Touring Placer Valley's Golden Past 

      Rich in history from California's Gold Rush and beyond, Placer Valley honors its heritage in numerous ways that visitors can access and appreciate. 

      Placer County, established in 1851, was named for the Spanish word, placer, meaning sand or gravel containing gold.  The southern portion of the county, today's Placer Valley, developed apace with the railroad.  In towns where rock quarries, mines and sprawling ranches once stood are today's cities and communities of Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Loomis, Newcastle, Penryn and Granite Bay.    

Meet the Maidu

      Among Placer Valleys earliest inhabitants were Maidu Indians.  Celebrating the life of Maidu Indians, the Maidu Interpretive Center and Historic Site is located in Roseville. The Center presents opportunities for children and their families to learn about Native American culture. Graced by oak trees, the Center's nature area offers a loop trail that takes

visitors past ancient petroglyphs (rock art) and hundreds of bedrock mortars (acorn grinding holes), evidence of Nisenan (southern Maidu) occupation of the site for thousands of years. The Maidu Interpretive Center and Historic Site offers guided museum tours, gift shop, changing exhibits, summer campfires, and programs tailored for individuals and groups to learn more of the wisdom of an ancient culture.  


      Agriculture is, and always has been, a vital part of Placer Valley.  Climate and terrain certainly have a definitive role in that, but railroads get some of the credit, too.  The farms and orchards of Newcastle, Loomis and Penryn were known to be among the finest fruit producers in California.  Thanks to shipping provided by the railroad, these towns transformed into major fruit producers' a trend that lasted through the 1990s. The plentiful yield from acres of fruit orchards and strawberry fields created the need for fruit packing and drying houses. Other businesses began as the towns grew. General stores, butcher shops, saloons, hotels, and churches lined each city'�s main streets. Travelers will find the town centers of Newcastle and Loomis remarkably vital, as they have for more than a century.

      The Loomis Eggplant Festival is a great way for visitors to celebrate the heritage of the local farming community.  Placer Valley doesn't grow commercial quantities of eggplant; it was just that all the other vegetables and fruits were taken by other organizations when it came time to give the festival a name. Through the years the eggplant has become so popular that the eggplant dishes prepared by the festival food vendors sell out early.  The Eggplant Festival is held in early autumn at downtown Loomis� Station Plaza.

      Harvest season visitors to Placer Valley also have the opportunity to visit working farms and ranches, eat farm-fresh food and see agriculture in action during the Placer Farm & Barn Tour in October.  Art, music and family fun are also on the agenda.   

Historic Highway 40

      The main route through the California Sierra in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, Highway 40 at one point crossed a continent. It went through Baltimore, St. Louis, Kansas City and Salt

Lake, passed corn fields and coal mines, climbed mountains and spanned deserts.  It also neatly bisects Placer Valley, stretching from Roseville through Rocklin, Loomis, Penryn, and Newcastle.  Just off Hwy. 40 as it cuts through Roseville's historic downtown The Heart of Roseville  is the Roseville Telephone Museum, one of the foremost collections of antique telephones and memorabilia in the nation.  

      Gold, granite and clay are all inextricably linked to the history of Placer Valley.  The Griffith Quarry Museum was the office of the Penryn Granite Works established in 1864 by a Welsh immigrant, David Griffith. The surrounding 23-acre park contains ruins of the first polishing mill built in California and some of the quarry holes from which the unique Penryn granite was taken. Granite from Griffith Quarry was a major supplier to the California State Capitol building in Sacramento. This site is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the California Landmark Program.

      Lincoln�s Gladding, McBean is one of the largest manufacturers of clay products in the United States.  Specializing in architectural terra cotta, Gladding, McBean products adorn some of the America's most famous buildings and ship to points all over the world. The annual Feats of Clay event, a national juried ceramics exhibit, is held at the factory during spring. Visitors are invited to join escorted tours of the factory on Wednesday through Sunday mornings during the festival run.   

About Placer Valley

      Placer Valley is home to the dynamic cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, and the neighboring communities of Granite Bay, Loomis, Newcastle, and Penryn. Part of the fastest growing county in California, Placer Valley�s shopping, lodging, restaurants, and nightlife transcend the destination�s rural character.  The region�s Sierra Nevada foothills and canyons create recreational abundance: championship golf, orchards and farms, scenic backroads, historic legacy, team sports venues, and more. 

