Hanna’s Camp-South Fork Mill-Ditch Camp, California
Hanna’s Camp-Ditch Camp-South Fork Mill-California Water Company-Water Operated Saw Mill, 1876, South Fork of Rubicon River, Eldorado National Forest, El Dorado County, Ca
The details of the California Water Company and all their activities in this area are covered in great detail by Bowman, 1874; Gildersleeve, 1880 and finally summarized in Sioli’s history of El Dorado County in 1883.This company, originated and capitalized in San Francisco, was central to early development of resources in the Georgetown Divide area, building a Loon Lake log dam initially along with a ditch to connect Gerle Creek to Hanna’s Camp by 1874. This trial dam was followed by building the granite stone dam to replace the original nine foot high log dam at Loon Lake in 1881-1882 using Chinese labor which stood till removed in 1962 for the current earth filled dam built in 1963. The companies need to support their ditch and flume structures to bring the water from Loon Lake to Georgetown also necessitated their building the South Fork Mill,( between 1874 and 1880) a water powered saw mill at Hanna’s Camp, which still stands today. A review of the G. M. Wheeler Atlas 47B, D, E Calif, Nevada, 1876/79 shows “Sawmill” listed at Hanna’s Camp so the mill was built and in operation by 1876-1879.
“The upper mill (Hanna’s Camp South Fork Mill, Ditch Camp), near the terminus of Gurley Creek Canal, has a capacity for all present requirements of the company, and also brings a small revenue from sale of lumber to stockmen, for building in that section. The saw is an upright band-saw. A supply of sawed lumber is kept here for use of company to repair flumes below, which can be floated to desired points in the canals. The mill in this locality is a most desirable auxiliary to the company’s works. The location is in the midst of superior pine timber.” E.P. Hutchins, California Water and Mining Company Report, 1880)
Hanna’s Camp was later known as South Fork Mill or Ditch Camp…..wonderful Lint Brown photo Ditch Camp Early 20th Century
Georgetown Gazette report of June 19, 1890 “Theodore Schlein, while engaged in building a new flume for the California Water Company at South Fork on Wednesday 11 inst., the flume , not being securely braced, went down precipitating Mr. Schlein upon the rocks, severely injuring his hip and side. He was brought down Saturday for treatment. He is under the care of the Odd Fellows.”(Gernes; Deibert, 1999)
A report of shooting in the August 27, 1891 Georgetown Gazette………”A Shooting affair occurred at the South Fork sawmill, yesterday between R. Jerrett and Domengo Veril, resulting in Veril receiving a charge of shot in his shoulder and breast from a shotgun in the hands of Jerrett. Veril shot at Jerrett with a Winchester rifle. the wounded man brought to town last night and is being treated by Dr. Hickman.”(Gernes; Deibert, 1999)
South Fork Rubicon River Bridge Georgetown Wentworth Springs Road South Fork Mill, Ditch Camp, 1932
Hannas Camp could have been named for a Georgetown miner named Andrew Hanna, born in Scotland in 1844 and married to Martha Hanna, born in California in 1862and residents of Greenwood, in El Dorado County, or David Hanna of Grizzly Flats who also was a miner and originally born in Delaware in 1843.
Here are a series of photos I took of the South Fork Mill/Ditch Camp/Hanna’s Camp during the early 1990s before Carolyn and Denton Beam began restoring their mill. there pictures clearly show the original water powered mill, the original blacksmith’s shop, as well as the additional outbuildings built over the course of years.
This is a photo of the original blacksmith’s shop which was built at the same time as the original mill.