Welcome to the Journal of Sierra Nevada History & Biography
Daniel DeFoe, Executive Editor
Building the Sierra
You begin with rock, scratch out a rut that becomes a road, then you carry the rock to build a surface over the road to form a transportation route and cross it with iron rails—and what do you have? Infrastructure: those lines and dots on maps that show us places and provide access to things we might not otherwise see.
This season’s installment of Snowy Range Reflections: A Journal of Sierra Nevada History and Biography is devoted to the highways and byways, buildings and bridges that connect all of us who live in the shadow of the “Range of Light.”
This issue includes the tale of a definitive survey—that wasn’t. The Von Schmidt Survey of 1872 was to accurately define the California-Nevada border until the project ran out of money and Allexey Von Schmidt walked away, leaving a borderline that was wrong by several miles.
Our journal also features some short, but fascinating, histories of the famous trails that connected California to the East before the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. These trails were the primary means by which thousands of eager goldseekers reached our region during the Gold Rush.
This edition also offers a video profile of Theodore Judah, the transportation visionary, who conceived and surveyed the route of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Covered bridges are a lovely sight and here we’ve included descriptions of rustic and picturesque examples found in Bridgeport and Knights Ferry in the Sierra Nevada and foothills.
Gold Granite and Grit: A Quarry, A Town and the Building of California is a video story about Rocklin-area quarries and their contributions to the construction of California landmarks and infrastructure. Historic photos of the Rocklin granite industry accompany the tale.
And, in another photo gallery, you will find historic photographs of the dramatic building of Interstate 80 through the foothills and Sierra. The photos were taken between 1957 and 1963.
So travel down our road awhile and see what we’ve built along the way.
Welcome to the Fall 2009 edition of Snowy Range Reflections: A Journal of Sierra Nevada History and Biography.
Professor of History, Sierra College