Woodfords, California

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Not to be confused with Woodford, California.
Woodfords, California
unincorporated community
Coordinates: 38°46′40″N 119°49′19″W / 38.77778°N 119.82194°W / 38.77778; -119.82194Coordinates: 38°46′40″N 119°49′19″W / 38.77778°N 119.82194°W / 38.77778; -119.82194
Country United States
State California
County Alpine
 • State Senate Ted Gaines (R)[1]
 • State Assembly Frank Bigelow (R)[2]
 • U. S. Congress Tom McClintock (R)[3]
Elevation[4] 5,617 ft (1,712 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 150
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 96120
Area code(s) 530

Woodfords (formerly, Brannan Springs, Carey's Mill, Cary's Mills, Carys Mill, Carys Mills, Woodford's,[5] Carey's Mills,[6] and Woodford)[6] is an unincorporated community in Alpine County, California, near Markleeville. For census purposes, it is included in Alpine Village. It is located 6 miles (9.7 km) north-northwest of Markleeville,[6] at 38°46′40″N 119°49′19″W / 38.77778°N 119.82194°W / 38.77778; -119.82194.

Woodfords holds title as the oldest non-native settlement in the entire region. Sam Brannan left supplies near a spring here in 1847 on his way to Salt Lake City, and Brannan Springs, as it was then called, was ideally positioned to take advantage of traffic on the booming road to California.

After a brief period during which the settlement was known as Carey's Mills, the Woodfords name came into common usage following the establishment of an official post office near a hotel by Daniel Woodford in 1849. Today, Woodfords continues to serve highway travelers, and is home to about 150 full-time residents, while the Southern band of the Washo tribe has a small community in nearby Diamond Valley.

Woodfords became a remount station of the Pony Express on April 4, 1860, when Warren Upson scaled the mountains in a blinding snowstorm, reached Woodfords from Lake Tahoe via Luther Pass, and made his way down the eastern slope of the Sierra on his way to Carson City. Five weeks later the Pony Express was rerouted by way of Echo Summit and the Kingsbury Grade.[7] The remount station is now California Historical Landmark #805.[8]

A post office opened in Carey's Mills in 1858, the name was changed to Woodfords in 1869, and was closed in 1914; the post office was re-established in 1962, only to close for good in 1974.[6]


  1. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ "California's 4th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Woodfords". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  5. ^ All U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Woodfords, California
  6. ^ a b c d Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1216. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  7. ^ Farquhar, Francis Peloubet (1965), History of the Sierra Nevada, University of California Press, p. 101, ISBN 978-0-520-01551-7 .
  8. ^ "Pony Express Remount Station At Woodfords". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-03-30.