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Flickr THIS IS WAY WAY WAY OVERBOARD

Gold miners near Chicken cry foul over 'heavy-handed' EPA raids

When agents with the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force surged out of the wilderness around the remote community of Chicken wearing body armor and jackets emblazoned with POLICE in big, bold letters, local placer miners didn’t quit know what to think.
Did it really take eight armed men and a squad-size display of paramilitary force to check for dirty water? Some of the miners, who run small businesses, say they felt intimidated.

Others wonder if the actions of the agents put everyone at risk. When your family business involves collecting gold far from nowhere, unusual behavior can be taken as a sign someone might be trying to stage a robbery. How is a remote placer miner to know the people in the jackets saying POLICE really are police?

Miners suggest it might have been better all around if officials had just shown up at the door -- as they used to do -- and said they wanted to check the water.

Lots of Federal land in Alaska
Alaska’s vast Interior, which sprawls to the Canadian border, has been the site of federal-local distrust in the past. It was near this area, 130 miles northwest of Chicken, that National Park Service rangers pointed shotguns at, then tackled and arrested a septuagenarian, for not stopping his boat in midstream of the Yukon River in the fall of 2010. Jim Wilde, 70 years old at the time, had been ordered to prepare to be boarded for a safety inspection.

Wilde didn’t much like that demand. He swore at park rangers and then headed for shore and a meeting on terra firma. Wilde was arrested and taken to the jail in Fairbanks, more than 100 miles away. He was later tried and found guilty by a federal magistrate for failing to comply with a lawful order from federal agents.

The state of Alaska, as a whole, can be a place of deeply-rooted mistrust between locals and the agents who try to enforce federal rules.

Alaska has more federally owned and managed land than any other U.S. state. More than 65 percent of its land is under some sort of federal control. A multitude of federal parks, preserves and wilderness areas are patrolled by agents from more than a dozen U.S. agencies. Many of the people in rural parts of the state, which are either under federal control or border federally-managed areas, have more contact with federal officers than they do with representatives from the state.

Surprised by armed group of officers

Miners from the Chicken area -- a gold mining town of just 17 full-time residents and dozens of seasonal miners off the Taylor Highway, between Tok and the Canadian border -- said that during the third week of August they were surprised by groups of four to eight armed officers, who swarmed onto their mining claims with little or no warning.

The officers were armed and wearing body armor. They were part of the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force and were there to check for violations of section 404 of the Clean Water Act, according to several miners who were contacted by the group. Section 404 governs water discharges into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans.

The task force’s methods are now being questioned by the miners as well as the Alaska congressional delegation.

“Imagine coming up to your diggings, only to see agents swarming over it like ants, wearing full body armor, with jackets that say POLICE emblazoned on them, and all packing side arms,” said C.R. “Dick” Hammond, a Chicken gold miner who got a visit from the task force.

“How would you have felt?” Hammond asked. “You would be wondering, ‘My God, what have I done now?’”

Hammond and other Chicken area miners aren’t alone in wondering what they have done now. Both Alaska U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich have inquired into the task force’s actions. Congressman Don Young is also looking into it. They have been having a difficult time getting straight answers from the EPA.

Rampant drug and human trafficking?
The EPA has refused to publicly explain why it used armed officers as part of what it called a “multi-jurisdictional” investigation of possible Clean Water Act violations in the area.

A conference call was held last week to address the investigation. On the line were members of the Alaska Congressional delegation, their staff, state officers, and the EPA. According to one Senate staffer, the federal agency said it decided to send in the task force armed and wearing body armor because of information it received from the Alaska State Troopers about “rampant drug and human trafficking going on in the area.”

The miners contacted by the task force were working in the area of the Fortymile National Wild and Scenic River. The federal designation, made in 1980 as part of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, protects 32 miles between Chicken and Eagle, Alaska. It is a remote area, close to the Canadian border and the town of Boundary. The nearest city of any real size is Fairbanks, 140 miles to the northwest. It was unknown to everyone in the area that there is a rampant problem with drug and human traffickers.

This also came as news to the Alaska State Troopers, whom the EPA said supplied the information about drugs and human trafficking, and at least one U.S. senator.

“Their explanation -- that there are concerns within the area of rampant drug trafficking and human trafficking going on -- sounds wholly concocted to me,” said Murkowski, R-Alaska.

“The Alaska State Troopers did not advise the EPA that there was dangerous drug activity. We do not have evidence to suggest that is occurring,” said Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters.


The Alaska Department of Law said it knew of the task force’s investigation but that it did not advise the group about any ongoing problems or dangers in the Fortymile River area.

'Heavy-handed, heavy-armor approach'
“This seems to have been a heavy-handed, and heavy-armor approach,” said Murkowski. “Why was it so confrontational? The EPA really didn’t have any good answers for this.”

According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, one of its compliance officers went along with the task force, but only to look for potential state violations at the mine sites.

The DEC officer was armed.

The task force is made up of members of the EPA, the FBI, Coast Guard, Department of Defense, the Alaska Department of Public Safety and the DEC. The chief investigator, Matt Goers, said he could not discuss the details of the recent Fortymile River investigations. So far, no charges, state or federal, have resulted from the group’s work last month.

Miners in the area are not waiting for the results of the investigation. They have met in Chicken and are demanding a Sept. 14 meeting with the EPA, the state, and the members of the Alaska federal delegation to discuss the task force’s tactics.

“Compliance exams are a normal thing for miners. Usually (Bureau of Land Management) or DEC points out a problem and you correct it. This (the task force’s action) was way over the top and uncalled for. It was a massive show of intimidation,” said David Likins, a gold miner in the Fortymile Mining District.

Most of the mines in the area are small, family-run placer operations. They are like the mines seen on on the Reality TV show “Gold Rush: Alaska.” They search for gold by digging up ground and running it through a sluice box, using water to wash away the rocks and leave the valuable gold behind.

The water they use must be allowed to settle in ponds before it's discharged back into streams or creeks, so that mud and rocks don’t pollute clean, nearby waterways. Water turned turbid (cloudy or muddy) can kill fish.

Likins said the task force may have found one possible clean water violation at a mine near Boundary, very close to the Canadian border.

Likins said he believes the aggressive actions of the task force made their investigation much more dangerous for everyone, including the miners and the agents.

“If it were my mine, and I was sitting on some gold, and people came storming out of the woods, I would probably meet them on the porch, with my shotgun,” he said.



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Flickr Gold in the Sierra Nevada Foothills
Tags: california   ca   summer   sky   favorite   cloud   dog   pet   foothills   black   film   nature   field   clouds   goldenretriever   season   point   landscape   gold   golden   landscapes   interestingness   scenery   skies   seasons   natural   pointer   wind   cloudy   topv999   hunting   working   favorites   windy   retriever   hills   explore   scanned   fields   thunderstorm   serene   top100   oaks   breeze   sierranevada   topv9999   pointing   grassland   f5   tranquil   grasslands   breezy   hunt   placercounty   goldcountry   yourfavorites   rocklin   scannedfromprint   workingdog   landscapephotography   huntingdog   top500   flickrexplore   50faves   californiagoldcountry   interestingness60   i500   landscapephotos   25faves   landscapephoto   stanfordranch   cityofrocklin   
Gold in the Sierra Nevada Foothills
Placer County, California

If you would like to use this photo, flickr has made a way for you to do that legally. Just click on the "License this Image on Getty Images" link below the "Additional Info" category on the right side of this page. This photo is copyrighted and cannot be used in any other way. Thank you for your support.

The skies are nearly black as summertime thunderstorms build in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. You can see the silvery mist of rain showers here and there within the background.

I loved to take my golden retriever to this field near my home. He would really do his thing by pointing and flushing birds. I'm not a hunter and I didn't train him to do it. It was just in him. There was a pond nearby, and he would take off running to investigate the duck families that lived there. After a swim and one of those convulsive shakes that dogs do to dry-off, it was back into the fields for him. An hour later, I had a tired and smelly dog at home, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My pup passed away in 1999 at the age of 12 ½.

