Reminder: no program on Sept 14 — Join us on Oct 20 instead

Remember, there is no program tonight, September 14.

Instead, the Colfax Area Historical Society will be attending a special book talk and presentation on Sunday afternoon, October 20, with other members of the community in the city council chambers in Colfax City Hall (33 South Main St, Colfax, CA 95713).

This is a special program that was organized by Marnie Mendoza, Colfax Mayor Pro Tem.

See for more details. You can also read more about the book and its author on his web site,

Our next program will be on October 20 instead of September 14

Our scheduled September 14, 2019, meeting and program is being moved to October 20, 2019, because we’re going to join with a larger community-wide audience for a special presentation and book talk by Robert B. Wells, author of the book Voices from the Bottom of the South China Sea: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Chinese Emigrant Disaster.

Wells will tell the story about some of the Chinese emigrants who crossed the Pacific Ocean from 1867-1875, arriving in San Francisco and Colfax, California, to build the railroads and mine for gold. The return of one group to Hong Kong by ship in 1874 ended tragically in a midnight fire and shipwreck in the South China Sea, just hours away from rejoining their families in China. His book tells their story.

This special presentation will be on Sunday afternoon, October 20, 2019, from 2–3:30 p.m. Because a large audience is expected, his talk will be held in the Colfax City Hall Council Chambers, at 33 South Main Street, Colfax, CA 95713.

More details will follow soon.

Cape Horn Promontory Can Be Seen Again at the Site of the Commemorative Plaque on Highway 174

Several decades of tree growth were recently cut down, revealing the spectacular view of the Cape Horn Promontory from the site of a commemorative plaque on highway 174 in Colfax, California.

Plaque location after
This is the current view of the Cape Horn Promontory, which is visible in the distance in the left side of the photo. This photo was taken in July 2019, after seven trees were cut down by Kim Douglass, with the permission of the property owner, Randy Brock.

The Cape Horn Promontory can be seen from the stone bench that is located in the parking lot to the left of the Red Frog Bar & Grill, at 1001 State Highway 174, Colfax, California.

The plaque is “dedicated to the memory of thousands of Chinese who worked for Charles Crocker on the Central Pacific Railroad. From September 1865 to May 1866 they hand-cut a ledge for railroad tracks across the face of Cape Horn Promontory over 1300 feet above the canyon floor. They are honored for their work ethic and timely completion of the transcontinental rails ending in Promontory, Utah, May 1869.”

The Red Frog is a popular bar & grill that has an outdoor deck which provides its own spectacular view of the Cape Horn Promontory. Randy Brock, the owner of the Red Frog, graciously allowed the trees that were on his property to be cut so that visitors who stop to read the plaque can clearly see the Promontory.

This is the previous view of the Cape Horn Promontory, a view blocked by several decades of tree growth. This photo was taken in June 2019, before seven trees were cut down by Kim Douglass, with the permission of the property owner, Randy Brock.

The Cape Horn plaque was first installed by the Colfax Area Historical Society in 1999. In 2019, a revised plaque was installed, which corrected several spelling mistakes and a historical error about the construction of the transcontinental railroad around the Cape Horn Promontory.

The other side of the bench has a historical plaque commemorating the Blue Star Memorial By-Way. That plaque was installed by the Colfax Garden Club in 1998. The two plaques are mounted on either side of a wide stone bench that invites you to contemplate the view.

A Wonderful Evening of Photos and Stories at the May Meeting

IMG_20190518_185919096Thank you everyone who came to last Saturday night’s presentation of photos then-and-now of the transcontinental railroad route from Roseville to Truckee. Roger Staab was a wonderful speaker.His commentary comparing and explaining the historical and contemporary photos was entertaining and sometimes surprising.

There were 40+ people there — a wonderful turnout. It was great to meet new people and the refreshments were delicious.

We have an evening with a speaker and refreshments four times a year.

The next meeting and speaker will be on September 14, 2019, at 7 p.m.

You can also view the calendar for the rest of 2019.

Colfax Shadow Art Tour


You have probably noticed the Shadow Art painted on the walls of buildings and on retaining walls around Colfax. These murals were created by Jim Bowers and Foxey McCleary. The  “Shadows Past” 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.

Download the PDF for the Colfax Shadow Art Tour.

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

March 30, 2019 meeting and program

Collecting and Trading Historical Tokens from the Colfax Area

Rodger Hisken will display and explain the history of token coins that were issued in the Colfax area

Saturday, March 30, 2019, 7 p.m.                                      
Colfax Passenger Depot
99 Railroad Street, Colfax

Our next guest speaker will be Rodger Hisken, who will display, explain, and answer questions about his collection of metal and wooden trade tokens (also known as token coins) that were issued and used in the Colfax area. Sometimes called “merchant tokens,” they were used to encourage repeat business by giving a customer a token that could only be redeemed with the merchant or business. Sometimes, non-metal tokens provided a way to give change during times of coin or metal shortages.

Rodger will explain the history of tokens, illustrating his presentation with tokens from his personal collection and stories about the detective work involved in collecting and identifying them. Rodger will also answer questions.

If you have tokens, we invite you to bring them to the meeting to show to the group and discuss with Rodger.

Rodger will have tokens from his personal collection on display. Before the meeting, and after his presentation, you will be able to view the collection and talk to Rodger. He will also have some of his reference books on display and can help you find out more about tokens you bring to the meeting.

We will provide a handout about how to learn more about collecting tokens.

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

December issue of Cobblestones is in the mail

The December 2018 issue of the Colfax Cobblestones newsletter is in the mail. This issue contains the 1966 story about the Christmas tree that was cut on Grouse Ridge in Nevada County and shipped from Colfax to Washington, DC, to be the Nation’s Christmas Tree.

The December 2018 issue of the Colfax Cobblestones. 
From The Colfax Record, November 17, 1966: “Before the PG&E trucks lifted the Nation’s Christmas Tree off the flatbed truck, Colfax Chamber of Commerce members reeled out a sign and placed it on the flatbed for picture taking. The sign was made by the Art Department at Colfax High School. Despite the rain, a good crowd was on hand for the short send-off ceremony.”

If you are a member of the CAHS, you will receive your copy in the mail in a few days.

The December 2018 issue is also available to read online or download as a PDF file.