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
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
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."
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Hall, Wm. L. - superintendent Morrison Gulch Placer Mine 10 acres
Hall, Wm. P. - farmer
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
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
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.
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
Shasta and Yreka Turnpike Co. - Carr & Fenney proprietors
Shoo Fly Mine - A. P. Haskins superintendent
Shuford, J. W. - farmer
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
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