This photo was taken in 1991. The field shown in the photo is now covered wall-to-wall with tract homes. Only the memories remain of my dog and this magical place.

View the "before and after" photo collage here

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Flickr 062/366 - Gold Rush...

Day 62 - Yes - it's Friday. And, yes, I didn't really have anything planned. After a relaxing evening with friends over some wings, cold beverages, and a slow paced game of cornhole, I found myself at home relaxing & watching the show Gold Rush on Discovery Channel. I have this chain and snook pendant my wonderful wife got me for Christmas many years ago - and sooo.......

Not real happy about how it turned out - the soil was not dark enough to make the gold really pop I thought. But, I gave it a shot..... Happy Friday and thanks for looking !!

D200, Tamron 28-75, f/5.6, 75mm, 1/250, ISO100

SB-600, 1/8 into reflective umbrella camera right/high & crosslit with Minolta 5400xi camera left, bare @ 1/16

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Flickr Todd and Gary
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I have taken a couple of days off from the computer to spend time with my friends and family. I don't have any particular shot to post tonight so I figured that I would pull one from my snapshot folder and post it up.

This is a picture of my friend Todd and I.

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas weekend!! I will get caught back up with everyone tomorrow. :)

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Flickr Gold Rush Long Exposure
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8 Second exposure of TV show Gold Rush Alaska
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Flickr Gold Rush Alaska


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Flickr Aranylaz_Alaszkaban2_GOLD RUSH: ALASKA 2
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Fred Hurt
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Flickr Aranylaz_Alaszkaban2_GOLD RUSH: ALASKA 2
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Darren Zuck
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Flickr Aranylaz_Alaszkaban2_GOLD RUSH: ALASKA 2
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Porcupine Creek
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Under the old bank in Seattle. Apparently, the demands of prospectors returning from Gold Rush Alaska necessitated the first 24-hour teller!
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Flickr If There was Any Doubt
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Google Todd Hoffman and it autocompletes to Todd Hoffman Idiot. Todd runs the crew at Gold Rush Alaska.

--
Sent from bMobile

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Flickr Scott in the Glory Hole

a Discovery Channel, Gold Rush:Alaska reference...
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Flickr Sentinel Island Lighthouse (3 of 3)
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Cries of “Gold! Gold in the Klondike!” sparked one of the greatest gold rushes in history. In 1896, when George Carmack and his two brothers-in-law discovered the precious metal where Bonanza Creek flowed into the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory, the area was almost uninhabited. Soon, however, an army of fortune seekers surged northward from Seattle and other Pacific port cities to try their luck in the gold fields.
The route taken by most of the stampeders led them to Skagway, situated at the northern terminus of Lynn Canal and the Inside Passage. From Skagway, the goldseekers still faced an arduous 600-mile trek before they could start panning in the frigid Klondike waters. In observation of the centennial of the Gold Rush, Alaska issued colorful license plates depicting the determined gold seekers threading their way up to Chilkoot Pass en route to the Klondike.

Before the influx of people produced by the gold rush, Alaska’s waterways were marked by an occasional buoy, but the United States had yet to build a lighthouse along the vast coastline it had acquired in 1867. Strong currents, fog, rain, and a rocky shoreline made navigating the Inside Passage most challenging, and in 1898 alone, over three hundred maritime accidents were reported along the twisting waterway. Something had to be done to improve navigation, and the Lighthouse Board requested a hefty sum of $500,000 in 1900 for constructing several lighthouses in Alaska. Congress, however, only budgeted a paltry $100,000, which was dedicated towards lights at Five Finger Islands and Sentinel Island. The following year, an additional $200,000 was granted, and the task of lighting Alaska’s coast was gaining momentum.

George James, a Juneau resident, was awarded the contract for the construction of the Sentinel Island Lighthouse and work on the project commenced in 1901. To reach the island from Juneau, one had to sail along Gastineau Channel to Auke Bay, and then follow Favorite Channel to its northern end where it joined Lynn Canal, a total distance of twenty-three miles.

The original Sentinel Island lighthouse was the only one of its kind built in Alaska. The lighthouse consisted of a square wooden tower attached to the center of the westerly front of a keeper’s duplex, which was a large, two-story building with hipped cross gables. Atop the tower stood a 13-foot-tall, steel and glass lantern room that housed a fixed, fourth-order Fresnel lens. The focal plane of the lens was forty-two feet above the island, and eighty-two feet about the surrounding water at high tide.

In addition to the lighthouse, the following outbuildings and structures were built at the 6.5-acre station:

A fog signal building, outfitted with a third-class Daboll trumpet.
An oil house.
A dock supported by wooden pilings.
A boat house located on the dock.
A hoist house, adjacent to the boat house used for transferring the station’s boat to and from the water.
A 360-foot tramway, constructed of steel rails and wooden ties, that connected the dock and lighthouse.

A second hoist house containing the equipment for pulling a wheeled cart along the tramway.
The construction cost for the entire station was $21,267, and the Sentinel Island Lighthouse was activated on March 1, 1902, though substantial work was still needed. Sentinel Island could not stake sole claim as Alaska’s first lighthouse as Five Finger Islands Lighthouse, located at the entrance to Stephens Passage some eighty-plus miles south of Juneau, went into service the same day.

Navigating Lynn Canal was still treacherous even with a light on Sentinel Island. Early in the morning of August 5th 1910, the Princess May was southbound from Skagway carrying 80 passengers and a crew of 68 when she ran aground on the northern end of Sentinel Island. The passengers were safely off-loaded on the island where the keepers did all they could to make them comfortable. Efforts to float the vessel off the island at high tide failed, so sliding ways had to be built and rock blasted away before the Princess May was finally pulled free on September 3rd. After a week of repairs in Juneau, she continued her journey south.

Unfortunately, all shipwrecks near Sentinel Island did not occur without loss of life. On October 24, 1918, the S.S. Princess Sophia was also traveling south from Skagway when in bad weather she slammed into Vanderbilt Reef. Passengers were thrown from their births and dishes fell shattered to the galley floor. The captain radioed approaching rescue vessels that there was no immediate danger and that the ship would likely float free at high tide. Later that day, however, it was evident that the ship was stuck fast on the reef. The lighthouse tender Cedar along with the steamer King and Winge were standing by, but the reef made approaching the stranded vessel difficult in the approaching darkness.

The rescue vessels sought safe harbor for the night by following the light from Sentinel Island, located just over four miles southeast of the reef. By morning, the winds had increased to gale force preventing the transfer of passengers. The rescuers waited for the storm to abate. By late afternoon, blowing snow and waning light hid the Princess Sophia from view. Then, at 4:50 p.m., the Cedar received the following distress message: “Taking water and foundering. For God’s sake come and save us.” Thirty minutes later, the ships final radio transmission was heard: “Just time to say goodbye. We are foundering.” 343 people perished. The only living creature to survive was an English Setter that showed up at Auke Bay two days later coated with fuel and oil.

During the 1930s, many of the original wooden lighthouses built in Alaska were replaced with stout concrete lighthouses built in an Art Deco style. Such a structure was constructed on Sentinel Island in 1935. When the new lighthouse neared completion, a wooden trestle was built between it and the old lighthouse, enabling the lantern room to be slid into place atop the new tower. The replacement lighthouse consisted of an eleven-foot-square tower that rose to a height of just over fifty feet from the eastern face of a two-story fog signal building, measuring 28 by 34 feet. Pilasters, placed at the corners of the tower and fog building, project a few feet about the roofline and give the otherwise plain lighthouse a distinct flair. Another ornamentation found on the tower was a crest exhibiting an eagle, a sailing ship, and a lighthouse.

No longer needed, the top of the tower was removed from the original keepers' duplex, but the dwelling continued to provide shelter for the keepers until the station was automated in 1966. At that time, the fog signal was discontinued and generators provided the power for the light. To reduce maintenance costs, the Coast Guard burned the distinctive dwelling to the ground in 1971 and added solar power to the lighthouse in 1987. The foundation of the original duplex/lighthouse is still clearly visible in the grassy area south of the modern lighthouse, while the foundation of the original fog signal building is just to the west.

