Wednesday Oct 06 2010
Dutch Flat dates back to early 1850s
By: MIke Maynard, Special to the Colfax Record
So you think you're a local
The 1861 Directory of Placer County tells us that the first permanent settler in Dutch Flat was Joseph Doranbach. In 1854 the mines of the region were so promising that a company constructed the Placer County canal bringing the waters of the Bear River to the town. This gave impetus to a settlement. By 1859 Dutch Flat was about fifth in size among other towns of the county. Various other ditches were constructed. On November of 1856, the post office was established with Charles Seffens serving as postmaster. By 1860 the town population was around 501. On May 29, 1860, a weekly newspaper, the Dutch Flat Enquirer, made its first appearance. After it ceased publication, the Forum followed it. Then the Placer Times, published by W.A. Wheeler, became the town paper in 1882. In 1861, the business section included 7 provision and grocery stores, 17 saloons, 2 breweries, 3 blacksmiths shops, 2 hardware and 2 tin shops, 2 hotels, and a drug store. The town also had a carpenter and cabinet shop, restaurant, 2 butchers stalls, a bakery, 3 schools and a church. In 1875 one article talked about the beauty and comfort of the town ?One of the finest features of the town is the water works. The pure cold water gathered from the mountain springs is carried into town in 11-inch pipes and distributed to every house. Hydrants and hose are supplied in profusion and pressure so strong and the supply so steady that four streams from inch nozzles can be thrown 100-feet perpendicularly into the air. The pipes are furnished by the town and the works under charge of I.T. Coffin.? The water works was considered protection against the scourge of fire. Samuel Swenson was foreman of the fire company. Like other towns of California and the immediate area, Dutch Flat suffered from fires. In October1881, the Chinese quarter was burned ? a loss of $30,000. Sixty buildings were burned, generally of a poor quality. Although occupied by Chinese, white people often owned these buildings. Others lived in tents or ?shanties.? The description also said ?travelers by railroad will get his first view of the public institutions of Dutch Flat in their Temple, which is gaudy with red and blue paint and decorated with flags and streamers, on a commanding position on the hillside. Dr. Ab Ton, a fat and jolly Celestial, presides at the altar.? Numerous pleasant homes covered the hillsides and more churches were constructed in 1875. Churches in Dutch Flat included a Methodist, a Union Church for all denominations, and a Catholic. Lodges were also prevalent, including the Odd Fellows, Freemasons, Red Men and Templers. The office of the Cedar Creek Gold Mines and Water Company, a heavy English company engaged largely in hydraulic mining, was located in town with T.B. Ludnumis as the business manager. The firms of Towel Bros. and Towel, Gould and Co. engaged heavily in the manufacture and shipping of lumber with 60,000 feet of lumber cut each day. Large quantities of gold worth many millions of dollars was found and removed from the area within the gravel surrounding the town. What has been interesting to geologists are beds of ashes, charcoal and partly charred wood, as well as a strata of clay, found in places beneath 100 feet of gravel. It makes one wonder what had caused these eons ago and what else can be found if more digging started.