Spanish Ranch (No. 481 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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Two Spanish men set up a camp in Meadow Valley in July 1850. Their camp was a quarter mile north of Old Oroville-Quincy Road and six miles west of Quincy. The area became known as Spanish Ranch with Spanish Creek and Spanish Peak rising above at an elevation of more than 7,000 feet. Spanish Ranch became a distribution center for surrounding camps. The two original residents raised and slaughtered cattle.
By 1852, the town's population expanded and featured a hotel, a blacksmith shop, and general store. A Wells Fargo office opened in 1868. Gold was plentiful in Spanish Ranch. By 1881, miners found more than $114,000 in gold coin and bouillon.
Buck’s Ranch was situated nearby, occupied by Horace Bucklin and Francis Walker. The area was rich in ore. Miners found gold, silver and copper in one compact area. Bucklin was the namesake for Buck’s Lake. The Buck’s Ranch buildings were destroyed first by fire and then the remains of the town was flooded by the water of Buck’s Lake when the dam was built in 1925.
Buck’s Ranch evolved into an important stage and mail stop during the Gold Rush years. Mail on its way to Quincy and other nearby camps passed through the Buck’s Ranch station. Passengers used to pay a toll on the Old Stage Road between Quincy and Oroville. Today the tollgate is long gone.
Today Spanish Creek is the name of a scenic campground offering campers an opportunity to splash in the creek. The Spanish Creek Motel is also available for out of town visitors.
The historical landmark is located on a Spanish Ranch side road, Buck's Lake Rd, 5.8 mi W of 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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