On April 26th, 2004, Interior Secretary announced that the Gastineau Channel Historical Society was the recipient of Sentinel Island Lighthouse, the first Alaskan lighthouse to be transferred under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. The society had been leasing the lighthouse from the Coast Guard for the previous six years and had demonstrated a commitment to preserving the historic buildings on Sentinel Island.

Present at the announcement ceremony was Governor Frank Murkowski, who has an interesting connection to Sentinel Island Lighthouse. In the early 1960s, Murkowski was stationed aboard the tenders Sorrel and Thistle, which regularly serviced the lighthouses of Southeast Alaska. Murlowksi recalled that “the Sentinel Island light was a particularly difficult one to service, because it has no good landing area and is exposed to the wind, sea, and swells of Lynn Canal. If the weather was not amenable, we didn't go in." Later, when Murkowski was serving as a U.S. Senator, he introduced the legislation, which now permits the transfer of lighthouses to deserving organizations.

Governor Murkowski concluded his remarks stating, “Lighthouses are a significant, historical part of the sea-going traditions of Southeast Alaska. I appreciate the efforts of Secretary Norton and the Department of the Interior, the Coast Guard, and the Gastineau Channel Historical Society to keep the lights burning brightly at the Sentinel Island Lighthouse for generations to come."

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Flickr Sentinel Island Lighthouse (1 of 3)
Tags: cruise   mountains   fog   alaska   clouds   island   lighthouses   insidepassage   lynncanal   alaskaferry   sentinelislandlighthouse   
Cries of “Gold! Gold in the Klondike!” sparked one of the greatest gold rushes in history. In 1896, when George Carmack and his two brothers-in-law discovered the precious metal where Bonanza Creek flowed into the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory, the area was almost uninhabited. Soon, however, an army of fortune seekers surged northward from Seattle and other Pacific port cities to try their luck in the gold fields.
The route taken by most of the stampeders led them to Skagway, situated at the northern terminus of Lynn Canal and the Inside Passage. From Skagway, the goldseekers still faced an arduous 600-mile trek before they could start panning in the frigid Klondike waters. In observation of the centennial of the Gold Rush, Alaska issued colorful license plates depicting the determined gold seekers threading their way up to Chilkoot Pass en route to the Klondike.

Before the influx of people produced by the gold rush, Alaska’s waterways were marked by an occasional buoy, but the United States had yet to build a lighthouse along the vast coastline it had acquired in 1867. Strong currents, fog, rain, and a rocky shoreline made navigating the Inside Passage most challenging, and in 1898 alone, over three hundred maritime accidents were reported along the twisting waterway. Something had to be done to improve navigation, and the Lighthouse Board requested a hefty sum of $500,000 in 1900 for constructing several lighthouses in Alaska. Congress, however, only budgeted a paltry $100,000, which was dedicated towards lights at Five Finger Islands and Sentinel Island. The following year, an additional $200,000 was granted, and the task of lighting Alaska’s coast was gaining momentum.

George James, a Juneau resident, was awarded the contract for the construction of the Sentinel Island Lighthouse and work on the project commenced in 1901. To reach the island from Juneau, one had to sail along Gastineau Channel to Auke Bay, and then follow Favorite Channel to its northern end where it joined Lynn Canal, a total distance of twenty-three miles.

The original Sentinel Island lighthouse was the only one of its kind built in Alaska. The lighthouse consisted of a square wooden tower attached to the center of the westerly front of a keeper’s duplex, which was a large, two-story building with hipped cross gables. Atop the tower stood a 13-foot-tall, steel and glass lantern room that housed a fixed, fourth-order Fresnel lens. The focal plane of the lens was forty-two feet above the island, and eighty-two feet about the surrounding water at high tide.

In addition to the lighthouse, the following outbuildings and structures were built at the 6.5-acre station:

A fog signal building, outfitted with a third-class Daboll trumpet.
An oil house.
A dock supported by wooden pilings.
A boat house located on the dock.
A hoist house, adjacent to the boat house used for transferring the station’s boat to and from the water.
A 360-foot tramway, constructed of steel rails and wooden ties, that connected the dock and lighthouse.

A second hoist house containing the equipment for pulling a wheeled cart along the tramway.
The construction cost for the entire station was $21,267, and the Sentinel Island Lighthouse was activated on March 1, 1902, though substantial work was still needed. Sentinel Island could not stake sole claim as Alaska’s first lighthouse as Five Finger Islands Lighthouse, located at the entrance to Stephens Passage some eighty-plus miles south of Juneau, went into service the same day.

Navigating Lynn Canal was still treacherous even with a light on Sentinel Island. Early in the morning of August 5th 1910, the Princess May was southbound from Skagway carrying 80 passengers and a crew of 68 when she ran aground on the northern end of Sentinel Island. The passengers were safely off-loaded on the island where the keepers did all they could to make them comfortable. Efforts to float the vessel off the island at high tide failed, so sliding ways had to be built and rock blasted away before the Princess May was finally pulled free on September 3rd. After a week of repairs in Juneau, she continued her journey south.

Unfortunately, all shipwrecks near Sentinel Island did not occur without loss of life. On October 24, 1918, the S.S. Princess Sophia was also traveling south from Skagway when in bad weather she slammed into Vanderbilt Reef. Passengers were thrown from their births and dishes fell shattered to the galley floor. The captain radioed approaching rescue vessels that there was no immediate danger and that the ship would likely float free at high tide. Later that day, however, it was evident that the ship was stuck fast on the reef. The lighthouse tender Cedar along with the steamer King and Winge were standing by, but the reef made approaching the stranded vessel difficult in the approaching darkness.

The rescue vessels sought safe harbor for the night by following the light from Sentinel Island, located just over four miles southeast of the reef. By morning, the winds had increased to gale force preventing the transfer of passengers. The rescuers waited for the storm to abate. By late afternoon, blowing snow and waning light hid the Princess Sophia from view. Then, at 4:50 p.m., the Cedar received the following distress message: “Taking water and foundering. For God’s sake come and save us.” Thirty minutes later, the ships final radio transmission was heard: “Just time to say goodbye. We are foundering.” 343 people perished. The only living creature to survive was an English Setter that showed up at Auke Bay two days later coated with fuel and oil.

During the 1930s, many of the original wooden lighthouses built in Alaska were replaced with stout concrete lighthouses built in an Art Deco style. Such a structure was constructed on Sentinel Island in 1935. When the new lighthouse neared completion, a wooden trestle was built between it and the old lighthouse, enabling the lantern room to be slid into place atop the new tower. The replacement lighthouse consisted of an eleven-foot-square tower that rose to a height of just over fifty feet from the eastern face of a two-story fog signal building, measuring 28 by 34 feet. Pilasters, placed at the corners of the tower and fog building, project a few feet about the roofline and give the otherwise plain lighthouse a distinct flair. Another ornamentation found on the tower was a crest exhibiting an eagle, a sailing ship, and a lighthouse.

No longer needed, the top of the tower was removed from the original keepers' duplex, but the dwelling continued to provide shelter for the keepers until the station was automated in 1966. At that time, the fog signal was discontinued and generators provided the power for the light. To reduce maintenance costs, the Coast Guard burned the distinctive dwelling to the ground in 1971 and added solar power to the lighthouse in 1987. The foundation of the original duplex/lighthouse is still clearly visible in the grassy area south of the modern lighthouse, while the foundation of the original fog signal building is just to the west.

On April 26th, 2004, Interior Secretary announced that the Gastineau Channel Historical Society was the recipient of Sentinel Island Lighthouse, the first Alaskan lighthouse to be transferred under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. The society had been leasing the lighthouse from the Coast Guard for the previous six years and had demonstrated a commitment to preserving the historic buildings on Sentinel Island.