FANCY CALIFORNIA FRUITS, Penryn Fruit Co., copyright 1912, Wholesale Shippers, Placer County, Penryn, California; Lots of gilt and a deep blue background accents cherries, strawberries, grapes, a pear, a plum, an apricot and a nectarine. We have framed it in copper and glass and it is ready to decorate your kitchen. It measures approx. 4 1/2 x 13 inches.

In a Novel by Lawrence Sanders about the 1920's Hollywood Movie Industry, entitled "The Dream Lover", a wealthy banker from back East complains about California saying: "Last night at my hotel I met a man who claimed to be a rancher. He looked like a rancher; boots with high heels, leather clothes, sombrero. I asked him how many cattle he had. He said he didn't raise cattle; he owned a PEAR ranch!"


The Placer Buddhist Church (PBC) is a temple of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism, affiliated with the Buddhist Churches of America.

Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento, California, PBC was founded in 1902 and currently has nearly 300 members.

The resident minister is Reverend Tesshi Aoyama. Rev. Aoyama also is the supervising minister to the Marysville Buddhist Church and the Reno Howakai.

In 2002, PBC celebrated its 100th anniversary with a special Centennial Book that chronicles the history of the church and includes historic and recent photos of the Sangha (congregation).

The book also commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Placer Buddhist Women's Association.

A few copies of the book are still available -- for more information, please contact the church by e-mail.

Daily demos
Clay sculpture
Brush making
Clay mono-printing
Furniture building
Firing in "Big Mamma"
High/low salt firings
Evening slide presentations

Send Check to:
1394 Orange Hill Lane
Penryn, CA 95663
[email protected]

Stoked on Woodstoke
As one walks into Kaneko Gallery, a clay vase on display immediately catches the eye. Laid on its side in the kiln, ash came to rest on the side of the piece and drizzled down like wax off a candle, while the bottom of the piece is red-orange from the flames below.

Most of the pieces in the gallery have this look because of the way wood firing works. These pieces come from “Woodstoke: The essence of fire,” an annual clay workshop held in Penryn, Ca., and a current exhibit at ARC's Kaneko Gallery. Artists on display include Rodney Mott, who sculpted the vase, ARC art instructor Linda Gelfman, and students from American River College who participated. Approximately 30 pieces are on display.

Every year in Penryn, art instructor Rodney Mott holds a clay workshop for sculpture enthusiasts. This event lasts one full week, and features famous artists to help, such as Rudy Autio, John Balistreri, Paul Soldner and Peter Voulkos. Everyone who attends the workshop becomes like family, says Gelfman, who organized the exhibit.

The process is not necessarily a difficult one, but it is long. The wood kiln used has been nicknamed “Big Mama” for her size and stature. She can hold more than 1,500 pieces of art at a time. It takes two days to load everything up and then four to five days to fire the kiln. The fire must be checked every five to 15 minutes to make sure it hasn’t gone out. “When you open the kiln, it’s like Christmas for everyone, there are all these new and transformed pieces for everyone to see,” says Gelfman.

All of the pieces, because of the method of firing, have an ash glaze that sets in them while they are in the kiln. It’s easy to tell which way the flames were hitting the pieces by the patterns made on them, according to Gelfman. The Woodstoke show is running Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Nov. 12at the Kaneko Gallery, room 503 featuring all artists above, and others.

For more information on Woodstoke, contact Erin Jackson at [email protected] or Rodney Mott at (916) 663-2815.

