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Sierra Stories

  • The strange tale of Charley Parkhurst

    By Mark McLaughlin on July 23, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin  ·   Charley Parkhurst at the reigns of a stagecoach.  · Stagecoach companies were big business during the Comstock’s heady years of massive silver production. One of the most successful lines was the Pioneer Stage Company. The Pioneer Stage route followed the old trail between Placerville past South Lake Tahoe, to Genoa, Nev. The company maintained 12 […]
  • Summit Canyon | A trail to history, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on July 16, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin  ·   Remains of the Dutch Flat road may be seen on the Summit Canyon trail.  ·   Editor’s Note: Part I may be found at TheTahoeWeekly.com. The original Donner Pass on historic Highway 40 is arguably one of the most significant square miles in the United States. Its legacy encompasses Native American travel and trade, pre-Gold […]
  • Summit Canyon | A trail to history, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on July 9, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin  ·   Along the Summit Canyon trail  · Donner Pass is arguably one of the most historic square miles in the United States. Its legacy encompasses Native American travel and trade, pre-gold rush pioneers, the nation’s first transcontinental railroad and highway systems, as well as the vanguard of cross-country aviation. Over the years, there have been many […]
  • Squaw Valley Tram | A ride into history

    By Mark McLaughlin on July 2, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin  ·   Five months from now, Squaw Valley will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the opening of the ski area in November 1949, but you don’t have to wait until the snow flies to experience the magic of Olympic Valley. The aerial tram at Squaw Valley will lift you effortlessly up into the Sierra high country, where […]
  • Lola Montez: A hike into history, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on June 25, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin ·    Lower Lola Montez Lake At Donner Pass, fascinating history and stunning scenery combine to provide some of the most awe-inspiring walks and hikes in the United States. Several years ago the Donner Summit Historical Society began installing informative plaques as it established the 20 Mile Museum along Donner Pass Road from Donner Lake west to […]
  • Lola Montez Lakes: A hike into history, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on June 18, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin ·  At Donner Pass, history and scenery combine to provide some of the most inspiring walks and hikes in the United States. Several years ago, the Donner Summit Historical Society began installing informative plaques as the group established the fascinating 20 Mile Museum along Donner Pass Road from Donner Lake west to Cisco. The recent purchases of […]
  • Murder of Det. Len Harris, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on June 11, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin ·    On May 15, 1894, veteran Southern Pacific Det. Len Harris was shot and killed by Anthony Azoff, an unemployed sign painter who had decided to rob the Boulder Creek train depot in Santa Cruz County. An informant named George Sprague had alerted the Railroad Company about the robbery attempt planned by Azoff for the following […]
  • Murder of Detective Len Harris, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on June 4, 2014
    By Mark McLaughlin    When Southern Pacific Railroad detective Leonard “Len” Harris took two bullets to the abdomen during a train holdup in Santa Cruz County, it ended the life of one of the West’s most dedicated and respected law officers. The 1894 murder of Harris marked the tragic end of one peace officer’s remarkable career. Len Harris had served […]
  • California’s Golden Legacy

    By Mark McLaughlin on May 21, 2014
    For centuries, European explorers had dreamed of finding gold in pastoral California. In a classic twist of fate, the discovery of gold that would spur tens of thousands of people worldwide to drop everything and rush to California, occurred just nine days before the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo between Mexico and the United States. The treaty gave land-hungry […]
  • Black pioneers on the Western frontier

    By Mark McLaughlin on May 7, 2014
    Life as a pioneer in the American West was never easy, but it was especially difficult for early settlers who were not fair-skinned and of European descent. At the time, white people wrote the laws and reaped the rewards of controlling the government. Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, South Americans and American blacks were drawn by the excitement of the California Gold […]