Present at the announcement ceremony was Governor Frank Murkowski, who has an interesting connection to Sentinel Island Lighthouse. In the early 1960s, Murkowski was stationed aboard the tenders Sorrel and Thistle, which regularly serviced the lighthouses of Southeast Alaska. Murlowksi recalled that “the Sentinel Island light was a particularly difficult one to service, because it has no good landing area and is exposed to the wind, sea, and swells of Lynn Canal. If the weather was not amenable, we didn't go in." Later, when Murkowski was serving as a U.S. Senator, he introduced the legislation, which now permits the transfer of lighthouses to deserving organizations.

Governor Murkowski concluded his remarks stating, “Lighthouses are a significant, historical part of the sea-going traditions of Southeast Alaska. I appreciate the efforts of Secretary Norton and the Department of the Interior, the Coast Guard, and the Gastineau Channel Historical Society to keep the lights burning brightly at the Sentinel Island Lighthouse for generations to come."


Recent Updated: 4 years ago - Created by jimsawthat - View

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Flickr Sentinel Island Lighthouse (2 of 3)
Tags: cruise   mountains   fog   alaska   architecture   clouds   island   lighthouses   artdeco   insidepassage   hdr   lynncanal   alaskaferry   sentinelislandlighthouse   
Cries of “Gold! Gold in the Klondike!” sparked one of the greatest gold rushes in history. In 1896, when George Carmack and his two brothers-in-law discovered the precious metal where Bonanza Creek flowed into the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory, the area was almost uninhabited. Soon, however, an army of fortune seekers surged northward from Seattle and other Pacific port cities to try their luck in the gold fields.
The route taken by most of the stampeders led them to Skagway, situated at the northern terminus of Lynn Canal and the Inside Passage. From Skagway, the goldseekers still faced an arduous 600-mile trek before they could start panning in the frigid Klondike waters. In observation of the centennial of the Gold Rush, Alaska issued colorful license plates depicting the determined gold seekers threading their way up to Chilkoot Pass en route to the Klondike.

Before the influx of people produced by the gold rush, Alaska’s waterways were marked by an occasional buoy, but the United States had yet to build a lighthouse along the vast coastline it had acquired in 1867. Strong currents, fog, rain, and a rocky shoreline made navigating the Inside Passage most challenging, and in 1898 alone, over three hundred maritime accidents were reported along the twisting waterway. Something had to be done to improve navigation, and the Lighthouse Board requested a hefty sum of $500,000 in 1900 for constructing several lighthouses in Alaska. Congress, however, only budgeted a paltry $100,000, which was dedicated towards lights at Five Finger Islands and Sentinel Island. The following year, an additional $200,000 was granted, and the task of lighting Alaska’s coast was gaining momentum.

George James, a Juneau resident, was awarded the contract for the construction of the Sentinel Island Lighthouse and work on the project commenced in 1901. To reach the island from Juneau, one had to sail along Gastineau Channel to Auke Bay, and then follow Favorite Channel to its northern end where it joined Lynn Canal, a total distance of twenty-three miles.

The original Sentinel Island lighthouse was the only one of its kind built in Alaska. The lighthouse consisted of a square wooden tower attached to the center of the westerly front of a keeper’s duplex, which was a large, two-story building with hipped cross gables. Atop the tower stood a 13-foot-tall, steel and glass lantern room that housed a fixed, fourth-order Fresnel lens. The focal plane of the lens was forty-two feet above the island, and eighty-two feet about the surrounding water at high tide.

In addition to the lighthouse, the following outbuildings and structures were built at the 6.5-acre station:

A fog signal building, outfitted with a third-class Daboll trumpet.
An oil house.
A dock supported by wooden pilings.
A boat house located on the dock.
A hoist house, adjacent to the boat house used for transferring the station’s boat to and from the water.
A 360-foot tramway, constructed of steel rails and wooden ties, that connected the dock and lighthouse.

A second hoist house containing the equipment for pulling a wheeled cart along the tramway.
The construction cost for the entire station was $21,267, and the Sentinel Island Lighthouse was activated on March 1, 1902, though substantial work was still needed. Sentinel Island could not stake sole claim as Alaska’s first lighthouse as Five Finger Islands Lighthouse, located at the entrance to Stephens Passage some eighty-plus miles south of Juneau, went into service the same day.

Navigating Lynn Canal was still treacherous even with a light on Sentinel Island. Early in the morning of August 5th 1910, the Princess May was southbound from Skagway carrying 80 passengers and a crew of 68 when she ran aground on the northern end of Sentinel Island. The passengers were safely off-loaded on the island where the keepers did all they could to make them comfortable. Efforts to float the vessel off the island at high tide failed, so sliding ways had to be built and rock blasted away before the Princess May was finally pulled free on September 3rd. After a week of repairs in Juneau, she continued her journey south.

Unfortunately, all shipwrecks near Sentinel Island did not occur without loss of life. On October 24, 1918, the S.S. Princess Sophia was also traveling south from Skagway when in bad weather she slammed into Vanderbilt Reef. Passengers were thrown from their births and dishes fell shattered to the galley floor. The captain radioed approaching rescue vessels that there was no immediate danger and that the ship would likely float free at high tide. Later that day, however, it was evident that the ship was stuck fast on the reef. The lighthouse tender Cedar along with the steamer King and Winge were standing by, but the reef made approaching the stranded vessel difficult in the approaching darkness.

The rescue vessels sought safe harbor for the night by following the light from Sentinel Island, located just over four miles southeast of the reef. By morning, the winds had increased to gale force preventing the transfer of passengers. The rescuers waited for the storm to abate. By late afternoon, blowing snow and waning light hid the Princess Sophia from view. Then, at 4:50 p.m., the Cedar received the following distress message: “Taking water and foundering. For God’s sake come and save us.” Thirty minutes later, the ships final radio transmission was heard: “Just time to say goodbye. We are foundering.” 343 people perished. The only living creature to survive was an English Setter that showed up at Auke Bay two days later coated with fuel and oil.

During the 1930s, many of the original wooden lighthouses built in Alaska were replaced with stout concrete lighthouses built in an Art Deco style. Such a structure was constructed on Sentinel Island in 1935. When the new lighthouse neared completion, a wooden trestle was built between it and the old lighthouse, enabling the lantern room to be slid into place atop the new tower. The replacement lighthouse consisted of an eleven-foot-square tower that rose to a height of just over fifty feet from the eastern face of a two-story fog signal building, measuring 28 by 34 feet. Pilasters, placed at the corners of the tower and fog building, project a few feet about the roofline and give the otherwise plain lighthouse a distinct flair. Another ornamentation found on the tower was a crest exhibiting an eagle, a sailing ship, and a lighthouse.

No longer needed, the top of the tower was removed from the original keepers' duplex, but the dwelling continued to provide shelter for the keepers until the station was automated in 1966. At that time, the fog signal was discontinued and generators provided the power for the light. To reduce maintenance costs, the Coast Guard burned the distinctive dwelling to the ground in 1971 and added solar power to the lighthouse in 1987. The foundation of the original duplex/lighthouse is still clearly visible in the grassy area south of the modern lighthouse, while the foundation of the original fog signal building is just to the west.

On April 26th, 2004, Interior Secretary announced that the Gastineau Channel Historical Society was the recipient of Sentinel Island Lighthouse, the first Alaskan lighthouse to be transferred under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. The society had been leasing the lighthouse from the Coast Guard for the previous six years and had demonstrated a commitment to preserving the historic buildings on Sentinel Island.

Present at the announcement ceremony was Governor Frank Murkowski, who has an interesting connection to Sentinel Island Lighthouse. In the early 1960s, Murkowski was stationed aboard the tenders Sorrel and Thistle, which regularly serviced the lighthouses of Southeast Alaska. Murlowksi recalled that “the Sentinel Island light was a particularly difficult one to service, because it has no good landing area and is exposed to the wind, sea, and swells of Lynn Canal. If the weather was not amenable, we didn't go in." Later, when Murkowski was serving as a U.S. Senator, he introduced the legislation, which now permits the transfer of lighthouses to deserving organizations.

