Posts Tagged ‘ghost town’

Last chance to visit Calif LH ghost town in May

January 29, 2009

The long-abandoned town of Clarksville, just outside of El Dorado Hills, California, is set to be cleared and developed in the next couple years. The town boasts one of the longest sections of original Lincoln Highway along the Pioneer Branch between Sacramento and Carson City, Nevada.

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Philip Wood, writing in the El Dorado Hills Telegraph. reported that the owner will be developing the property this year, though preserving parts for a museum to honor Clarksville’s history. Wood and Don Chaddock got a chance to photograph the land that lies east of Sacramento. Those are Wood’s photos here.

More exciting, a follow-up article in the Folson Telegraph announces that the public will have one last chance to visit the town that time forgot thanks to members of the town’s historical society.

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Betty January, president of the Clarksville Region Historical Society, said Ken Wilkenson, one of the property owners, worked out a deal to hold their annual Clarksville Day at the site on May 9. A large barn that was also once the schoolhouse will be used for the celebration.

January said Clarksville was founded around 1849-50, because of the nearby Mormon Tavern, and quickly became a commercial and social center for the area, eventually home to a few hundred people. The road dates to that period. Wilkenson says the roadway will be preserved.

Only about dozen structures remain but the town once had a Wells Fargo building, general store, school, and hotels. Decline came when the Folsom-to-Shingle Springs branch of the railroad bypassed the town, and really came when US 50 was rerouted, cutting off the town so that it could not even support a gas station. The last resident left in 1952, and when a developer bought 11,000 acres in the 1960s, he renamed the area El Dorado Hills. The ghost town again has one resident — in a new house built atop the site of the general store after it burned down.

Cars will be able to drive the Lincoln Highway during Clarksville Day. The event will feature vintage cars and other activities for the public such as gold panning, and The Pony Express Riders will stage a re-mount.

To learn more about Clarksville Day, visit www.edhhistory.org/.

Check out more photographs of Clarksville in the Telegraph‘s gallery.

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Hamilton, NV – A Lincoln Highway Ghost Town

November 5, 2007

Ghost towns fascinate most of us, and many books and web sites chart the rise and fall of these once-booming settlements. Rick Pisio (see previous post) captured some amazing views at Hamilton, NV, a mining town on the original Lincoln Highway east of Ely.
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Silver was discovered here in 1868, and within two years, there were more than 13,000 mining claims. Main Street grew to a mile long and the town itself a mile-and-a-half wide, with two banks, two newspapers, post office, courthouse, school system, water and steam company, churches, fire companies, and a hotel considered the state’s most expensive structure. Hamilton even became the first seat of White Pine County. But the ore layer was thin, and folks left as quickly as they had come. An intentional fire in 1873 (for insurance money) destroyed much of the town.

Even though it’s a 10-mile drive from US 50 over bumpy dirt roads, many make the journey, though their visits, and natural weathering, take a noticable toll. Online images show the brick structures crumbling a bit more every year, and soon, little will remain standing.

Two historic views from Ghost Towns: How They Were Born, How They Lived, and How They Died by Tom Robotham (Running Press, 1993) show the Wells Fargo bank as the town’s most prominent structure:
Ghost Towns book

See more of Rick Pisio’s photos from this and other Western ghost towns at rwphotos.

A detailed history of Hamilton is available at White Pine County Nevada History and Genealogy Research site.

For USGS maps on getting there, check The Lincoln Highway: Nevada by Gregory Franzwa and Jess Petersen. The 1913 LH stretches over maps 39-43.