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North Lake History

Trinity County was a product of the gold rush. Gold was discovered along the Trinity River in 1848. The communities, ghost towns and mining camps of Trinity County had their beginnings in those historic years following the discovery of gold.

During and after World War I, some of these early mines were worked over by large gold dredges. The first successful dredge operation was started about 1916 by the Pacific Gold Dredging Company at the mouth of Coffee Creek. The dredge later moved to Trinity Center where it continued to operate until 1925. The dredge camp established there later became known as "Stringtown" because of the manner in which the camp was strung out. Stringtown is now under Lake Trinity.

In the late 1950's, when Trinity Lake was being made, structures from the small community of Stringtown were moved to various locations in Trinity Center, Carrville Loop and the Coffee Creek area.

The mines that were along both sides of the Trinity River, north of Trinity Center up to and including the lower portion of Coffee Creek have been grouped together as the North Lake Mining Operations District. Particularly noticeable today at the north end of the lake are massive gold dredge tailings "rock piles" which are the residue of dredge operations.

The Bonanza King and Bonanza Queen group of mines were active from 1893 until 1922. Many structures still stand that dates back to those early years. It has been researched to find that there is still large amounts of gold in Coffee Creek today.

See the archive of The Coffee Break newsletter published by the Coffee Creek Fireflies from 2000 through 2002. It contains interviews of many local residents who were here "back in the day."

The News Back Then

From the Trinity Journal

150 years ago

Oct. 23, 1858 -- Trinity Centre is becoming a very prosperous Little town. It boasts of beautiful surroundings scenery, but its chief ornament is Mrs. Anne K. H. Fader, a very sweet and beautiful poetess.

125 years ago

2/10/1883 -- A Trinity Center correspondent reports that the past few weeks have been very quiet and dull, the severity of the continued cold spell being felt there as well as elsewhere. Old residents say that there has been more cold weather this winter than any time since 1856. Trinity River being frozen over so as to make good crossing on the ice. Skating has been the rage for some time. Arrangements are being made for a mask ball in Trinity Center on 22nd of February.

8/18/1883 -- An Old Timer - While in town last week, Gus Rumfelt, of Trinity Center, showed us a Five Dollar gold piece dated 1850, of the private mintage of Moffat & Co. It is identical with the U.S. Coinage except that the word "Liberty" on the head of the Goddess is supplanted by "Moffatt" and on the reverse side "S.M.V. California Gold" takes the place of "United States of America." Mr. Rumfelt's little boy found the piece in John Owing's calf pasture near Trinity Center.

9/15/1883 -- Building - Work has commenced on the new school-house at Trinity Center, the contract having been awarded to a Scott Valley builder.

100 years ago

6/13/1908 -- Last week Dr. D.B. Fields bought a span of handsome bay horses from Elias Ellery of Trinity Center.

Oct. 24, 1908 -- Construction of the new government telephone line from Douglas City to Weaverville was commenced by T.L. Day on Thursday with a gang of eight men. He expects to complete the line in about four days. Material has arrived for the Rush Creek-Minersville line to connect with Weaverville. Eventually this line will connect with Trinity Center.

11/21/1908 -- Chivington & Heath have leased the Holland Hotel at Trinity Center and will conduct the same under the name of the Western Hotel.

50 years ago

2/19/1959 -- Removal of the Trinity Center cemetery is expected to begin sometime in May 1959. The old cemetery is within the limits of the future Trinity reservoir and will be removed to a new location onehalf mile west. The new cemetery will be set up to approximate the relative position of present grave markings.

Trinity County Directory 1885 - excerpts

History of TRINITY CO. as of 1885

This, one of the extreme northern counties of the State, only one intervening between it and Oregon, is bounded on the north by Siskiyou, on the east by Shasta and Tehama, on the south by Mendocino and on the west by Humboldt Counties.  In its general proportions it is wedge shaped, measuring about one hundred miles from north to south, and in its widest breadth in the northern part of the county not to exceed fifty-five, thence gradually narrowing to the south until it only measures about twenty-five miles from east to west at its southern boundary.  It contains an area of 1,680,000 acres.

In the geographical formation of the county regard was had wholly to the physical characteristics of the section, the water shed drained by the Trinity River being wholly included within its boundaries, the dividing ridges which separates the drainage of this stream from other systems being the lines, except in the southern part, where a lateral mountain chain crossing in a northwesterly direction throws the portion south of it into the water shed which drains directly into the ocean.  The principal branches of the Trinity, which unite to form the main river, rise in the extreme northern and southern parts of the county, unite near the center, flowing thence first in a westerly course, gradually veers around until, leaving the county in nearly a northerly direction, its waters empty into the Klamath at a point about twenty miles beyond the line. 