Governor Murkowski concluded his remarks stating, “Lighthouses are a significant, historical part of the sea-going traditions of Southeast Alaska. I appreciate the efforts of Secretary Norton and the Department of the Interior, the Coast Guard, and the Gastineau Channel Historical Society to keep the lights burning brightly at the Sentinel Island Lighthouse for generations to come."

Recent Updated: 4 years ago - Created by jimsawthat - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - jimsawthat
Flickr

late 19th century, klondike gold rush, alaska
Recent Updated: 5 years ago - Created by John (Tex) O'Connor - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - John (Tex) O'Connor
Flickr Old Lady Justice at Dusk
Tags: california   lighting   county   ca   sunset   sky   building   history   clouds   buildings   court   lights   evening   justice   skies   sundown   dusk   famous   topv999   structures   superior   auburn   center   structure   historic   dome   era   historical   courthouse   placer   goldrush   placercounty   goldcountry   1890s   1898   1894   domed   1750mm   placercountycourthouse   placercountysuperiorcourt   placercountysuperiorcourthouse   oldladyjustice   
Old Lady Justice at Dusk
Placer County Superior Court
Auburn, California

I've photographed this magnificent building during full daylight and under artificial illumination at night. I wanted to capture this image at the cusp between the two.

Here's the history of the courthouse:

After gold discovery in 1848 and the ensuing California Gold Rush of 1849, it was only a year later that the first murder occurred over, what else, gold! A judicial system was subsequently established for the area serving what is now Placer County, California. For almost 50 years, court was held in various structures ranging from a tent to a two story wooden building. Construction of the existing courthouse started in 1894. Some historic records indicate that gold and silver coins were sealed inside the cornerstone at that time. Judicial operations commenced here in 1898 when construction of the courthouse was completed. The courthouse is still in full use today, more than 100 years later.

The courthouse is located on the historic Lincoln Highway.

Original caption based on public information.

Recent Updated: 5 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - encouragement
Flickr Statue of Claude Chana - First Gold Miner in the Region of Auburn, California - California Gold Country
Tags: california   ca   sculpture   history   tourism   monument   statue   fruit   french   gold   mine   tour   topv999   auburn   historic   mining   historical   pan   rancher   topv9999   panning   nuggets   oldtown   pioneer   sculptures   placer   miner   nugget   goldrush   placercounty   americanriver   frenchman   founder   lincolnhighway   statures   1849   goldpan   goldpanning   grower   panningforgold   49er   route40   highway40   1750mm   kennethfox   claudechana   interstate89   kennethhfox   oldtownauburn   auburnravine   calforniagoldrush   
Statue of Claude Chana
1811 - 1882
Statue in Old Town Auburn
Sculpted by Dr. Kenneth H. Fox
Auburn, Placer County, California

Claude Chana was a pioneering gold miner and fruit grower in the California Gold Country during the mid to late 1800's. He is credited with founding the town of Auburn. This statue, about three-or-four times real-life size, can be found in Old Town Auburn adjacent to Interstate 80.

More on his life and contributions to the area are discussed by the Placer County Historical Society here:

www.placercountyhistoricalsociety.org/Histories/Claude.htm

Recent Updated: 5 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

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Flickr Placer County Courthouse
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Placer County Courthouse
Placer County Superior Court
Constructed 1894-1898
Placer County
Auburn, California

After gold discovery in 1848 and the ensuing California Gold Rush of 1849, it was only a year later that the first murder occurred over, what else, gold! A judicial system was subsequently established for the area serving what is now Placer County, California. For almost 50 years, court was held in various structures ranging from a tent to a two story wooden building. Construction of the existing courthouse started in 1894. Some historic records indicate that gold and silver coins were sealed inside the cornerstone at that time. Judicial operations commenced here in 1898 when construction of the courthouse was completed. The courthouse is still in full use today, more than 100 years later.

The courthouse is located on the historic Lincoln Highway.

Original caption based on public information.

Recent Updated: 5 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - encouragement
Flickr Placer County Courthouse - Now and Then Comparison
Tags: california   county   ca   blackandwhite   bw   foothills   history   court   photo   1930s   highway   topv999   superior   auburn   before   location   historic   same   lincoln   historical   plus   after   courthouse   years   recreation   beforeandafter   circa   sierranevada   comparison   2009   placer   compare   beforeafter   thenandnow   placercounty   nowandthen   thennow   1890s   1898   1894   lincolnhighway   sierranevadamountains   nowthen   1750mm   samelocation   
Placer County Courthouse - Now and Then Comparison
Placer County Superior Court
March 2009 View
Auburn, Placer County, California

As part of my historic photo project, I am taking photos to directly compare vintage views with those of modern day. At this site, I have linked the following photo from circa 1930's:

www.usgwarchives.org/ca/placer/postcards/aubch.jpg

If you launch the link and minimize both windows, then you can do a side by side comparison. I have not attached the vintage photo here since I do not own the copyright.

The courthouse itself has undegone virtually no cosmetic change! The primary dome does appear much more tarnished in the modern photo though.

On the modern grounds, the driveway has been widened to increase parking and an island has been added at the entrance (far right). Lighting standards have also been added. The granite curb between the grass and the sidewalk in the foreground may have been repaired at some point, but is virtually unchanged as well. Based on location, it appears that the tree on the right of the modern photo lines up perfectly with the tree in the historic photo, but the height is nearly the same. Is it the same tree? I don't know.

It is interesting to note that there are no flags flying in the historic photo.

If you can more closely date the historical photo by identifying the vehicles, please leave a comment or send me a flickrmail message.

______________________________

Here's information on the courthouse itself:

After gold discovery in 1848 and the ensuing California Gold Rush of 1849, it was only a year later that the first murder occurred over, what else, gold! A judicial system was subsequently established for the area serving what is now Placer County, California. For almost 50 years, court was held in various structures ranging from a tent to a two story wooden building. Construction of the existing courthouse started in 1894. Some historic records indicate that gold and silver coins were sealed inside the cornerstone at that time. Judicial operations commenced here in 1898 when construction of the courthouse was completed. The courthouse is still in full use today, more than 100 years later.

The courthouse is located on the historic Lincoln Highway.

Original caption based on public information.

Recent Updated: 5 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - encouragement
Flickr Summit Tunnel Portal
Tags: california   ca   railroad   mountain   mountains   history   rock   hand   labor   topv999   chinese   hard   tunnel   historic   mining   granite   summit   historical   sierranevada   1860s   sierranevadas   donner   placercounty   goldcountry   blackpowder   transcontinental   nevadacounty   sierranevadamountains   northamerican   1868   1867   drilled   tunneling   donnersummit   nitroglycerine   1750mm   centralpacificrailroad   summittunnel   greatsummittunnel   
Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada
Original North American Transcontinental Railroad Alignment
Central Pacific Railroad
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Placer County, California

Through this tunnel the first North American transcontinental railroad traversed the mighty Sierra Nevada Range. The 1,659 foot long summit tunnel took over 15 months of Chinese muscle and sweat to build. The Chinese painstakingly hand drilled, then blasted the granite rock with black powder and newly invented nitroglycerine. A vertical shaft took 85 days to complete and allowed tunnel construction to proceed from the center as well as from the portals. The most difficult obstacle facing the Central Pacific Railroad was overcome when the tunnel was completed in August 1867. The first passenger train passed through the tunnel on June 18, 1868. The last train went through in 1993. [Note: Text taken from historical monument placed near the summit tunnel].

Additional Observations and Notes

Based on the historical data, tunneling progressed at an average rate of 110 feet per month, or about 4.2 feet per day assuming a 6 day work week. Since we know that the tunneling progressed from the two portals toward the center as well as from the center toward the two portals, there were actually four faces being tunneled. That breaks the average tunneling progress down to about 1-ft per day at each face.

Modern train traffic traverses a new route in the near vicinity. The rails and ties were removed from the original tunnel following diversion of rail traffic in 1993.

