization.
Pilot Hill Grange No. 1 had 29 charter members, including Master F.D. Brown and Secretary A.J. Bayley, son of A.A. Bayley. The Grange Hall was dedicated at this site on November 23, 1889 and was built by Alexander A. Bayley.
The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry was the first organization dedicated to advocating agriculture and farming and was founded in 1867. As of 2005, the organization had a membership of 160,000 people in 36 states.
Pilot Hill Grange No. 1 is located on State Highway 49, 0.2 miles north of Pilot Hill.
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.
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