Campo Seco (No. 257 California Historical Landmark)

Campo Seco is home to the largest living cork oak tree in California which was planted in 1858. Quercus suber, the cork oak, is a medium-sized evergreen oak tree that is the prime source of cork for wine and champagne bottles. It is also naturally fire resistant which makes it very useful for acoustic and thermal insulation. Cork is even used in diverse forms in spacecraft heat shields.

Campo Seco was established by Mexicans in 1849 and translates to “dry camp” in Spanish. This mining camp was very diverse for its time, boasting over forty different nationalities. Unfortunately the town was nearly demolished by a fire in 1854. Luckily, the rich copper placers were still abundant, allowing most of the town to be rebuilt. There are still the remains of the old Adams Express Building which was once bustling with miners and their earnings. You can also see the remaining unusual green stone used in the buildings of the Chinese section of Campo Seco, and other artifacts.

The historical landmark marker is located at the intersection of Campo Seco and Penn Mine Roads.

Calaveras County

Along with Mark Twain’s famous "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" story that spun into an annual fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, Calaveras County is rich with Gold Rush history and folklore. Remnants of the railroads and Hispanic culture add to the charm of the county located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a preserve of Giant Sequoia trees, and the uncommon gold telluride mineral Calaverite was discovered in the county in 1861, and is named for it.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 38.22714 Longitude: -120.853271 Elevation: 566 ft

About this Establishment

Historical Landmarks are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of statewide significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value. Historical Landmarks are eligible for registration if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type in the state or within a large geographic region

2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of California

3) Is a prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in a region of a pioneer architect, designer or master builder.

California’s Landmark Program began in the late 1800s with the formation of the Landmarks Club and the California Historical Landmarks League. In 1931, the program became official when legislation charged the Department of Natural Resources—and later the California State Chamber of Commerce—with registering and marking buildings of historical interest or landmarks. The Chamber of Commerce then created a committee of prestigious historians, including DeWitt Hutchings and Lawrence Hill, to evaluate potential landmark sites.

In 1948, Governor Earl Warren created the California Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee to increase the integrity and credibility of the program. Finally, this committee was changed to the California Historical Resources Commission in 1974. Information about registered landmarks numbered 770 onward is kept in the California Register of Historical Resources authoritative guide. Landmarks numbered 669 and below were registered prior to establishing specific standards, and may be added to the California Register when criteria for evaluating the properties are adopted.

Share your experience. Please leave a comment below if you've visited this historical landmark.

Time Period Represented

1850s

Comments

My brother lives in Santa Rosa. He married his 1st wife, Pat, whose mother was a resident of Campo Seco. When I visited my brother in 1970, we went up to Campo Seco to visit his mother-in-law. Oh boy, what a feeling that came over me. I could feel the old wild west enter my body. The feeling was so penetrating, everything just made me go back into time, just living the life of the people who once resided there. To this day, I just think of the name, Campo Seco and it takes me back to that old western town. I believe that I can write on & on with my thoughts of my visits there, the 7 years that I lived in Santa Rosa. We went back there several times in the time that I lived in Santa Rosa. I eventually got married and moved to where I now reside here in Port Orchard, Wa. I'm going to visit my brother again this Spring and will definitely go back to Campo Seco.

George Evsich, 2/4/2019

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