Dutch Flat, Placer County, California

Dutch Flat is situated in the northeastern part of Placer County, upon the ridge which divides the waters of Bear river from those of the North Fork of the American. The first permanent settlement at this place was made in the spring of 1851, by Joseph Doranbach. The name “Dutch” is derived perhaps from the nationality of the gentleman who has the honor of being called the pioneer settler of the place, and those who were his companions at the time; but it is difficult to conceive Of why “Flat” should be added to the word “Dutch,” in giving the name to the then embryo town, except it is to fully carry out and demonstrate the Californian custom of perverting names. Of the early history of Dutch Flat, but little is known that would be considered of very great interest to the general reader, except that the place was considered, in 1854, by persons then thought to be visionary individuals, of sufficient importance as a mining locality to warrant the construction of a water ditch, to convey the waters of Bear river upon the tops of the ridges for mining purposes. The commencement of operations upon the ditch known as the ” Placer County Canal,” gave quite an impetus to the settlement of the place, and it continued to increase in population and importance until, at the completion of the ditch, in May 1859, it was about the fifth town in the county in population. Since the completion of the Placer County Canal, the Bartlett & Thomas ditch, and other ditches which convey water into the mines in the vicinity, the town has steadily increased in population until its voting population is greater than any other town in the county-the number of votes polled at the Presidential election in 1860 amounting to five hundred and one.

On the 29th day of May 1860, the first number of the Dutch Flat Enquirer, a weekly newspaper, was issued, and is yet continued, seemingly well supported. The town may now be said to be in a flourishing condition, and with a prospect of growing in size and importance. According to the last census returns, Dutch Flat contained nearly one-tenth of the whole population of the county. There are in the town and its surroundings 140 families, 7 provision and grocery stores, 17 saloons, 8 clothing and dry goods stores, 2 breweries, 3 blacksmith shops, 2 hardware stores, 2 tin shops, 2 hotels, 1 drug store; also a carpenter shop, a cabinet shop, a restaurant, 2 butcher stalls, a bakery, 3 schools and a church.

The mineral resources of Dutch Flat are extensive, and the product of the gold mines in the vicinity probably amounting to about $20,000 per week, including the diggings at Lost Camp. The mining is principally carried on by the hydraulic process; the supply of water furnished by the ditches being ample to enable a large number of men to keep constantly employed the year round upon their claims. The yield of gold is steady and remunerative to the operatives.

A company was organized the present year, called the “Lake Pass Turn-pike Company,” which has in contemplation the construction of a turnpike road from Dutch Flat to Virginia City, Utah Territory, by the way, of Lake Pass. The completion of this road, it is expected, will add much to the future prosperity and importance of the place, it being claimed by its friends as the lowest pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the easiest grade and the shortest route that a road can be run from Sacramento to the Washoe silver region, and intersecting with the Great Central Overland Emigrant Road.

Dutch Flat is situated high up in the mountains, is surrounded with extensive forests of excellent timber for building purposes; has numerous springs of excellent water, and the timber for fuel abundant and convenient. In consequence of its elevated position, the town is regarded as a pleasant place for a summer residence; and the snows never fall to such great depth as to prevent travel to and from the place for a great length of time during the winter season.

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