Recent Updated: 5 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - encouragement
Flickr Summit Tunnel
Tags: california   ca   railroad   mountain   mountains   history   rock   hand   labor   topv999   chinese   hard   tunnel   historic   mining   granite   summit   historical   sierranevada   1860s   sierranevadas   donner   placercounty   goldcountry   blackpowder   transcontinental   nevadacounty   sierranevadamountains   northamerican   1868   1867   drilled   tunneling   donnersummit   nitroglycerine   1750mm   centralpacificrailroad   summittunnel   greatsummittunnel   
Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada
Original North American Transcontinental Railroad Alignment
Central Pacific Railroad
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Placer County, California

Through this tunnel the first North American transcontinental railroad traversed the mighty Sierra Nevada Range. The 1,659 foot long summit tunnel took over 15 months of Chinese muscle and sweat to build. The Chinese painstakingly hand drilled, then blasted the granite rock with black powder and newly invented nitroglycerine. A vertical shaft took 85 days to complete and allowed tunnel construction to proceed from the center as well as from the portals. The most difficult obstacle facing the Central Pacific Railroad was overcome when the tunnel was completed in August 1867. The first passenger train passed through the tunnel on June 18, 1868. The last train went through in 1993. [Note: Text taken from historical monument placed near the summit tunnel].

Additional Observations and Notes

Based on the historical data, tunneling progressed at an average rate of 110 feet per month, or about 4.2 feet per day assuming a 6 day work week. Since we know that the tunneling progressed from the two portals toward the center as well as from the center toward the two portals, there were actually four faces being tunneled. That breaks the average tunneling progress down to about 1-ft per day at each face.

Modern train traffic traverses a new route in the near vicinity. The rails and ties were removed from the original tunnel following diversion of rail traffic in 1993.

Recent Updated: 5 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - encouragement
Flickr mmm52

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Recent Updated: 5 years ago - Created by deanvincenti - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - deanvincenti
Flickr Artifacts!
Tags: hiking   yukon   chilkoottrail   skagwaydyeaartifactsklondikegoldrushalaska   
The artifacts from the gold rush were strew all along the trail. It mad you feel like the rush happened just yesterday!
Recent Updated: 6 years ago - Created by Golden Sheep - View

Copyright and permission to use should be sought to the author - Golden Sheep
Flickr Rattlesnake Bar Bridge at American River - Now and Then Comparison
Tags: california   road   ca   bridge   copyright   foothills   history   newcastle   photo   suspension   topv999   1800s   folsom   bridges   auburn   cable   before   location   historic   same   drought   toll   historical   plus   after   years   recreation   beforeandafter   circa   sierranevada   topv9999   1860s   2008   comparison   remnants   compare   beforeafter   northfork   thenandnow   placercounty   americanriver   nowandthen   thennow   1870   remnant   1870s   sierranevadamountains   rattlesnakebar   nowthen   1750mm   
Rattlesnake Bar Bridge at American River - Now and Then Comparison
February 2008 View
Placer County, California

As part of my historic photo project, I am taking photos to directly compare vintage views with those of modern day. At this site, I have linked the following photo from the 1870's:

Rattlesnake Bar Bridge Circa 1870

If you launch the link and minimize both windows, then you can do a side by side comparison. I have not attached the vintage photo here since I do not own the copyright. Here’s the history of the site:

After gold discovery in 1848 and the ensuing California Gold Rush of 1849, gold miners and the business proprietors who supported them were also busy making road and bridge improvements to facilitate transportation throughout the Sierra Nevada foothills. Everything from food to heavy equipment was moving into the hills from Sacramento and San Francisco to supply the increasing number of people working the mine tunnels and hydraulic mining operations. Opportunistic entrepreneurs and highly bankrolled partnerships were developing toll roads and toll bridges at key locations where travelers could avoid massive amounts of time and effort by paying the tolls and using the new infrastructure.

Throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Rattlesnake Bar was a key river crossing that linked the lower American River and its towns (Sacramento and Folsom) to the Middle and North Forks of the American River with access to major crossroads and facilities in Auburn and Colfax. The bridge was a single-span cable suspension structure supported on stone masonry piers.

In 1956, the US Bureau of Reclamation completed the 275-ft high concrete gravity dam across the lower American River at Folsom, California. The 975,000 acre-foot capacity reservoir formed by the dam typically inundates the historic bridge at Rattlesnake Bar. The bridge superstructure was removed long-ago, but remnants of the bridge piers and foundations emerge during periodic drought conditions.

Original caption based on public information.

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Flickr Foresthill Bridge Over the North Fork of the American River
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Foresthill Bridge
North Fork of the American River
Placer County, California

The Foresthill Bridge over the North Fork of the American River is located near the town of Auburn, California, USA. The US Bureau of Reclamation commissioned the design and construction of this bridge during the 1970's in anticipation of the completion of the Auburn Dam. The bridge was constructed to replace the original road (visible just above the river) from Auburn to Foresthill. That road would have been submerged as much as 550-ft below the surface of Auburn Reservoir, however, uncertainties about earthquake faulting were discovered in the area of the dam, so construction was stopped and has never been restarted.

This photo was taken at a distance of 3,700 ft (0.70 miles) from from the bridge. It's not often that you have to back up that far to get a full frame shot of your subject at 28mm focal length (45 mm film equivalent)!

Bridge Factoids:
- The Foresthill Bridge is 730-ft tall as measured from the bridge deck to the American River below.
- It is the highest bridge crossing in California, the third highest in the United States, and the ninth highest in the world.
- The bridge is approximately 2,000-ft in length.
- Construction was completed in 1973 at a cost of nearly $13 million.
- The footings for the two prominent concrete towers are about 100-ft by 100-ft wide and founded as much as 80-ft below ground due to poor rock quality on the slopes of the hillside.
- The bridge is often used by BASE Jumpers as a parachuting platform.
- A stunt for the movie "XXX" was shot here; it included the launching of a Chevrolet Corvette convertible over the edge of the deck with a BASE Jumper in the vehicle.
- An episode of "Stunt Junkies" was filmed here featuring a parchute jump from a helicopter above the bridge followed by a "swooping" of the bridge deck, cut-away of the main chute, a new free-fall over the bridge railing and a BASE jump chute deployment thereafter -- all in one continuous stunt!

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to research seismic deficiencies and to work on potential seismic retrofit strategies for this structure before the County temporarily terminated retrofit work due to a lack of funding.

Very cool automated 360-degree virtual tour of this area is located
here

Original caption based upon personal and public information.

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Flickr The American River Gorge – A Semi-Grand Canyon
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The American River Gorge – A Semi-Grand Canyon
North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Placer County, California

The North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River flows a half mile (2,600 ft) below the summits of Mosquito Ridge to the left (south) and the Foresthill Divide to the right (north) in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This area was made famous by the California Gold Rush of 1849. I can’t imagine packing all of my supplies in and out of these canyons by foot and horseback.

In modern day, runners in the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race ascend and descend this canyon several times enroute to a total of 18,000 feet of climbing and 22,000 ft of descent -- all within 24-hours!!!

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Flickr Stone Fenceposts from a Granite Quary - Rocklin, California
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Stone Fenceposts
Placer County, California

By the late 1860’s, the original transcontinental railroad had been established through Placer County and into the high Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. At stops along the way, wood was at a premium for all kinds of uses; gold mining, community development, heating, and most of all for firing the hungry furnaces of the steam locomotives. As a result, granite quarries throughout Placer County sprung to life to provide stone for structures as far away as San Francisco. These stone fenceposts, silent sentinels of that bygone era, remain to this day in testament to a period when stone was more common than wood.

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Flickr Placer County Superior Court
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Placer County Superior Court
Constructed 1894-1898
Auburn, California

After gold discovery in 1848 and the ensuing Gold Rush of 1849, it was only a year later that the first murder occurred over, what else, gold! A judicial system was subsequently established for the area serving what is now Placer County, California. For almost 50 years, court was held in various structures ranging from a tent to a two story wooden building. Construction of the existing courthouse started in 1894. Some historic records indicate that gold and silver coins were sealed inside the cornerstone at that time. Judicial operations commenced here in 1898 when construction of the courthouse was completed. The courthouse is still in full use today, more than 100 years later.

The courthouse is located on the historic Lincoln Highway.

