Colfax Area Historical Society
 

The Colfax Area Historical Society (CAHS) preserves the local history of Colfax, California, the surrounding area, and the railroads, by collecting stories, photographs, and artifacts about the people and buildings in this part of the Sierra foothills.

The Colfax Area Heritage Museum is open daily, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
99 Railroad Street, Colfax, CA 95713
(It is located in the Colfax Passenger Depot)
Phone: (530) 346-8599
Email: museum.colfax@gmail.com

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Phone: (530) 346-8599

Email:
museum.colfax@gmail.com

USPS mail: Mail for both the Colfax Area Heritage Museum and the Colfax Area Historical Society is received at PO Box 185, Colfax, CA 95713.

Museum location: The Colfax Area Heritage Museum is physically located at 99 Railroad St, Colfax CA 95713.

Web site: www.colfaxhistory.org/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/colfaxmuseum

September 16, 2017
Summer Meeting and Program

Updated: August 12, 2017

Our summer program and meeting will be held on Saturday evening, September 16, 2017, at 7 p.m. in the Colfax Passenger Depot, 99 Railroad Street, Colfax.

Gold Rush Tales from Murderer's Bar

Kathryn Miller Marshall, Ph.D. will share "Gold Rush Tales from Murderer's Bar." Dr. Marshall is a frequent speaker at genealogical conferences and workshops, and she is the former Director of the Lodi Family History Center.

This is also the annual meeting that includes board elections and other business.

The meeting is open to all CAHS members and to the public. Visitors and guests are welcome. There is no charge. Refreshments will be provided. Bring a friend!


Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, 7 p.m.
Colfax Passenger Depot
99 Railroad Street, Colfax, California


Murderer's Bar was the site of a rich gold discovery in 1848 by Tom Buckner and Ezekiel Merritt on the Middle Fork of the American River, upstream from Auburn.

Ezekiel Merritt was a longtime mountain man who helped kick off the Bear Flag Revolt. Large crowds followed friends to the site and soon swarmed over the area. Surmounting one challenge after another, 400 men united to build a dam and a 12-foot wide flume one mile long to divert the river from its bed in order to expose more gold.

Legendary frontiersman and crack shot Orrin Porter Rockwell owned three trading posts/inns in the area. Rockwell's Round Tent Tavern at Murderer's Bar was the social center of the Auburn area's mining camps. Rockwell went by the name of James Brown to hide his true identity, in part because he was a deputy marshal searching for kidnappers of a young woman-until he was exposed in a shooting contest.

If there is time, Dr. Marshall will also talk about the Thomas Orr family of Salmon Falls, California, who struck it rich through trade and services, despite owning a tremendously rich gold claim of their own.

Kathryn Miller Marshall

Kathryn Miller Marshall served as the Director of the Lodi Family History Center for 16 years. Today she is a frequent speaker at genealogical conferences and workshops. She has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught for many years.

Dr. Marshall developed school-based substance abuse prevention programs funded by private foundations and three National Institutes of Health, and evaluated the nation's substance abuse programs for annual Congressional reports. Back in California for her husband's last assignment as a military officer, Dr. Marshall served on the selection board for National Blue Ribbon Public Schools, and designed curriculum for "Odyssey of the Mind," a program for gifted students.

She began to specialize in the history of California between 1840 and 1865 when asked to prepare interpretive panels for museums and to edit books for fellow historians. She is the author of Discovery of California Gold, which is a curriculum augmentation book in use by schools throughout the state.

She is currently writing a book on the voyage of the ship Brooklyn, which carried passengers like Sam Brannan, who helped kick off the California Gold Rush. Dr. Marshall is a member of the Advisory Board for the California Pioneer Heritage Foundation, which provides living history re-enactors at state parks and preserves historical sites in California.


July 13th Board Meeting

The Summer Board Meeting was held Thursday, July 13, 2017, at 10 a.m., in the meeting room of the Colfax Passenger Depot, 99 Railroad Street, Colfax, CA 95713.