 Placer County's climate, geography and historical richness contribute to its high quality of life. The geography of the county encompasses the grasslands of the Gold Country, the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range, and numerous rivers, lakes, state, national parks, and ski resorts. The solitude of country living and the magnificent mountains provides a perfect retreat from urban life. For those who desire a respite from urban life, Placer County offers hiking, biking, camping, snow skiing, snow boarding, horseback riding, fishing, water sports, ice-skating, and hunting. For the more cosmopolitan resident, Placer County also offers superb shopping, education, and cultural opportunities. This section discusses climate, ground stability, sports and recreation, community activities, local services, culture and entertainment, and health services. Climate Moderate, dry days and cool nights characterize the summer months in Placer County. The temperature during the summer varies between the Valley and High Country areas. Typically, the Valley reaches higher temperatures, while mountain temperatures are lower. The rainy season in Placer County occurs between November and April, but excessive rainfall and damaging windstorms are rare. The Sierra Nevada snowfields are a major source of water during the dry summer months. Figure 14 shows average temperatures and precipitation for the selected areas in Placer County. FIGURE 14TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION IN PLACER COUNTY PERIOD OF RECORD 1914-2004AverageAnnualAreaAverageMaximumMinimumPrecipitationAuburn60.372.348.234.4Colfax58.871.146.447.7Tahoe City43.456.130.631.7Blue Canyon50.758.542.866.9Temperature (Degrees Fahrenheit) Sacramento Regional Research Institute, December 2004 Data Source: Western Region Climate CenterNote: The period of record covers 1914 through June 2004.

  Ground stability is an important factor in the relocation of firms such as Hewlett-Packard, NEC and Oracle Corporation, because a high degree of precision is necessary for computer development and manufacturing. These companies considered Placer County highly desirable because of its lower potential for earthquake damage. Figure 15 shows the probability of an earthquake in all areas of the state. As illustrated, Placer County is within one of the lowest earthquake probability areas of the state.


Additionally, the County suffered no significant earthquake damage between 1800 and 1984.


Placer County offers a wide variety of sports, recreational and leisure activities to satisfy the diverse tastes and interests of its numerous residents and visitors. The expansive range of the County’s elevation and landscape characteristics provides ample opportunity for sports, recreational and leisure activities for every season and every region within the county. This explains the continuing and growing popularity of Placer County among residents and tourists seeking active leisure. While outdoors enthusiasts have a great opportunity to experience the abundance of year-round recreational activities, others can enjoy entertainment at numerous musical and festival events as well as local galleries and theatres. At the same time, shoppers are offered a large selection of boutiques, specialty shops and farmer’s markets as well as extensive wine tasting venues. The variety of restaurant choices caters to diverse tastes and preferences ranging from fine cuisine to family style dining, while the multitude of lodging and accommodations options variesfrom luxurious to quaint and romantic. The California Welcome Center, Auburn offersvisitors a wealth of information about the history, culture, and recreation, National Forests, State parks, visitor attractions and amenities that define the diversity of Placer County. The following sections describe the broad variety of leisure, sports and recreational choices offered in Placer County. The Valley Rich agricultural lands, recreational amenities, and cultural activities characterize the Valley area of Placer County. Folsom Lake and recreation area, one of the largest inCalifornia, offers opportunities for activities such as boating, water skiing, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, and camping.The Gold Country Well-stocked lakes with tree-lined shores characterize the world-famous Gold Country. The search for gold brought many young men and women to the hills of Placer County.Hiking along old wagon trails through the Tahoe National Forest is a hike through the area's history. Off the beaten path, adventure seekers can experience gold panning, nature photography, or river rafting. Fans of water activities will find a large number of opportunities for fun and adventure. Numerous commercial companies offer canoeing, kayaking, and rafting trips for different skill levels along the picturesque routes on the American River. The High Country Those seeking adventure or rest and relaxation can enjoy the splendor of the High Country. Abundant opportunities for hiking, camping, mountain bicycling, and
Page 5
QUALITY OF LIFE 19SSaaccrraammeennttoo RReeggiioonnaall RReesseeaarrcchh IInnssttiittuutteehorseback riding are available during the summer and fall seasons. Snowmobiling, ice-skating, downhill and cross-country skiing, and sledding are popular in the winter andspring. Figures16, 17, and 18 contain a listing of the recreational opportunities, including the amenities of ski resorts located in Placer County. The figure contains information on summer and winter activities, as well as enhancements such as childcare, ski schools, shops, and accommodations. The Squaw Valley Ski Corporation and Intrawest, a Canadian real estate developmentcompany, began the construction of a pedestrian village at the base of Squaw Valley USA in June 2000. The four phase master plan initially scheduled to be completed between 2006 and 2007 includes approximately 600 mountain homes and more than 80 boutique shops, restaurants and galleries. Completed in 2001, the first phase called FirstAscent features 139 luxury one-, two-, and three- bedroom resort condominiums. Phase II, 22 Station, completed in 2003, comprises 147 resort condominiums as well as fivenew restaurants and 17 new shops. The 2004-2005 season will feature a new conference center able to host events with over 200 people. Sugar Bowl recently completed a $24 million overhaul, including a new lift, day lodge, and a parking lot that reopened in 2001. In 2004 the Northstar ski resort started the construction of a new Tahoe-style village aimed at revitalizing the resort through adding numerous new shops, restaurants, fitness facilities, a skating rink, and new parking facilities.


