Sportsman's Hall-Overland Pony Express Route in California (No. 704 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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Also known as Twelve-Mile House, Sportsman's House was a station point for the teams of the Comstock Load and the Pony Express. The building was operated as a hotel in the late 1850s to the 1860s by John and James Blair.
At this spot at 7:40 am on April 4 1860, Pony Express rider William (Sam) Hamilton arrived from Placerville and handed off the express mail to Warren Upson, who left with the mail eastward.
The Pony Express was used as a mail delivery service between Missouri and California from 1860-1861 until the Pacific Telegraph line was completed. Relay teams of men on horseback delivered mail from one station to the next. The Pony Express was a reliable means of mail transportation, and only one mail delivery was ever lost.
The Pony Express stations in El Dorado County are commemorated by historic markers. The Sportsman's Hall marker is located at 5622 Pony Express Trail, in Camino, 55 miles east of Sacramento on Highway 50.
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.
Time Period Represented