This meeting was open to all CAHS members and to the public.


May 13th Meeting and Program

Come learn about the history of Folsom and the Folsom Powerhouse on Saturday, May 13, 2017, at 7 p.m.

Stephen Porten, a docent and tour guide at the Folsom Powerhouse State Park, will speak to us at our quarterly meeting. Stephen has been a docent for four years. He is one of 30 people who volunteer at the Powerhouse and the Powerhouse Visitor Center. He will also explain why the Folsom Prison is located where it is.

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 7 p.m.
Colfax Passenger Depot
99 Railroad Street, Colfax

There is no charge. This meeting is open to all CAHS members and to the public. Visitors and guests are welcome. Refreshments will be provided. Bring a friend!

Stephen Porten was born in Sacramento and lives in Folsom with his wife, Mary. They have been married 54 years. He retired from Pacific Bell in 1994 after 34 years. After Pacific Bell, he continued to work for other telecommunication companies until 2010.

When he's not volunteering, Stephen spends his time with ham radio, photography, and working on his family ranch. He was first licensed as an Amateur Radio Operator in 1958, at the age of 16. He now holds an Extra Class license KN6OX.

To learn more about the Folsom Powerhouse State Historical Park, visit https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=501

 


For current news and articles, click here.

May Cobblestones newsletter

April 26, 2017

The May 2017 issue of Colfax Cobblestones is at the printer and will be mailed to all CAHS members on May 4.However, the PDF version of the May newsletter is now available online.

The May issue has photos of the Wells Fargo & Co. Express building in Colfax (1860's), the Central Pacific Freight Depot for its construction gangs (1865), construction of the Secret Town Trestle (1868), the Long Ravine Bridge near Cape Horn (1875), and the W. H. Russell Livery Stable on Colfax's Main Street. It also includes an article about the upcoming May 13 meeting and program about the Folsom Powerhouse.

Back issues of the newsletter are also available.

 


March 2017 Cobblestones newsletter

March 1, 2017

The March 2017 issue of Colfax Cobblestones is at the printer and will be mailed to all CAHS members on March 8. However, the PDF version of the March newsletter is now available online.

The March issue has articles and photos of the Towle and Colfax Grammar Schools, the upcoming March 18 meeting and program, a profile of Cobblestones editor Mel Couchman, and more.

 


November 2016 Cobblestones newsletter

November 19, 2016

The November 2016 issue of Colfax Cobblestones has been mailed to CAHS members and is available online.

To read the November issue as a PDF file, click here, or click on the picture of the newsletter below.

 


September 2016 Cobblestones newsletter

November 1, 2016

The September 2016 issue of Colfax Cobblestones was mailed to CAHS members in September and is available online.

To read the September 2016 issue as a PDF file, click here, or click on the picture of the newsletter below.

The September issue includes an article about the collections and items in the Colfax Area Heritage Museum, Colfax's Shadow Art Walking Tour, and more.

 


September 17 Meeting and Program
with speaker Ralph Gibson

August 25, 2016. Updated September 2, 2016.

Ralph Gibson, Museum Administrator for Placer County Museums, will speak to the Colfax Area Historial Society at its September 17, 2016, meeting at 7 p.m. He will speak about the progress of the new Dewitt History Museum in Auburn.

This meeting will be held in the Colfax Passenger Depot, 99 Railroad Street, Colfax.

There is no charge. This meeting is open to all CAHS members and to the public. Visitors and guests are welcome. Refreshments will be provided. Bring a friend!

Placer County Museums operates six museums and is preparing a seventh:

  • Placer County Museum, Auburn, located in the historic courthouse.

  • Bernhard Museum, Auburn. 19th century history.

  • Gold Rush Museum, Auburn. Under construction, but open weekends.

  • Griffith Quarry, Penryn. Granite quarry exhibits, interactive geology exhibit, history of the Penryn-Loomis basin.

