Lode Hotel in Angels Camp California Gold Country


Lode House Angels Camp
Home to many historic buildings and historic sites, Calaveras County is known for its rolling foothills in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, its gold diggings and mines during the California gold rush days, and growing tourism as travelers seek to connect with the past.

One such building that exemplifies the way things can disappear is the Lode Hotel in Angels Camp. Though the building holds a unique history filled with tales of intrigue, the building fell into disrepair, as you might very well do, having lived over 120 yearss! So it was with some alarm that we read a newspaper account that the City of Angels Camps wanted this building torn down, due to safety issues. We've read the same story time and again in historic cities throughout the U.S. If locals don't have the money to bankroll fixes and repairs of buildings on their land, the city will often permit a demolition.

In the case of Lode Hotel in Calaveras County's Angels Camp, city staff inspected the hotel and recommended a tear down of the building in December 2008. Building owner Tim Ashlock and his wife responded to queries about the building sitting vacant for seven year, and to questions about the report the city issued stating that the property known as Lode Hotel had significant structural deficiencies throughout the structure. These deficiencies included columns removed over the years, severe damage to load bearing elements around the perimeter of the structure, as well as significant water damage to portions of the exterior of the structure. In addition, it was evident that the structure had been modified over the years in a manner which was detrimental to the structure itself, according to the report.

Condemn it, the inspection recommended, claiming that the building wasn't just a danger, but a public nuisance. Tim Ashlock defended his actions or lack of action as a miscommunication and inability to work through the system. He said the city of Angels Camp buildings department went through staff changes that made the permit and information process challenging. In 2009, the building was being structurally shored up and old lumber replaced.

The reason we mention this building is in support of the theory that old structures and ways of life will give way to the new in 21st century Calaveras County. The owner, Ashlock, had said this his Lode Hotel building was of historical value--and the  Calaveras County Historical Society rep reported that records showed the former hotel once had a bar, a barbershop in its west corner,  boccie alley in the basement, a plumbing shop and ration office during World War II, a bookstore and an optometrist’s office.

What process helps balance the rights of the home or business owner with the safety and rights of a city to determine appropriate uses of a building? Whether the building is deemed to have historical value or not, it's cause of concern to watch how easily history can disappear before our eyes in a changing world.



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