 The number of newly founded golf courses reflects the popularity of the sport among Placer natives and visitors. There are over twenty beautiful golf courses ranging from short, par-three to world-class courses. The major public and private golf courses in Placer County’s Valley Area include: Auburn Valley Country Club, Auburn Black Oak Golf Course, Auburn Catta Verdera Country Club, Lincoln Diamond Oaks Golf Course, Roseville Granite Bay Golf Club, Granite Bay Indian Creek Country Club, LoomisLahontan Golf Club, Truckee Mc Ginty’s Golf West, Roseville Morgan Creek Golf and Country Club, Roseville Northstar Golf and Country Club, Truckee Old Brockway Golf Course, Kings Beach Raspberry Hill Public Golf Course, Auburn Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley Rolling Greens Golf Course, Granite Bay Sierra Pines Golf Course, Roseville Sierra View County Club, Roseville Sun City Lincoln Hills Golf Course, Lincoln Sun City Roseville Golf Course, Roseville Sunset Whitney Golf and Country Club, Rocklin Tahoe City Golf Course, Tahoe City The Ridge Golf Course, Auburn Turkey Creek Golf Club, Lincoln Whitney Oaks Golf Club, Rocklin Winchester Country Club, Auburn Wood Creek Golf Club, Roseville Camping Placer County provides many opportunities for activities outdoors, including hiking, nature photography and camping. Approximately half of Placer County’s territory belongs to the California State Department of Parks and Recreation and the United States Forest Service, which explains a large number of campgrounds available to tourists throughout the county. Placer is known for providing many picturesque camping locations with access to numerous other recreational activities like fishing, boating, hiking, horse back riding and other opportunities to discover and enjoy the county’s beautiful nature.


Casinos The United Auburn Indian Community opened Thunder Valley Casino in June 2003. The Las Vegas style casino has 2,700 slot machines and 100 gaming tables, and offers activities such as blackjack, video poker, and bingo as well as a choice of restaurants including Austin’s Steakhouse, Thunder CafĂ©, Shanghai Fat’s, Gordito Burrito, Fatburger, Panda Express, Villa Pizza, and Feast Around the World. Placer County is also in close proximity to a multitude of casinos located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

  Community activities and events in Placer County are scheduled year-round. In January, the County begins the year's activities with the Gem Faire in Roseville, the Snowboard Races at Northstar-at-Tahoe, and the Sled Dog Races to Foresthill. February brings the Model Train Show to Roseville and Auburn hosts the Chinese New Year Parade and the Foothill Quilters Guild Show. Snowfest, one of the biggest events of the year, is held at North Lake Tahoe in February and March. Also in March, a St. Patrick's Day Celebration is held in Auburn, and the Tahoe International Film Festival in Squaw Valley USA. Spring ushers in a variety of events. In the past, Lincoln has hosted the LPGA Golf Classic and the Longs Drugs Challenge at the former Twelve Bridges Golf Club (Catta Verdera Country Club presently) as well as Sun City Lincoln Hills Golf and Country Club. In 2004, the 10th annual Longs Drugs Challenge was held in October at The Ridge Golf Club. Also in April, Auburn is the site of a Wild West Stampede and a Kids Fishing Derby. The month of April is also the time for the American River Equestrian Endurance Ride, held at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area and the Rocklin Preview and Business Fair, held at the Rocklin Community Center. Placer County's Earth Day celebration is held at Maidu Park in the City of Roseville, and the Placer County Strawberry Festival is held at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville. During May, Auburn hosts Gold Rush Days, the Antiques and Collectibles Street Fair and the Home and Garden Show. Colfax hosts the Spring Festival and Record Run. Also during this month, the popular national Feats of Clay exhibition is held at the GladdingMcBean Pottery Company in Lincoln. June brings about a continuing series of events, beginning with Pioneer Days, held in Meadow Vista. The Bass Fishing Tournament is held at Folsom Lake and Recreation Area. Auburn hosts the Auburn Art Walk; and Roseville hosts the Summerfest, Microbrew Tasting event. The All American Speedway at the Placer County Fairgrounds is open for racing all summer. Additionally, during the month of June, the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run is routed through Squaw Valley, Foresthill, and Auburn. Other summer activities include Fourth of July Celebrations held throughout Placer County. Locations for these celebrations include the Placer County Fair Grounds in Roseville, Foresthill, McBean Park, and downtown Lincoln and Colfax. Rocklin hosts the Jubilee, and the Placer County Fairgrounds is also the site of the Placer County Fair. The Truckee Air Show is held at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport during July. The Tevis Cup 100 Mile Horse Race, a grueling course that stretches between Tahoe and Auburn is run during this month. August showcases many events, including the Lake Tahoe Music Festival and the Concours d' Elegance Boat Show at North Lake Tahoe, the Pinecone Festival in Meadow Vista, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and summer music series in Auburn, Roseville, and Lincoln.

