Altaville

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Washington Flat

The area known as Washington Flat, where gold was discovered in the auriferous gravels on Washington Flat in 1852, started a small rush of placer miners to the area. The source of the name “Washington” is unknown, but could have been named for the Washington Mining Company Claim, filed February 11, 1852 in Mining Claim Book A:258, which is missing from the County Archives. The name Washington Flat was given to the flat on the south side of the Murphys Grade Road, about two miles from Angels Camp, but used loosely over the years to encompass a fairly large area between the Altaville to Murphys Road, south by the Altaville to Vallecito Road (now a private road on the Rolleri Ranch), and the Angels to Vallecito Road, bounded on the east by the steep bluffs.

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Bret Harte Aquatics
A general overview of the location for the new Bret Harte High School Aquatic Center

The project area is located in Altaville, known originally as Forks of the Road, Cherokee Flat and Cherokee Diggings, which took its name at a town meeting in 1857. By the 1880s, Altaville, Spanish for “upper or higher town or village,” boasted a hotel, foundry, fairgrounds, livery stable, wagon making shop, blacksmith, dance hall, stores and saloons, as well as fine residences (Leonard 1985:6). In addition, several important quartz mines and mills coursed southerly down Main Street to Angels Camp, while the Catholic, Public, and Serbian Orthodox cemeteries were established on the Stockton Road. Altaville was annexed to Angels Camp in 1912 and now part of the City of Angels.

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