Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Robber's Ravine Fire - Foresthill, CA 2012

Many of our friends are worried so I am blogging about the fire.  We are about 8 miles from the fire and currently it is moving in a north east direction away from us.  The fire started in the canyon about 3:30 today and quickly spread to over 200 acres by 6pm.  Due to the rugged terrain this fire will be fought from the air and hopefully they will be able to contain it.  The photo above was taken on my way home from work tonight.  The photo below was taken about 1/2 hour later at the lot next door to the Post Office in Foresthill proper.  We live in Todd Valley .  They have staged the fire fight at the High School, all the fire trucks are being dispatched from that area as needed.  Evacuees are being directed to the Memorial Hall.  It will be an anxious night for many tonight and we will pray that they are able to get things under control!  We have many friends from church that are located in the Yankee Jims area and are in the path of the fire, they are in our prayers tonight.

As you can see from the map below, we are located on the top of a ridge between canyons, One of the highest bridges in the United States links our ridge with Auburn.  On either side are the deep canyons of the American River.  The Forest Hill and Iowa Hill Divides, east of Auburn, are rich in mining lore. The 49ers roamed the rugged river canyons of this region in search of richer strikes of that elusive treasure: gold! Early communities in this area included: Yankee Jim’s (1849); Todd’s Valley (1849); Deadwood (1852); Bath (1850); Iowa Hill (1853); Wisconsin Hill (1850); Elizabethtown (1850); Last Chance (1852); Bird’s Store (1849); and Forest Hill (1850).

In the spring of 1850, miners came to the Forest Hill Divide in large numbers. There was one route from Auburn through Yankee Jim's and one from Coloma. At the junction of these trails, the Forest House hotel and trading post was built. The height of mining activity in Forest Hill began in 1853 after a winter landslide at the head of Jenny Lind Canyon exposed numerous nuggets of gold. The Jenny Lind mine produced about $2,500 of gold a day for a while, up to a total output over $1 million by 1880. The combined production of all the mines in the Forest Hill area was estimated at $10 million by 1868 with gold selling for $16 an ounce. In the 1860's, there were about 125,000 feet of hard-rock runnels dug into the hillsides in, around and under Forest Hill. By 1857, this area had become an important center for trade among the many gold camps on the divide. In 1862, the Hardy-Kennedy building was erected - the first fireproof store in Forest Hill. This building, now known as the Langstaff building, is still being used by the merchants of Foresthill. By 1880, Forest Hill was one of the largest towns in Placer County. The town had an 80-foot wide main street befitting such an important place.

Built in 1862, the Langstaff is the oldest standing building on the Foresthill Divide, surviving the test of time, Indian attacks, earthquakes and fire. Originally a mercantile and one of the first Wells Fargo Stage Stops, the brick walls, wood ceiling with a layer of sod op top and another layer of brick on top of that, were structural oddities designed to fend off Indian attacks and fire. The city of Foresthill has burned to the ground several times and this particular building has remained standing.

So there you go, a little history in the mix!  We live in an amazing place, full of history, beauty and danger.

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1 comment:

  1. Hello
    My husband and I have always loved Forest Hills and are thinking about moving up to it within a few years and would love to ask a few question about the area p, would you be able to help us?