  • Forest Hill Divide Museum, Foresthill. Mining, geology, Native Americans, timber, and home life exhibits focusing on the history of the Foresthill area.

  • Golden Drift Museum, Dutch Flat. Dedicated to the history of the area, including Gold Run, Dutch Flat, Alta, Towle and Baxter.

  • The seventh museum will be the Dewitt, located in the former Army and State Mental Hospitals in Auburn.


Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, 7 p.m.
Colfax Passenger Depot
99 Railroad Street, Colfax


 


May 2016 Colfax Cobblestones Newsletter

August 14, 2016

The May issue of the Colfax Cobblestones was mailed to CAHS members in May 2016, but wasn't posted online at that time. The September issue is currently being written, and will be mailed to CAHS members in early September.

To read the May 2016 issue, click here, or click on the picture of the newsletter below.

The May issue includes:

  • Gold Country Medical Stories and a presentation by Dr. Rod Moser, Curator of the Gold Country Medical Museum in Auburn.

  • An overview of the May presentation about local house histories by local researchers and historians
    Helen Wayland and Nancy Hagman.

  • An article about Towns and People of the Iowa Hill Divide, the second book in the Iowa Hill Trilogy by local historian and author Robin Yonash.

  • A visit to the Colfax Area Heritage Museum by a research team from the “Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University.”

 


Colfax's Shadow Art Tour

Download the new guide to Colfax's Shadow Art

June 22, 2016

Walking around downtown Colfax, you may have noticed the Shadow Art painted on walls of buildings and retaining walls. These murals were created by Jim Bowers and Foxey McCleary. The mural shown here is located on S. Auburn St.. The Grace Hubley Foundation has funded a guide to all of the murals, which is a PDF file that you can download and print or view on any device that displays PDF files. Click here to download or view the guide.

Shadow Art on S. Auburn St., Colfax, CA,
created by Jim Bowers and Foxey McCleary

This guide includes photos of the murals and a walking guide to their locations.
It also includes biographies and photos of the artists.

 


The Iowa Hill Divide Trilogy by Robin Yonash

Second Book in the Trilogy Is Published

Patrons of Mike Papas' Saloon (from the Henderson Collection).

Towns and People of the Iowa Hill Divide, the second book in the Iowa Hill Trilogy by Robin Yonash is now available for purchase locally at the Colfax Area Heritage Museum or online at amazon.com.

People and the settlements they live in make up the human history of a place. This book is about the towns of the Iowa Hill Divide in Placer County and the people who lived in them from the Gold Rush era to the present day.

• Robin's series documents the rich history of the Iowa Hill Divide. Based on extensive research, Towns and People of the Iowa Hill Divide includes:

• Detailed annotated history of the founding of Iowa Hill.

• Detailed annotated history of the "old" Iowa Hill Store, which was originally built about 1853 and lasted until 1968.

• An examination of the validity of various legends about Iowa Hill, such as Iowa Hill was once considered for the State Capitol.

• History of other towns on the Iowa Hill Divide, including Damascus, Humbug Canyon, and Wisconsin Hill.

• Biographies and family trees for several founding families.

• Biographies of various notable citizens and other residents, including Jacob Neff, Mel Henderson, and Lyman Gilmore.

• A discussion of the influence of women, African-Americans, Chinese, and Native-Americans on the Iowa Hill Divide.

• Numerous photographs, some published for the first time, plus maps and other illustrations, and a list of sources.

Proceeds from the purchase of this book at the Colfax Area Heritage Museum benefit the Colfax Area Historical Society. Purchases from amazon.com support the Iowa Hill Community Club.
Watch for book three of the tril-ogy, Gold and Fire: A History of the Iowa Hill Divide, which is expected to be published this fall.

Volume 1 of The Iowa Hill Divide trilogy, Schools of the Iowa Hill Divide is also available.


