“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Kirkwood in Alpine County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Caples Lake

Caples Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, August 22, 2008
1. Caples Lake Marker
Inscription. In 1849 Dr. James Caples passed through here on his way to California’s gold country.

After a brief stay in Old Hangtown (Placerville) Caples remembered the lake and returned here with his family to establish a way station that served weary travelers for thirty years.

The lake known variously as Summit Lake, Clear Lake, and Twin Lakes, is two miles long and has a surface area of 600 acres.

Dedicated by the Historical Society of Alpine County.
Erected by Historical Society of Alpine County.
Location. 38° 42.204′ N, 120° 3.305′ W. Marker is near Kirkwood, California, in Alpine County. Marker is on Carson Pass Highway (State Highway 88), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kirkwood CA 95646, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Summer Retreat (approx. 0.6 miles away); Kirkwood's (approx. 0.9 miles away); Old Emigrant Road (approx. one mile away but has been reported missing); Naming of Carson Pass (approx. 3.7 miles away); Snowshoe Thom(p)son (approx.
View of Caples Lake from Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, August 22, 2008
2. View of Caples Lake from Marker
Here the water level in the lake is somewhat lower than normal, as in August 2008 the El Dorado Irrigation District (owner of the lake) was in the process of lowering the lake in order to repair some of the dam-related infrastructure. Close inspection of the picture just above the lower waterline reveals a number of tree stumps, indicating the historical forestation prior to damming.
3.7 miles away); Kit Carson (approx. 3.7 miles away); Memorial to Pioneer Odd Fellows (approx. 3.7 miles away); First Summit (approx. 3.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Kirkwood.
Regarding Caples Lake. Born in Ohio in 1823, James Caples migrated from Missouri with his wife to California by wagon in 1849. After a short period as a storekeeper in Placerville selling provisions to miners, he and his family settled on a 4,000 acre ranch that included the area covered by Caples Lake. The waystation mentioned on the marker would have only been open several months each year, given the 7,900 ft. elevation of the location.

Prior to damming, much of the area covered by the lake was a meadow. The Emigrant Trail ran through this meadow a short ways east of this marker.
Also see . . .  Biography of James Caples. A biography of Dr. James Caples, excerpted from "An Illustrated History of Sacramento County, California", pp. 700-702, by the Honorable Win. J. Davis, 1890. (Submitted on September 4, 2008.) 
Categories. LandmarksNatural FeaturesSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 3,491 times since then and 173 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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