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.

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.

The Bull and the Bear have been restored

Swend Miller and Ron Nelson have completed the resto­ration of the Bull and Bear sculptures that are located next to the Colfax Passenger Depot, at 99 Railroad St., in Colfax.  

Over the years, maintenance of the sculptures has in­cluded painting them with linseed oil, waterproof ma­rine-grade sealers, and paint. As the sculptures aged and weathered, the Bear and Bull developed structural problems related to vandalism and decay of the wood itself.

The Bull and the Bear sculptures were originally brought to Colfax from Mendocino, California in the 1940s and installed in front of the popular Bull and Bear restaurant on Canyon Way in Colfax.

Roger Staab took the following photos of the restoration.

The restored Bull and Bear. Photo by Roger Staab, November 2018.
Ron Nelson, left, and Swend Miller work on the repaired Bear. Photo by Roger Staab, November 2018.
Ron Nelson, left, and Swend Miller paint the repaired Bull. Photo by Roger Staab, November 2018.

Speaker and refreshments at our Sept. 22, 2018 meeting

Our guest speaker will be Alyssa Scott, a PhD student and Graduate Student Instructor at UC Berkeley who has being using the CAHS Archives for research about the tuberculosis clinics and treatments in the Colfax and Weimar areas.

Weimar Joint Sanitorium

Her research interests include the archaeology of health and disease, community-based archaeology, tuberculosis sanatoriums, and related areas. She has also transcribed some of the taped oral interviews that are in the CAHS Archives.

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!