The topographical character of the county is altogether mountainous; the Shasta Mountains on the eastern line, the Salmon Mountains on the north and another of the main chains of the coast range on the west, together with the lateral ranges and spurs which bisect it in all directions, precludes the possibility of finding within its area any considerable portion of arable land.  In fact, with the exception of those sections embraced within Hay Fork Valley and the Trinity Valley, near Trinity Centre, farming land is only found in small patches.  This scarcity, however, has the effect of making them more valuable, as the total product is required for home consumption, the demand being always equal to if not in excess of the supply.

Stockraising as an industry is, however, commencing to claim some attention in the county, the assessment rolls of last year showing 1000 head of horses and mules, 3000 head of cattle and 36,000 head of sheep returned for taxation.

The mining interest is the one absorbing and predominating pursuit in Trinity, to which all other are subsidiary.  The county was settled and prospected as early as any of the northern counties of the State, but, even more than the other outlying sections, she was difficult to reach; the greater part lying entirely cut off from the ordinary routes of travel, so that while the more accessible portions of the State were completely worked out so far as surface and placer digging were concerned, there still remains in Trinity much territory which has been comparatively unworked.  Even at the date of the present writing new discoveries have been made in the New River and Rattlesnake districts, in the extreme northwestern part of the county, which foreshadows a veritable hegira of miners to their limits during the coming season.  These localities have long been noted for their remarkable placer yields, but until recently the gold had not been traced to its matrix.  Two routes to the diggings have been organized, one via Eureka and thence by stage and saddle to the district, eighty miles, the other via Redding and Weaverville.

In the northeastern part of the county, at Altoona, cinnabar has been found in large quantities, and some mines developed for quicksilver, but the over-production in this metal as against the demands of the commercial world has practically suspended its production here.

The farming land wherever found, excepting in the two vallies before names (Hay Fork and Trinity) is almost entirely devoted to fruit and vegetables, the flavor of the former being said to be finer than that grown in the lower vallies of the State.  In the matter of roads the county still relies to a considerable extent upon trails, and pack mules furnish a large part of the transportation; still in parts where practicable, roads have been made fully up to the progress of the county's developments, included in which are 109 miles of good turnpike.

The value of real estate, as shown by the assessment of 1883, was $743,143, of which amount mining claims, improvements on same and mining ditches represent $404,368; personal property, $429,186; total, $1,172,329.  The amount of gold shipped from the county as the product of its mines has, during the past five or six years, reached fully $1,000,000 per annum.  The population is about 5500, of which about two-fifths are Chinese.

A Mining camp and post office, situated on the East Fork of Stewart's Fork of the Trinity River.   Gold taken in this vicinity is coarse and of fine quality.  The population is about one hundred.

Bates, Fordyce - dealer gen mdse, Postmaster, saloon keeper
Bernard, Peter V. - miner
Bowermann Bros. - farmers 160 acres
Bowermann, Jacob S. - Bowermann Bros.
Bowermann, John - Bowermann Bros.
Bowers, Frederick - miner
Cademartori, Frank - miner
Campbell, Wm. A. - miner
Chandler, Fleming - miner
Coleman, William - laborer
Cummings, James - farmer 164 acres
Cummings, John S. - farmer
Cummings, Thomas A. - farmer
Dettker, Adam H. - miner
Diner, Frank - miner
Fitzgerald, Timothy - miner
Hampton, Samuel W. - miner
Heath, John W. - Heath & Kelley
Heath & Kelley - farmers
Johnson, Oscar M. - miner
Joseph, Manuel - stockraiser
Kelley, John H. - Heath & Kelley
Kelley, Joseph - miner
Koll, John - miner
McCall, John - farmer/stockraiser
Mead, Corydon M. - miner
Miller, Thomas L. - miner
Postmaster - Fordyce Bates
Reed, Andrew S. - miner
Reed, Benjamin - miner
Riordan, James - miner
Rowles, James - miner
Schacht, Meves - miner
Sidell, Philip - miner
Skewis, Edward - miner
Skewis, John - miner
Smith, Jonathan - miner
Stitts, Jackson - miner
Tourtellotte, Jesse H. - hotel
VanMetre, Mrs. - hotel
Weeden, John D. - miner

This town, having post and telegraph offices, is located in the northeastern part of the county, on the Trinity River.  It is the second place of importance in the county, and the only point having telegraphic communication with the outside.  It is forty-four miles distant from Shasta, and is on the main road leading to Yreka and Oregon, over which the stages of the California and Oregon Stage Line pass daily.  The prevailing interest, as elsewhere in the county, are mining, although several good sections of farming land are found in the neighborhood, mostly all cultivated and realizing handsome returns to their owners from the good prices received for their product.  The town has the usual business establishments, including a general merchandise store, hardware store, blacksmith shop, saw mill and hotel.  The distance to the county seat is thirty-two miles, and the population of the town proper is about one hundred.

