Somersville, California

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Coordinates: 37°57′25″N 121°51′52″W / 37.95694°N 121.86444°W / 37.95694; -121.86444

Somersville
Former settlement
Somersville is located in California
Somersville
Somersville
Somersville is located in the US
Somersville
Somersville
Location in California
Coordinates: 37°57′25″N 121°51′52″W / 37.95694°N 121.86444°W / 37.95694; -121.86444
Country United States
State California
County Contra Costa County
Elevation[1] 741 ft (226 m)

Somersville (also, Sommerville and Summerville)[1] is an unincorporated ghost town in eastern Contra Costa County, California.[2] It is located 6 miles (10 km) north-northeast of Mount Diablo,[3] at an elevation of 741 feet (226 m).[1]

Somersville was founded in the 1850s[2] by gold miners. The town is no longer populated and is within the boundaries of the East Bay Regional Park District's Black Diamond Mines Regional Park.[2] Somersville Road was named after the town; it is a major north-south arterial trunk road in the closest existing neighbor: Antioch. Somersville's ruins contain a fairly extensive amount of graves in its cemetery,[2] many of whom are dead miners who died in accidents in the coal mines.[2] The Somersville mines are now sealed to prevent entry due to frequent incidents of people becoming lost inside them during the mid 20th century.[2]

A post office operated at Somersville from 1863 to 1910.[3] The name is in honor of Francis Somers, coal mine founder.[3]

A reporter for the Antioch Ledger, May 7, 1870 described the town: "...Somersville has a four general merchandise stores, one drug store, one hotel, two large boarding houses, several minor ones, a doctor, barber, shoemaker, no tailor, four saloons, purs et simple, not counting liquors dispensed at groceries. As an offset, we have a flourishing Lodge of Good Templars and Sons of Temperance. Odd Fellows and Red Men each have an organization. A Protestant and a Catholic Church shed their humanizing influence around, both being well attended. The public school is maintained nearly all the year round, by a special tax when the State funds fails; from seventy-five to one hundred scholars is the average daily attendance. There are two departments, and two lady teachers, under whose painstaking auspices the fundamental branches flourish."

In 1979, Somersville gained fame as the site of the largest historical archaeology excavation ever done in the U.S. at the time. Over 200 students from U.C Berkeley scraped and sifted through the eastern part of the townsite, recovering thousands of artifacts. The Public Broadcasting System examined the project in a documentary series on archaeology, Odyssey: Other People's Garbage.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Somersville, California
  2. ^ a b c d e f SOMERSVILLE, GhostTowns.com, retrieved September 12, 2007
  3. ^ a b c Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 704. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.