This self-guided tour was created for the 2023 Sierra Writers Conference. The conference theme celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Sierra College Press and the first publication of Standing Guard: Telling Our Stories, a beautifully photographed and formatted remembrance book about Placer County Japanese families, many of them fruit farmers, who were incarcerated during WW II.
After researching the Litton Hill land, people, and plants, it was noteworthy to learn that the Nevada County Campus of Sierra College shares WW II, fruit growing, farming, and publishing history with its Rocklin sister site.
Below, you will find tour components that include videos, podcasts, maps, and music.
Explore and enjoy the journey!
Download Interactive PDFs, with live links, to take on the go.
ANNOTATED NEVADA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY INTERVIEW
Gerald Angove, Sierra College President 1975 – 1993
0:04:20 – 1940s Hughes Road. 0:04:45 – Golf course caddy & fish bait 0:10:27 – Hills Flat community, gas plant, and Nevada County Narrow-Gauge Railroad 0:42:02 – Pollution and Lake Olympia 0:48:00 – 1975 President of Sierra College 0:49:00 – Twelve-year legislative process to build Nevada County Campus 0:49:40 – Nevada County Campus 0:50:16 – First phase of NCC Construction
The Chinese railroad story called to me because the marginalized people who accomplished this herculean task deserve to be known and recognized for their contributions.
The bigger issue I grapple with now is the systems we’ve established and how to backtrack from there.
Those of us living in developed countries exist at an apex of technology and structures designed for easy living (and buying). But we are also at a point where most of us understand this way of living is not sustainable.
Just this last year, we saw Congress avert economic devastation when the national railroad workers threatened to strike. Stronger-than-ever storms are shredding housing and infrastructure and in California, Earth-scorching firestorms and drought are constant worries.
Established infastructure is fragile and revealing weak spots.
A Barbara Kingsolver book I read recently provided an idea I’ve latched onto for backtracking some of my own contributions to Western culture’s ever-expanding quest for growth.
In the book, a middle-aged woman, Willa, grapples with dissatisfaction after a lifetime spent following the rules and doing what’s expected. Along with supporting adult children, a grandchild, and an aging parent, her historic home is falling to pieces around her.
Willa’s epiphany comes when she releases ‘American Dream’ ideas about family constructs, retirement security, and wealth. Once she does, the solution to her house problem becomes obvious. Not to reveal spoilers, but with Gen. Z guidance, part of her land is repurposed to serve community needs.
In her book, Kingsolver demonstrates ways to reformulate ingrained expectations. She gives examples of how to reduce one’s lifetime footprint, leaving the world different and, hopefully, better.
“If you build it, they will come,” happened with the railroad and other developed living, transportation, energy, judicial, and healthcare systems. Now we must work to change collective expectations and redesign the way we live on planet Earth.
Select your preferred audio or visual media and travel back in time with a Randolph Flat family where you’ll learn about living with a handicap, problems with open mine shafts, women’s voting, love, and loss.
While visiting the cemetery, please demonstrate abundant respect for the Stagecoach Way neighbors, for those at eternal rest,and for their stone markers.
The self-guided tour media was produced by a genealogy volunteer for educational purposes only. All of the support documentation is available on Ancestry in a public tree named, “Filling in the Plot – RR Cemetery.”
While researching and pulling together public domain elements for this presentation, you were always in our thoughts.
There are so many relatable and engaging aspects of this story, it is sure to spark conversations and make Nevada County history even more memorable for its residents and visitors.
Quarry Trail This wide, level and easy, 5.6-mile trail connects Hwy. 49 to Poverty Bar. It follows the route of an old, Gold Rush-era flume – a man-made channel used to convey and harness the power of river water for hydraulic gold mining operations. Part of this trail was later used as the Mountain Quarries railroad, which transported limestone from the adjacent quarry. Elevations average approximately 700’ along the length of the trail.
Stagecoach Trail Originally a stagecoach line built in 1852, this “moderate up, easy down,” 1.8-mile trail connects the Confluence to Russel Rd. and offers spectacular bird’s eye views of the Confluence Area and the American River canyon. From the Confluence, the Stagecoach Trail begins at an elevation of 567’, climbing to a maximum, ending elevation of 1,256’.
PG&E Road Trail This “moderate-up, easy-down,” 1.3-mile trail offers spectacular views of the Middle Fork American River, as well as present and past limestone quarrying operations. This trail is best accessed from the Quarry Trail. There is no parking available at the upper end of the trail. Elevations range from approximately 700’ to 1,300’.
Olmstead Loop Trail This easy to moderate, 8.8-mile loop parallels Hwy. 49 near the Town of Cool on one side and the American River Canyon on the other. It passes through rolling oak woodlands and includes canyon
For Black History Month 2021, I’ve curated a YouTube playlist and additional study resources that have been helping to fill gaps left in my public school history education.
Every video in it is associated with longer documentaries, films, podcasts, and/or books and audiobooks, as well as museums. The last video featuring Stanford Psychology Professor, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt talks about what needs to be done to slow automatic bias within the brain.
Roughly organized along a historical timeline, the video collection includes the following topics; cotton and sugar industries, the New York Times 1619 project, early free Black communities, slavery, Reconstruction, The Lost Cause, lynching, policing, Civil Rights, Confederate statue removal, historic figures, and contemporary work on caste, racism, and implicit bias.
Make It Right (MIR) Project was a multimedia campaign from 2018 to 2020 dedicated to educating the public and strengthening the media capacity of the national movement to remove and replace Confederate monuments and memorials.
Before We Were Yours accomplishes something I relish while reading for pleasure – it taught me something. The story is about a Tenessee baby stealing ring, Depression-era shantyboat culture, and institutional mistreatment of children.
For me, the most intriguing storyline follows a riverboat family from the ‘before’ time. Descriptions of nature knowledge gained while living on the Mississippi River are lush and sensory. It reminded me of the next book on this list.
The heartbreak, terror, and powerlessness suffered by poor birth families taken advantage of while at their most vulnerable and children separated from loving parents, and further – siblings from each other – was worthy of the strong emotions it stirred.
This book strengthened my convictions about the support needed for defenseless populations and about prosecuting those who value money over humanity.
The “Marsh Girl” is an enigma in the backwater settlement closest to Catherine’s (aka Kya) home.
Abandoned by her mother, siblings, and eventually, by her abusive alcoholic father, the youngster navigates on her own through her teen and young adult years. She becomes an avid self-taught naturalist who delves into life the cycles of the animals and plants in her South Carolina marsh environment.
‘Fear of other’ and class bias causes her neglectful community to turn against her when the son of a prominent family is found dead.
Where the Crawdads Sing will delight natural history readers while highlighting the social and emotional damage caused by indifference and loneliness.
Shelley Buck’s contemporary memoir gives the reader a viewpoint of life on a houseboat in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Shelley is a dot.com spouse with a high school-aged son attending a financially challenged charter school. While developing her author career, she seeks out a creative housing solution in uber-expensive Silicon Valley. Her journey takes the reader into a fluid dock community, repairs and maintenance unique to houseboats, and waterfront real estate under constant pressure from developers.
Buck’s canine-loving and nature appreciating observations intermingle with poetic narratives and moments of anxiety as she navigates through her soon-to-be empty nest and approaching retirement years.
If your reading mood calls for nature and water and you’ve got emotional reserves to explore traumatic children’s issues, Before We Were Yours and Where Crawdads Sing are great choices. If you want an uplifting family saga fraught with kids, pets, and mechanical challenges, Floating Point should hit the mark.
Best Wishes for Compelling Reading!
For ten more book recommendations from a historical fiction author/ reader, visit World of Mailman.