Abrams, James
Allison, Asa - miner
Allison, Charles E.
Allison, Edward - miner
Bard, James  - farmer 160 acres
Bassham, A. E. - laborer
Bassham, Green B.
Beard, James S. - carpenter
Beard, John S.
Bloss & McCleary - 160 acres
Bloss, Franklin H. - miner
Bordon, Samuel - constable
Bragdon Bros. - 160 acres
Bragdon, C. H. - 160 acres
Bragdon, Edward H.
Bragdon, Hiram A.
Braggon, Edward - farmer
Braggon, Herman - farmer
Braggon, H. H. - farmer
Brincard, Arthur - farmer
Carr, George L. - clerk with James E. Carr
Carr, James E. - Carr & Feeney, farmer, gen mdse 260 acres
Carr & Feeney - proprietors Shasta & Yreka Turnpike Co.
Carter, Asa M.
Carter, Henry  - miner
Carter, John - laborer
Centre Placer Mine - Bloss & McKay proprietors
Conway, Frederick E. - laborer
Conway, W. F. - laborer
Conway, W. S.
Coral Placer Mine - Hong Sing & Co. proprietors
Coyle, Edward - laborer
Coyle, James L. - telegraph operator
Dack, John - laborer
Deacon, George  - miner
Dean, Alfred L. - bartender Trinity Centre Hotel,  superintendent Watson's Gulch Placer Mine
Diddy, John
Dodge, W. S. - 120 acres
Donnovan, Dennis - miner
Dougherty, Henry  - miner
Dougherty, Hugh H.
Draper, Thomas D.
Ella May Drifting Mine - P. Holland  superintendent
Ellery, Elias - farmer 320 acres
Ellery, Levi J.
Farrell, William
Feeney, Richard H. - Carr & Feeney, hotel proprietor, tollgate keeper  Shasta & Yreka Turnpike
Freethy, R. E. - farmer 160 acres
Freethy, William  - 80 acres
Girard, Louis N.
Hansley, Charles C.
Hartz, Anthony
Hall, Wm. L. -  superintendent Morrison Gulch Placer Mine 10 acres
Hall, Wm. P. - farmer
Halleck, William
Harrison, Wm. H. - miner
Haskins, Albert P. -  superintendent Shoo Fly Mine 64 acres
Hidden Treasure Mine - P. Holland & Co.  proprietors
Holland, P.  - P. Holland & Co.,  superintendent  Ella May Drifting Mine
Holland, P. & Co. -  proprietors Hidden Treasure Mine
Hubbell, Samuel  - Justice of the Peace, notary public
Jackson, Henry J.
Jewett, Preston A.
Johansen, Jem - miner
Jollie, John W.
Jones, Monroe - laborer
Landis, Bertha C. Mrs. - school teacher
Larkin, Patrick  - 65 acres
Larsen & Coyle - 40 acres
Larsen, John - blacksmith
Lawrence, A. - laborer
Magenat & Co. - 40 acres
Magenat, George
Mathews, James A.
Mathews, L. - miner
Maxwell, William  - carpenter
McCall, John - 95 acres
McClary, Cavid R. - miner
McDonald, R. W.
McDonald, William  - miner
McKay, Finley - miner
McNear, David - miner
Merrow, Lorenzo - miner
Miller, George  - laborer
Moore, Lewis W.
Moore, William  - miner
Moore, Frank - miner
Morrison Gulch Placer Mine - W. L. Hall  superintendent
Morton, Thomas  - miner  80 acres
Mountfort, Edmund
Murray, George N. - laborer
Murray, John E. - Postmaster, clerk with James E. Carr
Wash Deep Gravel Mining Co. - 550 acres
Nash, John T. C.
Nason, Prentiss N.
Neil, Lorenzo
Noles, Preston T. - laborer
Olsen, Louis  - 197 acres
Owens, George F. - laborer
Owens, J. F. - farmer
Owings, Chambers - farmer
Owings, John M. - farmer
Owings, McKenzie  - 200 acres
Parry, Henry - laborer  437 acres
Parry, M. F. - laborer
Peterson, Erick  - 320 acres
Pinnell, William  - miner
Postmaster - John E. Murray
Powell, Reese - miner
Ragland, John W.
Randell, Frank - carpenter
Richards, Stephen   - 40 acres
Rostetter, George - telegraph operator
Rostetter & Stoddard  - 160 acres
Rumfelt, Augustus  - miner
Schnetzer, Philip
Shasta and Yreka Turnpike Co. - Carr & Fenney proprietors
Shomaker, Howard
Shoo Fly Mine - A. P. Haskins  superintendent
Shuford, J. W. - farmer
Shurtleff, Cabel
Smith, Charles W.
Smith, Edward R.  - 77 acres
Sohm, John G. - farmer 240 acres
Stoddard, John R. - farmer
Tapie, Eugene - clerk
Thompson, William  - miner
Tinkham, Peter - miner
Trinity Centre Hotel - William Vollmers proprietor
Underground Treasure Mining Co. - 160 acres
VanAmmin, Lowery
Vollmers, William -  proprietor Trinity Centre Hotel
Waite, Nelson - painter
Watson's Gulch Placer Mine - A. L. Dean  superintendent
Wheeler, Nathan - saw mill
Williams, Charles  - teamster
Zarli, Frederick  - farmer 306 acres

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