Moccasin, Tuolumne County, California
Moccasin, an unincorporated community in Tuolumne County, California, is located at the intersection of State Route 49 and State Route 120. The community is sited on the shore of Moccasin Reservoir at the edge of Lake Don Pedro. The US Postal Service ZIP Code for the area is 95347. Numbers of wired telephones in the Moccasin central office follow the format (209) 989-2xxx. Before the 1980s, Moccasin telephone calls were switched by a step by step Community Dial Office. The town is home to a State of California Resources Agency, Department of Fish and Game fish hatchery.
A fire July 3, 2006, burned 1,998 acres (8.09 km2) near Moccasin Powerhouse according to the California Department of Forestry. The three million dollar fire involved 40 engines, 4 helicopters, and 9 bulldozers.
Hetch Hetchy Relationship
A company town, Moccasin is almost entirely owned by the City and County of San Francisco. Homes are used for employees who work on the Hetch Hetchy Water & Power system. Most buildings are painted the same color and homes in the community look similar as a result. There are no stores or gas stations.
Construction on the original Moccasin Powerhouse was started in Fall 1921. The facility was completed and began generating power on August 14, 1925.
"Paul assembled the Moccasin Powerhouse. He went back east to gather all the parts from multiple companies including Westinghouse and General Electric and personally directed the construction of the electrical sections of the powerhouse. The powerhouse was at one time called the 'Ost Powerhouse'."—Mary(Molly) Ford\Ost ~1950
The original powerhouse was removed from operation February 7, 1969.
The present-day Moccasin Powerhouse was completed and placed in operation January 27, 1969. The facility's rated capacity is 100,000 KVA and there is a second 3,000 KVA generator called Moccasin Low Head Generating Plant, (completed 1986). The town site is a significant facility along the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct system.
During the Gold Rush, the locale was a stage coach stop on Big Oak Flat Road. A covered bridge was built to allow crossing of Moccasin Creek during the wet season. There was a mining camp along Moccasin Creek and east of town along Priest Grade. Robberies were frequent during years when gold miners were successful in the area.
Priest Grade and Old Priest Grade
Immediately east of town, State Route 120 climbs from about 910 feet (280 m) AMSL elevation to about 2,450 feet (750 m) at Priest Station, California, over a distance of six miles (10 km). Old Priest Grade, a narrower road and predecessor to the current route of SR120, covers the same change in elevation over about 2.7 miles (4.3 km). It is common to see vehicles with smoking brakes descending the old grade. During summer, ambient temperatures can be in the 90~100 °F range. In these temperatures, many vehicles overheat climbing the old grade. Locals tell stories of car accidents in history where the vehicles left the path of Old Priest Grade and tumbled into Grizzly Gulch. The hillsides are sturdy chaparral with thick vegetation. The terrain was so difficult that, in a few cases, the cars and bodies were not retrieved, some locals claim. Construction to widen curves and add guard rails began in July 2010.
- Wurm, Ted (1973). "Hetch Hetchy and its Dam Railroad p.226". Howell-North Books in Berkeley, CA.
- Editor, Newspaper (1936-04-17). "PAUL J. OST PROMOTED TO NEW POSITION". Daily Pacific Builder.
- Paden, Irene and Margaret D. Schlictmann, The Big Oak Flat Road, (Oakland, California: Emil P Schlictmann, 1955).
- Winding hazardous Old Priest Grade fixes to start next week
- "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
- "California's 4th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Pictures of Moccasin
- California Department of Fish and Game Trout Hatchery
- California Rainfall Data for Moccasin