Proposed Alignment of the Transcontinental Railroad - Section 4

Section 4 of 4 of the Central Pacific Railroad: Proposed Alignment (1861), also known as the "Judah Map"

By California State Archives

Central Pacific Railroad: Proposed Alignment - Section 4 (1861) by Secretary of State Records, Filed Documents Maps and Plans Filed with the Secretary of State (MC1:11-2 [169]), California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives

This section of the map begins near the community of Dutch Flat, and ends at Rattlesnake Bluffs.

Dutch Flat
The community of Dutch Flat was established by German immigrants in 1851, and was a major stop along stagecoach routes. The building of the railroad negated the need for the stagecoach lines, and led to the decline of Dutch Flat, which went from a population of about 6,000 in 1853 to a population of about 300 today.

Dutch Flat Water Co. Reservoir/Bradley’s Reservoir
The Dutch Flat Water Works company built this reservoir in the 1850s to safeguard the nearby town of Dutch Flat from wildfires. The reservoir is known today as Lake Alta.

Little Bear River
The railroad would cross over Little Bear River, now known as Little Bear Creek, a tributary of the Bear River.

Bear River
The proposed railroad route winds alongside Bear River for several miles.

Placer County
Placer County was established in 1851, named after the placer mining that had become popular during the California Gold Rush just three years prior. In 1860 the county had a population of just over 13,000, and is now home to nearly 400,000 people.

Bear Valley
Bear Valley is a popular destination for camping due to its beautiful meadow and proximity to nearby rivers and streams. While building the railroad, Central Pacific Railroad camps were set up along the Bear River in Bear Valley.

South Yuba Canal
The South Yuba Canal is part of the largest network of flumes and ditches in the state, developed by the South Yuba Canal Company in the 1850s to supply water for nearby hydraulic mining operations. The extensive canal system is now owned and operated by Pacific Gas & Electric.

Emigrant Gap
The headwaters of the Bear River are nestled on a ridge above Emigrant Gap, near the line between Placer and Nevada Counties. Emigrant Gap was a dangerous portion of the overland trail, where travelers would have to lower their wagons on ropes over steep cliffs.

This section of the maps ends at what was then called Rattlesnake Bluffs, located between present day Yuba Pass and Cisco Grove.

This concludes the four sections of the Judah map.

NOTE: The full map is made up of four sections. They are presented here in the order in which they appear on the original hand-drawn map, not in geographic order. Section 4 of the map covers a geographic area that actually falls between sections 1 and 2.

Credits: Story

All images from records of the California State Archives
Digital exhibit by Beth Behnam and Michelle Howard (2019)

Imaging by Stanford University (2019)

California State Archives
A Division of the California Secretary of State's Office
1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Reference Telephone: (916) 653-2246
General Information: (916) 653-7715
Fax: (916) 653-7363

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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