Wednesday, January 24, 2018

We Remembered a Friend with Twin Pines in December, and Celebrate 170 Years of Golden History Today

January 24, 1848, a hard working man named James Marshall looked down into the cold waters of the South Fork of the American River running through the mill race at Coloma, and the story of the pretty little valley was destined to change once again.
Seventy years ago a huge Centennial celebration was held and a stamp was issued showing what became a rather well known scene with the mill and two pines which grew close by, and very close to each other, so close that they almost seem to be grown together, perhaps they are. I have gathered together here several images I have found showing the trees, and the mill at its original site, which at this time is sometimes in, sometimes out of the riverbed.

Visitors at that large centennial celebration in 1948 lined up  at the Coloma post office to send out first day of issue letters to those family and friends they could think of. These are very popular collectibles now, and a lot of the covers have the two trees and mill on them.
I have a couple of postcards that show the lines of happy people waiting to mail their choice of first day covers.  There were many choices, some even hand painted!

There are several postcards you can still find that have copies of lithographs of the mill that show the two pine trees.

Those pines grace the cover of history books:

 They even get gilded and stamped onto coins for the local event!

The replica of Sutter's Mill at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma has recently been relocated from near to the Grange Hall and Bayne Road Bridge to much closer to the spot where the mill actually stood in 1848.  Park Superintendent Barry Smith had been considering planting Ponderosa pines to replicate the old lithographs. In the spring last year we lost a dear friend, Tony Angi. Tony had many ties to Coloma, Lotus, Garden Valley, the Divide, and many, many friends.

Our good friend Dick, and Tony's very good friend Paul asked the Ranger if we could plant trees in Tony's honor, and everyone discovered he was on the same page! We all got called to meet in Coloma on Friday, December 1st, at 2:00 p.m. What a beautiful day it was! I was able to drive down Bayne Road past a beautiful two story farmhouse with a wrap around porch which Tony designed and which sits almost directly across from the gold discovery site.

On December 1, 2017 we who could (retired folk, mainly, Rich had to work) gathered at the park and Ranger Barry introduced himself and there were quite a few staff there, and although we had brought shovels and some even wore gloves (good guy, David!) we found they had already very carefully planted the trees.

After he was introduced, Paul entertained us with his stories of his friendship with Tony, which went back forty years, to when Tony had first come to Lotus. I think Paul looks like what I used to call "a miner 49er" when I was a little girl.
The photo below is of Kathy, Tony's wife, and Dick, his good friend and associate.

The Ranger had an amusing story about the golden shovels that we each used to add a scoop full of fertilizer to the trees. They were forgotten in a closet at the park but were perfect for this ceremony,
with the mill's outline stenciled on each one.

Above Tony's son addresses us and below Craig helps a little one with her scoop.
The photographer Cheryl below finally is in a shot herself. She is fiancĂ© to Craig, above.
Pam, wife of Dick, puts muscle into her gardening, she excels at zumba and golf, so she can shovel with the best of them!
Oh, and yes, I was there too. I was trying to show off the mill on my shovel.

And finally, below, here we all are, Tony's friends and family, and we will be checking on his trees, because most of us live close by, and if any of us are still around for the 200th year celebration perhaps we can mail a new stamp with an image of Tony's trees.


Heidi Ann said...

What a wonderful tribute to Tony, and I so enjoyed reading this and seeing all of the vintage images of the mill, the history lesson and the photographs!
I love it when you write posts like this, Tina!

lorlore said...

I am so happy that you were able to be there for your friend and participate in this with everyone! How fun and what a special post!! Great job Sis!!!

Thimblehappy said...

What Heidi said. :-)

Sunnyana said...

Hi Tina, I always love your posts and have missed seeing them. I remember we visited Sutter's Mill on family vacation in the late 60's or early 70's. I don't remember a lot about it except for the wood structure. I was wondering how long the original was there and when did they build the first replica? I enjoyed meeting Heidi and Lori last year and hope I can meet you someday! Keep posting! Deanna