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

Donner Pass

Who Passed This Way

 
 
Donner Pass Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 21, 2009
1. Donner Pass Marker
Inscription. For thousands of years, people have crossed the Sierra Nevada near this place called Donner Pass.

Traveling by foot, wagon, train or automobile, the journey has always been challenging.

By Foot
Long before itís “discovery” by Euro-Americans, this 7,000 foot pass was used as a travel corridor by Native Americans.

The Washoe Indians trekked through the area, from their Great Basin home enroute to the foothills of California, to gather acorns and to trade. They brought items such as salt, obsidian, rabbit skins and pine nuts to trade with the California Indians for other food items, animal skins and sea shells.

By Wagon
In 1844, Elisha Stephens led the first wagon party across this rocky pass, blazing the emigrant trail. The western migration era had arrived! Nearly 300,000 people crossed the Sierra Nevada during this covered wagon movement, including the ill-fated Donner Party in 1846-47.

Incorporating portions of the emigrant trail, the Dutch Flat and Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed in 1864, opening the area to permanent settlement.

By Train
From 1866 to 1868, thousands of laborers, including Chinese, drilled and blasted through these granite cliffs, making way for the first transcontinental
By Foot image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 21, 2009
2. By Foot
Photo Caption:
Washoe woman weaving baskets.
Photo courtesy of the Nevada County Historical Society.
railroad – The Central Pacific Railroad. From this point, you can see the results of that massive effort.

Because of this railroad link, traveling across the nation now seemed quick and easy. This lured more than emigrants out west and marked the beginnings of this areaís tourist economy.

By Auto
By 1909, motorists were ascending Donner Pass via a primitive unpaved road. In 1913, this Sierra route was incorporated into the Lincoln Highway – the first driving route linking the east and west coasts.

This section of the Lincoln Highway was replaced by Highway 40 in 1926. Highway 40 served as the major driving route over Donner Pass until Interstate 80 was completed in 1964
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lincoln Highway marker series.
 
Location. 39° 19.111′ N, 120° 19.115′ W. Marker is in Truckee, California, in Nevada County. Marker is on Donner Pass Road (Old Highway 40). Click for map. Marker is located at the lookout parking area. Marker is at or near this postal address: 19326 Donner Pass Road, Truckee CA 96161, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. McGlashan Point (here, next to this marker); Transcontinental Railroad (here, next to this
By Wagon image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 21, 2009
3. By Wagon
Photo Caption:
Wagons crossing Donner Pass on the Dutch Flat and Donner Lake Wagon Road - circa 1863
Photo courtesy of the Navada Historical Society
marker); Stephens – Townsend – Murphy Party of 1844 (within shouting distance of this marker); Rainbow Bridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Donner Summit Overlook (about 300 feet away); Donner Summit Bridge (about 300 feet away); Petroglyphs (about 600 feet away); China Wall of the Sierra (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Truckee.
 
Also see . . .  Truckee - Donner Historical Society. This site links to several articles regarding the history of the area. (Submitted on October 23, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.) 
 
Categories. ExplorationNative AmericansRailroads & StreetcarsRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
By Train image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 21, 2009
4. By Train
Photo Caption:
Central Pacific Railroad - circa 1870
Photo courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum.
By Auto image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 21, 2009
5. By Auto
Photo Caption:
1929 Model AC Chevrolet driving on the Lincoln Highway over snow-plowed Donner Pass
Photo courtesy of Tahoe National Forest Photo Collection.
Snow Sheds Protecting Railroad Tracks image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 21, 2009
6. Snow Sheds Protecting Railroad Tracks
As seen from the marker
The Town of Truckee and Donner Lake image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle
7. The Town of Truckee and Donner Lake
In this photo the original cut of the railroad track bed is viewed on the right. Donner Lake is viewed in the center with the Town of Truckee seen above the lake and Old Highway 40 (The Lincoln Highway) can be seen below the lake.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 2,930 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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