Todd’s Valley was first settled by Dr. Todd, who built a log house for a store and hotel, on the site of his present residence, at his ranch in the lower suburbs of the town, in June, 1849. The location at that time was the most eligible one to be found north of the Middle Fork of the American, and was the proper distance from the river to catch all the travel from the old diggings in El Dorado county to the new placers at Stony Bar,- Horse-shoe Bar and Rester’s Bar. The doctor also built a corral near his house in which to drive horses when he desired to catch them for his own or his customers’ use, and took horses to ranch at the moderate sum of five dollars per week, cash; the owners to run all risks and hunt up their stock, themselves, when they desired to use them. The stand as a ranch and trading post was valuable, and perhaps could have been sold in the fall of ’49, or spring of ’50, for $10,000, or $15,000.
Although Todd’s ranch was much resorted to by miners from the river and gulches adjacent to it, for the purpose of purchasing their supplies, and obtaining their letters and papers upon each arrival from the ” city ” of the expressman, yet the town of Todd’s Valley did not commence to grow up until 1852, after the discovery of rich diggings in the “flat,” at the head of the little strew upon which the Doctor’s house was situated. The discovery of these mines drew the attention of miners and traders to the place and a town was laid off on the ridge, midway between, and at a convenient distance from the “flat ” and ” Poker Hill.” The mines were rich, and although Yankee Jim’s, the nearest town and rival of Todd’s Valley, was the place of the Divide, yet it flourished until eventually it became the most populous town of the two. In the early part of the fall of 1859, a fire broke out in the town which destroyed the whole of the business part of the place except the provision and grocery stores of A. A. Pond & Co., and Reed Benedict, which, being fire-proof, escaped damage by the conflagration. The property destroyed was estimated to be worth nearly two hundred thousand dollars. After the fire, the town was again re-built, and soon presented a better appearance than before the conflagration. There are now in the place twenty-five business houses of all kinds, among which are two hotels, three grocery and provision stores, several dry goods and clothing establishments, one banking office, one livery stable, three variety stores, two butcher shops, one brewery, etc., etc. Since the fire in 1859, the town has been gradually improving in appearance and increasing in population. There are in the place a Masonic Lodge, an Odd Fellows’ Lodge, and two Temperance orders, all of which are in a flourishing condition and constantly increasing in membership. The mining here is both tunneling and hydraulic mining, and both methods prove remunerative to those who own claims. Some of the richest mines upon the Forest Hill Divide are located near this place, and the trade of the miners is divided between the two towns. The Dardanelles tunnel and the Big Spring tunnel are situated about midway between Todd’s Valley and Forest Hill, and until the last two years Todd’s Valley commanded the whole of the trade of this vastly rich section.
The Independent Bedrock Claims, No. 1 and No. 2, situated at the foot of Parker Hill, are very rich hydraulic claims, and have paid their owners immense sums every year since they were opened. Some of the longest tunnels that pierce the main divide are run in here; one of them is now just completed and has been run through bedrock a distance of 1800 feet. It is intended to drain the large flat at the back part of the town, and will open by the next year a large extent of mining ground that is known to be rich, but could not be worked to advantage for want of sufficient fall for drainage, which this tunnel was run for the purpose of supplying.