Spring General Membership Meeting and Program

Learn about Local House Histories
and How to Research Your House on May 14

The next general membership meeting will be a presentation by local researchers and historians Helen Wayland and Nancy Hagman. Helen Wayland will present her research about several local houses. Nancy Hagman will talk about the process of researching a house's history.

There is no charge. This meeting is open to all CAHS members and to the public. Visitors and guests are welcome.

Saturday, May 14, 2016, 7 p.m.
Colfax Passenger Depot
99 Railroad Street, Colfax

Nancy Hagman has written about local houses in articles for the Colfax Record. The following text and photos are from articles that she wrote.

Kuenzly House

102 Pleasant St. (& Depot), Colfax, CA

Original Owner: Judge Jacob Kuenzly

Current Owner: Franklin Phaner

The Kuenzly house was built in 1897 by Judge Jacob Kuenzly, the Colfax postmaster and a Justice of the Peace. Jacob Kuenzly was born in Switzerland, coming here at age 19 with his father to seek his fortune when gold was discovered.

The house was inherited by his daughter and her husband, Henry Lobner, who owned the general merchandise store in Colfax and was vice-president of the Rising Sun Mine. It was known as the "Halfway House" as it was the stopping-off point for many of the Kuenzlys' friends traveling through Colfax to Lake Tahoe and Reno on the train.

This historic Colfax house was the first house in the city to have electricity and sits at the foot of the "Big Hill" overlooking Colfax.

Perkins House

3 E. Church St., Colfax, CA

Early Owners: Theodore and Eliza Perkins; Jeannie Perkins and Morris Lobner

Current owners: Jeff and Karen Williams

Built in 1877 by J.M. and Christina Graham, the Perkins family moved into it in 1883. Theodore Perkins operated the Colfax General Store on Main St. (now known as the Colfax Market). The Perkins' daughter Jeannie married Morris Lobner. Morris served 46 years as the agent for the Central Pacific Railroad and Nevada Co. Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Morris Lobner was also involved in numerous real estate and farming enterprises-including the development of Chicago Park, and he assisted Dr. Robert Peers in establishing his famous tuberculosis practice. For many years, he organized the annual Colfax Fourth of July events.

The house was bought by Jeff Williams, a contractor specializing in historic house renovations. His beautiful local work includes this house and the Neff House.


Gold Country Medical History

Museum's Curator Entertains and Explains

April 5, 2016

At our recent General Membership meeting, Dr. Rod Moser, Curator of the Gold Country Medical History Museum in Auburn, met with CAHS members and visitors to share items from the museum's collections and tell stories about the history of the Museum.

Dr. Moser shared dozens of items and told many stories about how the Museum's collections were gathered and came to be displayed at the Medical History Museum. Those who were at the quarterly meeting, which was held Saturday evening, March 19, 2016, were both entertained and taught by Dr. Moser.

An article about Dr. Moser, the Gold Country Medical History Museum, and the stories that Dr. Moser told will appear in the May edition of the Colfax Cobblestones newsletter.

These are photos from the evening with Dr. Moser.

 


Guest speaker on March 19, 2016

Learn about Gold Country Medical History

The next general membership meeting will feature a presentation by Dr. Rod Moser, director of the Gold Country Medical History Museum in Auburn.

This meeting and presentation will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2016, at 7 p.m., in the Colfax Passenger Depot, 99 Railroad Street, Colfax.

There is no charge. This meeting is open to all CAHS members and the public.

The Gold Country Medical History Museum is located in the first hospital that was built in Placer County, in 1855. The museum shows what medical activities looked like in the 1800's and early 1900's. There are collections of medical equipment, furnishings, pharmaceuticals, and advertising, including settings that depict a doctor's office, pharmacy, and operating room. You can learn more about the Medical Museum on its web site: www.goldcountrymedicalmuseum.com

CAHS holds quarterly meetings for CAHS members and the public, which include speakers and presentations about local history.

 


March Colfax Cobblestones is in the mail

The March issue of Colfax Cobblestones was mailed on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.

Click here to open or download a PDF copy of the complete newsletter.