Memorial to Pioneer Odd Fellows (No. 378 California Historical Landmark)

In August 1849, a group of Odd Fellows heading for California's gold mines paused to paint their names and the three representative links of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) on some large granite boulders at this point near Carson Pass in Alpine County. The IOOF dates back to 18th century England. Its members help those in need and pursue projects that benefit all of mankind. Promoting the brotherhood of man, the three links of this organization represent friendship, love and truth which are depicted as three interconnected rings. The California IOOF remains actively involved in a variety of civic and philanthropic efforts to this day. The memorial dedicated to these early pioneer Odd Fellows reads:

Pioneers of California

Pioneers of the Brotherhood of Man

We Salute You. Your bodies have blended with the dust of the West. Your spirit lives and inspires. Dedicated to their memory, by the Grand Lodge of California Independent Order of Odd Fellows,
May 1941

Located on State Hwy 88, 14.5 miles west of Woodfords. The marker is located on the trail south of the Kit Carson Visitors Center. Park on the “Additional Parking” road east of the Visitor Center and take a short walk on the trail to the site.

Alpine County

High in the Sierra Nevada along the eastern edge of California, Alpine County is sparsely populated. In 1844, John C. Fremont’s expedition, accompanied by Kit Carson, passed through the area and over today’s Carson Pass. The Overland Emigrant Trail passed through this county, and is marked today by yellow painted iron markers and plaques.

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Latitude: 38.69215 Longitude: -119.987517 Elevation: 8530 ft

About this Establishment

California Historical Landmarks Program

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.

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.

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Time Period Represented

Mid 1800s


I stumbled upon this site quite literaly as there are no trails or signage leading to the spot save a "pullout" big enough for a single car. It is an unruly forested area protected by high cliffs rising to the south-- snow still lingers here on July 25. The cool dimly lit forest is inviting, almost cavelike, with trickles of water echoing beneath the lingering banks of snow. In this seemingly unvisited pine cathedral odd brushstrokes of white enamel appeared on glacial erratics the size of a house. Upon rounding the granite boulder a green copper plaque was discovered revealing the source of the names scrawled in white enamal. The hair on the back of my neck prickled as the dates of the pioneer graffiti are all one and the same-- august 1849. I hope the site remains as is as one vandal could undo 170 years of history in one hour.

Daniel Cutter. , 7/25/2019

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