Last chance to visit Calif LH ghost town in May

The long-abandoned town of Clarksville, just outside of El Dorado Hills, California, is set to be cleared and developed in the next couple years. The town boasts one of the longest sections of original Lincoln Highway along the Pioneer Branch between Sacramento and Carson City, Nevada.

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Philip Wood, writing in the El Dorado Hills Telegraph. reported that the owner will be developing the property this year, though preserving parts for a museum to honor Clarksville’s history. Wood and Don Chaddock got a chance to photograph the land that lies east of Sacramento. Those are Wood’s photos here.

More exciting, a follow-up article in the Folson Telegraph announces that the public will have one last chance to visit the town that time forgot thanks to members of the town’s historical society.

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Betty January, president of the Clarksville Region Historical Society, said Ken Wilkenson, one of the property owners, worked out a deal to hold their annual Clarksville Day at the site on May 9. A large barn that was also once the schoolhouse will be used for the celebration.

January said Clarksville was founded around 1849-50, because of the nearby Mormon Tavern, and quickly became a commercial and social center for the area, eventually home to a few hundred people. The road dates to that period. Wilkenson says the roadway will be preserved.

Only about dozen structures remain but the town once had a Wells Fargo building, general store, school, and hotels. Decline came when the Folsom-to-Shingle Springs branch of the railroad bypassed the town, and really came when US 50 was rerouted, cutting off the town so that it could not even support a gas station. The last resident left in 1952, and when a developer bought 11,000 acres in the 1960s, he renamed the area El Dorado Hills. The ghost town again has one resident — in a new house built atop the site of the general store after it burned down.

Cars will be able to drive the Lincoln Highway during Clarksville Day. The event will feature vintage cars and other activities for the public such as gold panning, and The Pony Express Riders will stage a re-mount.

To learn more about Clarksville Day, visit www.edhhistory.org/.

Check out more photographs of Clarksville in the Telegraph‘s gallery.

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6 thoughts on “Last chance to visit Calif LH ghost town in May

  1. In addition to my involvement with the Lincoln Highway Association, I am a charter member of the Clarksville Region Historical Society. I got involved there because an old stretch of the Lincoln runs right through town. I have been in contact with the developer who wants to save as much of the Lincoln as possible. His detailed plans are still not being disclosed, but I know enough to say that Lincoln Highway fans will be VERY pleased with what he wants to do. He will be making applications for zoning changes and all the necessary permits this year, but doesn’t expect to start construction for at least two years. Stay tuned for info on the CA/NV annual LHA conference in June 2011.

  2. Regarding Clarksville Day….
    My family and I are the last remaining residents of Clarksville… As we live here we ask that after Clarksville day that people respect our privacy and remain scarce. We have dogs and horses and enjoy our country life. We do live in reality however and know that it will be coming to an end someday. So please come enjoy a piece of our town on May 9th and take pics, bring the family and have great time.
    Thanks in advance,
    The last residents of Clarksville

  3. Hello, my name is kim. I am the daughter (one of 6) of Hank Joerger.
    My father and his family have been (as you may know) part of this land for the last century. I grew up walking the hills (now El Dorado Hills)
    I look forward forward to this event.

    kim

    kim stroman joerger
    kimystry@dcn.org

  4. i was coming home to cameron park yesterday and saw the small sign for the clarksville day, may 9th. i was raised in rancho cordova (i am 56 now) and can remember my parents talking about your town and the family that bought the land for el dorado hills. so many small towns such as this are being scooped up and long forgotten. i will be there on the 9th to take a last look. thank you so much for allowing us the privledge to do this.

  5. Pingback: Last chance to visit Calif LH ghost town this Sat « Lincoln Highway News

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