Snow Tent, California

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Snow Tent
Former settlement
Snow Tent is located in California
Snow Tent
Snow Tent
Location in California
Coordinates: 39°23′45″N 120°51′28″W / 39.39583°N 120.85778°W / 39.39583; -120.85778Coordinates: 39°23′45″N 120°51′28″W / 39.39583°N 120.85778°W / 39.39583; -120.85778
Country United States
State California
CountyNevada County
Elevation4,583 ft (1,397 m)
 • Total25
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)

Snow Tent was a historic settlement in Nevada County, California. The name derives from a tent set up by the first resident in 1850. [3] Snow Tent grew into a gold mining and lumbering center, then vanished sometime after 1880.

Located in what is today the Tahoe National Forest, the Snow Tent site is on the San Juan Ridge roughly midway between North Bloomfield and Graniteville, about 16 miles northeast of Nevada City.

Snow Tent was situated near the intersection of what are Snow Tent Road and the N. Bloomfield-Graniteville Road. It was an important stop on one of the routes through Henness Pass. It still appeared on maps as of 1902.[1]


Snow Tent lies on a rich bed of gold bearing gravel which runs from the San Juan Ridge in a southwesterly direction towards Hunt’s Hill, You Bet, Dutch Flat and into Placer County.[4] Snow Tent was the site of both hydraulic and hard rock mining. It is not clear how extensive hydraulic mining was since it does not appear from Hartwell's 1880 map that any ditch brought water to Snow Tent.[5]

Hydraulic mining on the Ridge received a major blow from the 1884 Sawyer decision, which prohibited the discharge of tailings into the Yuba River.[6] Hard rock or quartz mining in the area began in the 1850s and continued for some time, with occasional reports of new strikes.[7]


Mining required a lot of wood and Snow Tent lay amid rich pine forests. Snow Tent’s principal saw mill was owned by James Churchill. Constructed in the early 1850s, it burned down in 1857, reportedly of arson, with a loss of $8000.[8] Mr. Churchill rebuilt the mill, and it burned again with a loss estimated at $40,000.[9] He rebuilt it again and it finally burned down for good in 1875, again reportedly of arson with a loss of $4000.[10] In the early 20th century, the Landsburgh brothers operated a sawmill in the area.[11]

Stage Stop[edit]

Snow Tent was an important stop on the route between Marysville, Nevada City and the territory that would become the state of Nevada. As early as 1851, stagecoaches and freight wagons regularly operated on this route.[12] Snow Tent’s best known institution was its hotel, sometimes known as Snow Tent House, and operated for some years by Mr. L. A. Sackett.[13] It was put up for sale in 1864 with this advertisement.[14]

The hotel burned down in 1866, from an accidental chimney fire.[15]

Life in Snow Tent[edit]

Snow Tent dates from the spring of 1850, when Michael Angelo Singleton, a native of Louisiana, erected a canvas tent from which he sold goods and mined, and which was snowbound during winter.[3]

Beginning in 1851, Snow Tent had a general store operated by Furman, McIntyre & Co.[15] It also had a livery stable attached to the hotel. It does not appear to have had a school, church or post office, commonly found in mining camps in that region. By 1880, its population was reduced to 25.[16] It does appear to have had more than its expected share of mining camp violence. In addition to the acts of arson noted above, there are a number of reports of thefts and killings.[17] North of Snow Tent is a stream still called Bloody Run, after the number of corpses found there.[18]

Snow Tent Today[edit]

Snow Tent lies in a comparatively uninhabited part of the Tahoe National Forest, and there are no readily visible remains of the settlement. This 1996 painting of the area by local painter and historian David Comstock depicts Snow Tent Road behind the pond with the N. Bloomfield Graniteville Road just off to the left.


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Snow Tent, California
  2. ^ "Nevada County GenWeb Nevada County History". Retrieved 2009-05-31. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Thompson, Thomas H. and West, Albert A. (1970 ed.) History of Nevada County -1880, p. 230 (Singleton); Federal Writers’ Project (1939) California : a guide to the Golden state, p. 480.
  4. ^ Bean, Edwin F., (1867) History and Directory of Nevada County, pp. 22-3; Thompson and West, ibid, pp. 178-9; Clark, William B. (1963) Gold Districts of California, p. 93.
  5. ^ Hartwell, J. G., (1880) Map of Nevada County, viewable at
  6. ^ The Sawyer decision is reported as Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co., 18 F. 753 (CCD Cal. 1884).
  7. ^ Sacramento Daily Union, June 13, 1866.
  8. ^ Nevada Democrat, April 1, 1857; Red Bluff Beacon, Apr. 8, 1857.
  9. ^ Sacramento Daily Union, June 14, 1871.
  10. ^ Los Angeles Herald, May 27, 1875.
  11. ^ Sacramento Daily Union, September 28, 1907; May 8, 1912.
  12. ^ Nevada Journal, May 30, 1851; Nevada Transcript, July 3, 1863; Marysville Daily Appeal, June 22, 1866. In 1866, the Teamsters Association established a rate of $11 per 1000 feet of lumber between Marysville and Snow Tent. Marysville Daily Appeal, May 13, 1866.
  13. ^ Morning Transcript, September 10, 1862.
  14. ^ Sacramento Daily Union, June 15, 1864.
  15. ^ a b Nevada Gazette, February 26, 1866.
  16. ^ Kirkham (1976) A Genealogical and Historical Atlas of the United States of America.
  17. ^ Nevada Journal, November 8, 1851; July 1, 1853; October 7, 1853.
  18. ^ Nevada Journal, July 1, 1853; Nevada Democrat, Oct. 1, 1856.