Central Pacific Railroad: Proposed Alignment - Section 2 (1861) by Secretary of State Records, Filed Documents Maps and Plans Filed with the Secretary of State (MC1:11-2 ), California State ArchivesCalifornia State Archives
This section of the map starts at Rattlesnake Bluffs, near present day Yuba Pass, to the Summit of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Nevada County, California.
Rattlesnake Bluffs & Summit
The proposed railroad route runs through what was then called the Rattlesnake Bluffs, a series of rock ridges near Rattlesnake Summit, just south of Signal Peak. The lake pictured here is possibly Tuttle Lake.
Old Truckee Emigrant Trail
The "Old Truckee Emigrant Trail" was estrablished by the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party in 1844. It later became known as the Truckee-Donner Emigrant Trail.
Nevada County was established in 1851, named after the county seat of Nevada City. The county is also home to the communities of Grass Valley and Truckee, which saw growth after the Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869.
Slippery Rock Canyon & Rapids
The South fork of the Yuba River contains many narrow, steep canyons with dangerous rapids. Travelers by foot would look for safe places to ford the river.
Summit Valley was renamed to Soda Springs in 1875. Mark Hopkins, one of the "Big Four" that financed the building of the railroad and who became the Central Pacific Railroad's treasurer, chose this location for a scenic summer retreat. He built a home that later became a hotel, called Summit Soda Springs. The property was destroyed by fire in 1898, but some outbuildings remain.
Source of South Yuba
The South Yuba River originates in what is now known as the Sugar Bowl. Snows melt from the nearby peaks, run through an extensive series of canyons and gullies, and converge to create the South Yuba River. The area is popular for skiing and other snow sports.
Just east of the Sugar Bowl is Mt. Judah (not pictured on this map), named in honor of Theodore Judah in 1940. The original Transcontinental Railroad route followed Judah's proposal just north of this peak, as you can see on this map. However, the original route was bypassed in 1925 to create a 10,322 foot long tunnel through Mt. Judah.
This section of the map ends at the Summit of the Sierra Nevada mountains near the head of the South Yuba River, now called Lake Angela.
View section 3 of the map, covering the Sierra Nevada Summit to the Truckee River in Nevada County.
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.
All images from records of the California State Archives
Digital exhibit by Beth Behnam and Michelle Howard (2019)
Imaging by Stanford University (2019)
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