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Big Bear City in San Bernardino County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Holcomb Valley
 
Holcomb Valley Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Michael Kindig, June 18, 2011
1. Holcomb Valley Marker
 
Inscription. Southern California's largest gold rush followed the discovery of rich placer deposits by William F. Holcomb and Ben Choteau on May 4, 1860. Miners rushed to the valley and established boom towns. Belleville, the largest, rivaled San Bernardino in population and almost became the county seat. Violence and hangings were common in this remote valley. Over time, major placer and quartz mining declined although some activity continues today.
 
Erected 1990 by State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with Billy Holcomb Chapter No. 1069, E Clampus Vitus, Big Bear Valley Historical Society, and U.S. Forest Service. (Marker Number 619.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
 
Location. 34° 15.894′ N, 116° 50.671′ W. Marker is in Big Bear City, California, in San Bernardino County. Marker is on East Mountain View Boulevard west of Mount Doble Drive, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is located approximately 200 feet northwest of this intersection at the entrance to the Eleanor Abbot Museum/Big Bear Valley Historical Society. Marker is at or near this postal address: 131 East Mountain View Boulevard, Big Bear City CA 92314, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
 
Big Bear Valley Historical Society Museum Photo, Click for full size
By Michael Kindig, June 18, 2011
2. Big Bear Valley Historical Society Museum
 
At least 7 other markers are within 17 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Bellevill Holcomb Valley (approx. 3.5 miles away); a different marker also named Holcomb Valley (approx. 3.5 miles away but has been reported missing); Old Woman Springs Ranch (approx. 12.1 miles away); Peter Davidson (approx. 15.1 miles away); Chimney Rock (approx. 15.7 miles away); The Last Indian Fight in Southern California (approx. 15.7 miles away); Henry Harbinson Sinclair (approx. 16.5 miles away).
 
Regarding Holcomb Valley. Four towns grew after Billy Holcomb's gold discovery in the valley. Belleville was on the east side of the valley. The other towns near Belleville were: Union Town, 2 miles northeast; Clapboard Town, 2 miles southwest and Bloody Gulch, 2 miles northwest. Blacksmith Jed Van Dusen was hired by the miners to build a road west from Holcomb Valley, then northwest by Coxey's Ranch to Rock Springs, then west over the desert to the Mojave River and toward Cajon Pass where it met John Brown's toll road.
SOURCE: Billy Holcomb Chapter 1069 35th Anniversary Plaque Book by Phillip Holdaway
 
Also see . . .  William Francis Holcomb (1831 - 1912) - Find a Grave Memorial. He was born in Tippecanoe, Iowa to Zephaniah and Mary (Collins) Holcomb and arrived in California in 1850. He struck gold and hunted bear in the San Bernardino mountain valley now bearing his name. (Submitted on December 20, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California.) 
 
Big Bear Valley Historical Museum Photo, Click for full size
By Michael Kindig, June 18, 2011
3. Big Bear Valley Historical Museum
 

 
Additional comments.
1. The Town of Belleville
About three miles north of Big Bear Lake lies Holcomb Valley. It's now a peaceful sheltered area, but in the 1860's it was the scene of the largest gold rush in Southern California. One of the landmarks of the area is the site of Belleville, the valley's largest town, reputed to have reached a population of 10,000 and to have been a hotbed of Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War. By 1862 Belleville was challenging San Bernardino to become the county seat. The story goes that Belleville lost in the election only because a ballot box from Belleville was "accidentally" lost in a bonfire on election night.
Source: Historic Spots in California 5th Edition.
    — Submitted December 29, 2011, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.
 
Big Bear Historical Museum Photo, Click for full size
By Michael Kindig, June 18, 2011
4. Big Bear Historical Museum
 
 
William F. (Billy) Holcomb Photo, Click for full size
San Bernardino Historical & Pioneer Society
5. William F. (Billy) Holcomb
 
 
William F. Holcomb Headstone Photo, Click for full size
By Michael Kindig, January 29, 2011
6. William F. Holcomb Headstone
W.F. Holcomb
1931 - 1912
-------
Nancy C. Holcomb
1838 - 1919
-------

Pioneer Memorial Cemetery
211 East 9th Street
San Bernardino, San Bernardino Co., California
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on December 19, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. This page has been viewed 698 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on December 19, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California.   2, 3, 4. submitted on December 24, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California.   5. submitted on December 20, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California.   6. submitted on December 29, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
 
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