Site of Plumas House (No. 480 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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The Plumas House was the center of Quincy’s social scene for decades until it burned in 1923. The town of Quincy still resembles its roots as a Gold Rush town that began in 1854. James Bradley was the first to settle the town and named it after his hometown of Quincy, Illinois. Elizabethtown was an adjacent mining camp until it gradually disappeared into what would become the town of Quincy several years later.
Quincy is a small mountain town with a population of less than 2,000 people. As the largest town in Plumas County, Quincy serves as the county seat. It is also distinguished by being the only town in the county with two traffic lights. The town is also known for its preservation of historic buildings, many of them built in the 1920s.
Quincy showcases the arts through its historical murals, art shows and musicals. The annual High Sierra Music Festival started in 1990, is held in early July and draws as many as 10,000 music lovers. Visitor accommodations consist of bed and breakfast inns, motels and campgrounds.
Plumas County is located in the northeast part of California where the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges meet. The Feather River Canyon within the boundaries of Plumas County features spring wildflowers and cascading waterfalls over the steep canyon walls along its national scenic byway. Visitors have their choices of 100 lakes, 1,000 miles of rivers and streams, and more than 1 million acres of natural forest. Recreational activities include hiking, cycling, swimming and other water sports, camping and much more. Summer temperatures range from moderate daytime temperatures in the 80s to cooler evenings in the 50s.
For more information about the history of Quincy and Plumas County, visit the Plumas County Museum. The historical marker recognizing the site of the the Plumas House is located at the southwest corner of Main and Court Street in Quincy.
El Rio de las Plumas, “The river of feathers,” lends its name to Plumas County. Captain Luis Arguello named the river, having been impressed by the many floating feathers on the water. Plumas County also contains Beckwourth Pass, the lowest summit of the High Sierra, which quickly became a favorite route of wagon trains.
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