Original caption based on public information.
_____________________________________

© 2007 GDA Photography, All Rights Reserved
You do NOT have the right to copy, print, download, display, alter, blog, stream or otherwise use this photo or caption in any manner without the express written consent of the copyright holder. To purchase or request permission to use this photo, click here and then click the “Send FlickrMail” link to send an email message to the copyright holder. You will need a Flickr account to do this.

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Flickr Indian Summer
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South Yuba River
Bridgeport
Nevada County, California

Long lazy days of warmth yield to quickly crisp nights.
The foliage can't decide whether to live or die.
This is the cusp between green and yellow.
This is Indian Summer.

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Flickr Wells Fargo & Co. Express Building - 1853
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Wells Fargo & Co. Express
Constructed in 1853
Photo taken September 2006 at a Structure Age of 153 Years
French Corral Mining Camp / Gold Town
Nevada County, California

The gold mining camp named French Corral was established in 1849. It is located about 8 miles northwest of Nevada City in the northern reaches of California’s “Gold Country”. As with most mining camps of the gold rush era, the name came ready-made from the local terrain and inhabitants - here, from the presence of a French settler who had a horse corral in the area. The earliest western long distance phone line passed through French Camp in 1878 to connect mining sites throughout the region. The 60 mile line was constructed at a cost of about $6,000, an average of $100 per mile. The Wells Fargo building is the last remnant of French Corral from the Gold Rush era.

If only this location had an ATM!

The location of this photo has been mapped on Flickr.

Notes to the Mentor My Photography, Please! Group:
I wish I had been able to get a "perspective", or more 3D view of the building. With the only lens I own (28-135 zoom), I could not move left or right (blocked by trees), forward (would only capture part of the building) or backward (private property). A good wide angle lens would have sufficed nicely. I have many ideas for a reshoot when I get back there someday with a wider array of photographic equipment. Note the hefty 1.5 stop underexposure bias ... I was trying to preserve the color and detail in the bright areas without losing too much in the shadows. Even after adjustment, it gives the entire exposure a dark hue, but the color and saturation are better than I usually get in exposures without bias.

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Flickr South Yuba River Bridge (II)
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South Yuba River Bridge (II)
Old Highway 49 Bridge across the South Yuba River
Nevada County, California

The rising popularity of the automobile in the 1920’s created a need for new roads and bridges. The State of California began building this rainbow-arch style concrete bridge in October 1921 and completed it in early 1922. Prior to this time, traffic to North San Juan or Downieville crossed the river at the existing Purdon’s Crossing Bridge about five miles upstream, or at the Jones Bar Bridge, which was dismantled in 1918, one mile downstream. In 1993, the California Department of Transportation built the present Highway 49 Bridge. The old bridge continues to service pedestrian traffic. [Note: historical description is from a State informational kiosk at the site].

Location
39°17'53.21"N, 121° 5'21.33"W
39.29811,-121.08926

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Flickr South Yuba River Bridge (I)
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South Yuba River Bridge
Old Highway 49 Bridge across the South Yuba River
Nevada County, California

The rising popularity of the automobile in the 1920’s created a need for new roads and bridges. The State of California began building this rainbow-arch style concrete bridge in October 1921 and completed it in early 1922. Prior to this time, traffic to North San Juan or Downieville crossed the river at the existing Purdon’s Crossing Bridge about five miles upstream, or at the Jones Bar Bridge, which was dismantled in 1918, one mile downstream. In 1993, the California Department of Transportation built the present Highway 49 Bridge. The old bridge continues to service pedestrian traffic.
[Note: historical description is from a State informational kiosk at the site].

Location
39°17'53.21"N, 121° 5'21.33"W
39.29811,-121.08926

You've GOT to see the flood photo at this location by viewing the following link:

www.flickr.com/photos/moodyweaver/80015122/

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Flickr Nevada City Victorian - Circa 1860
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Victorian Home – Circa 1860
Photo taken September 2006 at a Structure Age of 140+ Years
522 East Broad Street
Nevada City, California

This stunning Victorian home is located at the top of Broad Street in a neighborhood of similar historic homes. I highly recommend viewing the HUGE version of this one to appreciate the detail of its woodwork, doors, stained glass, stone foundation and prominent spire.

Nevada City was twice burned to its foundations, first in 1856 and again in 1863. The oldest surviving structures today were rebuilt from their stone and masonry frames, or constructed anew after the last major fire.

Nevada City was a major center of banking, commerce and justice during the California Gold Rush era throughout the mid to late 19th Century. It was originally settled in 1849 under various names that included Coyoteville and Deer Creek Dry Diggings. The name Nevada, a Spanish word meaning “covered with snow” was bestowed upon the town in the 1850’s. When the neighboring territory later chose the same name to be adopted into statehood, the town’s name was changed to Nevada City to avoid confusion.

The location of this photo has been mapped on Flickr.

Notes to the Mentor My Photography, Please! Group:
Again, I wish the opportunities had been better for a "perspective", or more 3D view of the building. Trees blocked views to the left and power lines blocked better views to the right. Note the hefty underexposure bias ... I was trying to preserve the detail of the bright white. I find that the color and saturation are better than I usually get in exposures without bias though the details in shadow are definitely compromised.

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Flickr Iowa Hill Bridge at North Fork American River
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Iowa Hill Bridge
Iowa Hill Road at the North Fork of the American River
Placer County, California

The Iowa Hill Bridge is a twin of the Yankee Jims Bridge about 4.5 miles downstream. This is California gold country made famous by the Gold Rush of 1849!

Even on the day I shot this photograph, there were miners still working their dredges, sluice boxes and gold pans for the valuable placer gold that still exists in the hills and waters of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Gold seekers are warned to obey posted mining claims and private property. No claim jumpers allowed!

The Bridge

The 150± foot long, one-lane steel cable suspension bridge was constructed circa 1928 to serve as a reliable all-season link between the gold towns of Colfax and Iowa Hill, California. Cables are anchored into bedrock and supported by short steel towers resting on stone masonry piers at each end of the structure. This historic bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic, but remains servicable for pedestrians and cyclists. A new bridge for vehicular traffic has been constructed just downstream.

Location

39° 5'59.76"N, 120°55'29.38"W
39.09993,-120.92483

Local History

The town of Colfax was originally settled in 1851 as a supply depot and transportation crossroad for gold miners who came to California as part of the 1849 Gold Rush. A decade later the country was entangled in the Civil War. As a result, the Lincoln administration backed construction of a transcontinental railroad which they viewed as an investment to keep western states and territories from seceding from the Union, as well as a vehicle to provide wealth and resources to the North. Colfax found itself on the original transcontinental railroad alignment, and just a few miles from one of the most challenging topographic and geologic hurdles on the entire route – the Capehorn Promontory, a rail grade hewn from solid rock more than 1,300 feet above the North Fork of the American River. Colfax, originally known as Illinoistown, is named in honor of Schuyler Colfax who, in 1868, was elected vice-president of the United States on the Republican ticket headed by Ulysses S. Grant.

Gold was discovered in the vicinity of Iowa Hill in 1853 and by 1856 the local gold production was estimated at $100,000 weekly. The total value of gold produced near Iowa Hill has been estimated at $20,000,000 (see current dollar equivalents below). The town was destroyed by fire in 1857 and again in 1862, but each time the town was rebuilt with more substantial structures. The last fire to destroy the town occurred in 1920. [Note: Iowa Hill information is from California State Historical Marker No. 401].

Interesting

In 2005 dollars, the $100,000.00 weekly gold haul from 1856 Iowa Hill is worth:
$2.29 million weekly using the Consumer Price Index
$1.80 million weekly using the GDP deflator
$16.69 milliion weekly using the unskilled wage
$29.68 million weekly using the nominal GDP per capita

In 2005 dollars, the $20,000,000.00 total haul of gold from 1856 Iowa Hill is worth:
$458 million total using the Consumer Price Index
$361 million total using the GDP deflator
$3.34 BILLION total using the unskilled wage
$5.94 BILLION total using the nominal GDP per capita

Links to other items of related historical interest:

Chinese-American Contribution to the Transcontinental Railroad

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Flickr Iowa Hill Road - California Gold Country - Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
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Iowa Hill Road
California Gold Country
Placer County, California

The sign leading into this remote area in California's Gold Country warns, "Primitive Road". I don't know that it's primitive, but it is narrow (one lane) and if you happen to drive off, there are places where you can drop more than 500 feet into the American River below. Speaking of gold, there are still people digging, panning and dredging here, even today!

