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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Angels Camp in Calaveras County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The Story Under the Lake

New Melones Lake

 
 
The Story Under the Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
1. The Story Under the Lake Marker
Inscription. The body of water you see before you, known as New Melones Lake, is formed by the building of the New Melones Dam. The 625-foot high earth-fill dam was completed in 1979 by the Army Corp of Engineers. A man-made reservoir, the lake hosts a variety of year-round recreational activities from boating, to water-skiing, to fishing.

When full, the lake also covers the former town of Melones with over 100 feet of water. The townsite is located just northeast of the Stevenot Bridge on Highway 49 between Sonora and Angels Camp. Once the largest nineteenth and early twentieth-century settlement in the area, the town of Melones was situated on the Calaveras County side of the Stanislaus River, just below the gold-rich Carson Hill.
 
Erected by U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation.
 
Location. 38° 0.234′ N, 120° 29.267′ W. Marker is near Angels Camp, California, in Calaveras County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 49. Click for map. Marker is located on the north side of the New Melones Reservoir Visiter Center. The Visitor Center is 1/4 mile south of the Highway 49 - Stevenot - Stanislaus River Bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Angels Camp CA 95222, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other
The Story Under the Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
2. The Story Under the Lake Marker
markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mark Twain Cabin (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named Mark Twain Cabin (approx. 0.7 miles away); Robinson's Ferry (approx. one mile away); Archie D. Stevenot (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Mark Twain Cabin (approx. 1.3 miles away); Tuttletown (approx. 1.7 miles away); Archie Stevenot (approx. 1.9 miles away); Carson Hill (approx. 1.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Angels Camp.
 
Regarding The Story Under the Lake. The site of Melones (also known as Robinsonís Ferry and Robinson's) is a former settlement now submerged beneath New Melones Lake. It lay at an elevation of 955 feet. Melones was founded on the site of a ferry operated in 1848 by John W. Robinson and Stephen Mead. The town initially took its name from the ferry.
The first post office opened at Robinsonís Ferry in 1879, the name was changed to Robinson's in 1895, and to Melones in 1902. The post office was closed in 1932, re-established in 1933 and closed for good in 1942.

See Nearby Marker "Robinson's Ferry" for additional information.
 
Also see . . .  New Melones History. History of the area is detailed by the US Dept. of the Interior New Melones Lake Website. (Submitted on June 30, 2010.) 
 
Categories. Natural Resources
 
Photo Displayed on Marker image. Click for full size.
circa 1924
3. Photo Displayed on Marker
Town of Melones, circa 1924, with Carson Hill 30-stamp mill (upper left corner). The entire mountain behind Melones is known as Carson Hill and has been honeycombed by shafts and tunnels during years of gold mining.
Photo Displayed on Marker image. Click for full size.
4. Photo Displayed on Marker
The Carson Hill Gold Mining Corporationís 30-stamp mill. The two principle gold producing mills at Carson Hill were the 100-stamp Melones mill, which operated from 1902 to 1919, and the 30-stamp mill of the Carson Hill Gold Mining Corporation, which was in operation from about 1920 to 1926 and 1933 to 1942.
Images of a Lost Community image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
5. Images of a Lost Community
Far beneath the waters of the New Melones Lake lie the remains of the small town of Melones, which was situated on the north bank of the Stanislaus River. For thousands of years, native peoples have inhabited this location, leaving evidence of their culture in the soil and on the rock outcroppings next to the old river channel. But this area, like hundreds of others in Californiaís Mother Lode, was forever changed by the discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada on January 24, 1948. The modern history of Melones has been shaped by gold, and by the Sierraís other great resource--water. In 1979, the construction of the 2.4 million-acre foot New Melones Lake submerged the town under hundreds of feet of water.
New Melones Lake and Carson Hill image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
6. New Melones Lake and Carson Hill
As seen from the marker.
Carson Hill image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
7. Carson Hill
At the top of the power pole is an Osprey nest. The Osprey pair had built nests two years in a row on this pole. They were taken down by the power company for the protection of the power grid and for the Ospreys. This year, a large bucket was placed in the event that they returned for a third year.

Click on photo to see the mother Osprey sitting on her nest. There are three baby chicks and the nest may be viewed from a telescope at the Visitor Center.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 2,330 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   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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