California's Gold Country is a vast area along the west side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is, of course, famous for the Gold Rush of 1849.

The famous "Cape Horn Promontory", a historic area of the original North American Transcontinental Railroad can be seen at the extreme upper edge of the photo, just left of center. That area of the rail line is some 1,300-1,400 feet above the valley floor.

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Flickr Yankee Jim's Waterfall
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Yankee Jims Waterfall
Yankee Jims Road
Placer County, California

Just a little experiment here to learn more about photographing waterfall scenes. Notes to self for next time: 1) one-fifth the leaves or bring chainsaw, 2) 5 times more water flow or don't come in August, 3) find bigger waterfall, 4) take photo lessons. I DO love how the tree is growing on top of a rock! This wonderful little setting is on Yankee Jim's Road, a remote area in the Gold Country of California. Can you imagine sitting here and finding gold nuggets too? Now you're just dreaming!

Location
39° 2'21.00"N, 120°53'42.05"W
39.03917, -120.89501

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Flickr Can You Find the Gold Nugget?
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Can You Find the Gold Nugget?
Yankee Jims Bridge
North Fork of the American River
Placer County, California

Shadow of Yankee Jims Suspension Bridge on Yankee Jims Road at the North Fork of the American River in Placer County, California. The cold, clean blue-green waters of the American River are fed by snow melt from high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is California gold country made famous by the Gold Rush of 1849!

Even on the day I shot this photograph, there were miners still working their dredges, sluice boxes and gold pans for the valuable placer gold that still exists in the hills and waters of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Gold seekers are warned to obey posted mining claims and private property. No claim jumpers allowed!

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Flickr Yankee Jims Bridge - North Fork American River (ii)
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Yankee Jims Bridge (II)
Yankee Jims Road at the North Fork of the American River
Placer County, California

This is California gold country made famous by the Gold Rush of 1849! The 150± foot long, one-lane steel cable suspension bridge was constructed circa 1929 to serve as a reliable all-season link between the gold towns of Colfax, Yankee Jims and Foresthill, California. Cables are anchored into bedrock and supported by short steel towers resting on stone masonry piers at each end of the structure. Current load limit is 3 tons.

Even on the day I shot this photograph, there were miners still working their dredges, sluice boxes and gold pans for the valuable placer gold that still exists in the hills and waters of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Gold seekers are warned to obey posted mining claims and private property. No claim jumpers allowed!

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Flickr Yankee Jims Bridge - North Fork American River (i)
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Yankee Jims Bridge
Yankee Jims Road at the North Fork of the American River
Placer County, California

This is California gold country made famous by the Gold Rush of 1849! The 150± foot long, one-lane steel cable suspension bridge was constructed circa 1929 to serve as a reliable all-season link between the gold towns of Colfax, Yankee Jims and Foresthill, California. Cables are anchored into bedrock and supported by short steel towers resting on stone masonry piers at each end of the structure. Current load limit is 3 tons.

Even on the day I shot this photograph, there were miners still working their dredges, sluice boxes and gold pans for the valuable placer gold that still exists in the hills and waters of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Gold seekers are warned to obey posted mining claims and private property. No claim jumpers allowed!

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Flickr Circle Bridge: Mosquito Ridge Road crossing over the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River - California
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Circle Bridge
Mosquito Ridge Road crossing over the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River
Placer County, California

“Circle Bridge” is the Mosquito Ridge Road crossing over the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River in Placer County, California. It is a curved alignment steel truss bridge with steel truss tower-piers. The use of steel was maximized in the construction of this remote, vintage bridge since it was easier and less labor intensive to get steel sections to the site, as opposed to hauling and casting concrete.

This bridge is in the upper reaches of California’s “Gold Country”, a vast area throughout the western foothills and mountains of the Sierra Nevada Range. The river area shown is still an active registered placer mining claim. The historic region of Michigan Bluff, which includes the “Big Gun Diggings” and dozens of other surface (placer) and tunneled (lode) gold mines, is located about one mile to the north-northwest. The Imperial Mine is located about 0.6 miles west-southwest (downstream) from the bridge.

Mosquito Ridge Road is also known as Tahoe National Forest Road 94, a well maintained road between the town of Foresthill, CA and Donner Summit.

Details:
Bridge Length: ?
Year Constructed: ?
Bridge Elevation: 1391 feet
Bridge Latitude: -120.71973
Bridge Longitude: 39.02482

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Flickr Gold Mine Adit - California Gold Country - Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
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Gold Mine Adit
Placer County, California

There are hundreds, if not thousands of gold mines within the hillsides of California’s “Gold Country”, a vast area along the western flank of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Most mines have been dormant within the recent past, lacking either productive veins or sufficient price on the gold market.

The pipelines shown here are probably used to pump air and water into and out-of the mine, respectively. I'm not sure why the door is painted blue. Perhaps it's so the door is visible in the shadows so passers-by can see that the mine is locked up. It's definitely not for bats! For the mine owner's privacy, this photo is NOT mapped! Sorry!

Recent Updated: 8 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

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Flickr Hand Stacked Rock Wall – Can You Find the Funny Feature?
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Hand Stacked Rock Wall
Placer County, California

This is a hand-stacked rock wall at the portal to a gold mine tunnel near Mosquito Ridge Road in Placer County, California. Though I did not see it at the time I shot the area, I was amused by what I saw when I uploaded this image. Can you find the funny feature? Please leave me a comment when you have spotted it, and let me know how it made you feel. [Note: Please don’t outline the feature with a Flickr note. That way all who view will have the same hunting opportunity. Thanks!].

Recent Updated: 8 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

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Flickr American River Confluence
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American River Confluence
Middle Fork and North Fork of the American River
Placer County, California

This photo was taken at the confluence of the North Fork (background) and Middle Fork (foreground) of the American River near Auburn, California, USA. Just a few miles upstream from this location, gold was "first" discovered by James Marshall at Sutter's Mill in the river town of Coloma, California. That event set-off one of the greatest gold rushes in history. Gold panners still work this area today.

Recent Updated: 8 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

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Flickr Guy West Bridge Across the American River (e3)
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Guy West Bridge Across the American River (e3)
California State University, Sacramento
Sacramento, California

The Guy West Bridge in Sacramento, California is a pedestrian-only suspension bridge crossing the historic Lower American River. It is modeled after the famed Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, though its span is a puny 600-ft compared to the Golden Gate’s 6,450-ft. The bridge was constructed to tie the campus at California State University to a business and residential community on the east side of the American River.

The construction cost of the Guy West Bridge was $636,000 in 1966-1967. Its steel structure was originally painted in a striking orange/gold, very similar to that of the Golden Gate, but it has since faded badly. The lead-based paint on the bridge will have to be removed before new paint can be applied. This will be time consuming and very expensive, about $2 million, which is why it still hasn’t been done.

The Guy West Bridge was the longest pedestrian-only suspension bridge in the United States at the time of its opening in 1967. That title has since been lost to other structures including the recently opened Sundial Bridge across the Sacramento River in Redding, California.

Recent Updated: 8 years ago - Created by encouragement - View

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Flickr kl9

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Recent Updated: 8 years ago - Created by patricedourchat - View

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Flickr Hopper and sluiceboxes in Yankee Fork ID

It looks like this operator is using a mini-dragline to scoop gravel from the riverbed and dump it in the hopper - which appears to have been stripped from a dump truck. The operators have to be resourceful, and operate on shoestring budgets. Viewers of 'Gold Rush Alaska' will be familiar with this type of operation. Sepia-tone image. Scanned print.
Recent Updated: 21 years ago - Created by roy.luck - View

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