Harvest festivals are the major events of the fall. During September, Auburn hosts two events, the Gold Country Fair and the Black and White Ball. Colfax hosts the Founders Day Celebration, Loomis is home of the Eggplant Festival, and Penryn is host to the Placer Buddhist Festival and Food Bazaar and the largest bonsai show in northern California the third weekend in September. During October, North Lake Tahoe and Lincoln host Oktoberfests and Rocklin hosts the Placer Farm and Barn Festival featuring Agro Art Events. An Air Faire Fly In and an Antiques and Collectibles Street Fair are held in Auburn during this month, as is the Del Oro Band Spectacular in Loomis. Rocklin ends the month with a Haunted Theatre. November is the time of year when some of the most festive celebrations are held in Placer County. North Lake Tahoe hosts the Autumn Food and Wine Jubilee. Other events include an Autumn Art Studio Tours, an International Rail Fair in Roseville, a Mountain Mandarin Festival in Auburn, and a Santa's Sing-A-Long in Rocklin. The month's activities conclude with a Christmas Craft Fair in Auburn. Holiday tree lighting events and parades are held in Lincoln, Roseville, and Auburn. December rounds out the year's activities and celebrations associated with the holiday season. North Lake Tahoe hosts the Alpenlight Festival, the Christmas Eve TorchlightParade, and the New Year's Eve Fireworks Festivities. During this month, Auburn hosts the Festival of Lights Parade and the Old Town Country Christmas. A Christmas Craft Fair is held in Loomis while Colfax hosts the Colfax Hometown Holiday and Light Parade. Culture and Entertainment The history and culture of Placer County comes alive in its many museums and theaters.The Placer County Museum, located inside the historic Placer County Courthouse, givesan overview of the history of Placer County life. Native American habitat, a holographic image of an early miner and a video presentation of the history of the transcontinental railroad are a few of the highlights of the museum. One of the oldest wooden structures in Placer County is the Bernhard Residence, built in 1851 as the Traveler's Rest Hotel. The Bernhard Museum Complex depicts the typical life of a 19thcentury farm family. The Griffith Quarry Museum, originally the Office of the Penryn Granite Works, houses exhibits on the Griffith family, the granite industry, and the Penryn-Loomis Basin region. Exhibits on geology, prehistory, the Gold Rush, transportation, early business, recreation, and early firefighting are on display at the Foresthill Divide Museum. Exhibits exploring Placer County's rich heritage include the boom days of hydraulic mining, the rise of the county's timber industry, and the birth of the transcontinental railroad. The growth of the region can be experienced at the Golden Drift Museum in Dutch Flat. 

The region’s other numerous historical sites and museums include: Pioneer Express Trail, Folsom First Transcontinental Railroad, Roseville, Rocklin, Newcastle, Auburn, and Colfax Roseville Telephone Company Museum, Roseville Maidu Interpretive Center, Roseville Carnegie Library and Museum, Roseville Town of Dutch Flat Town of Foresthill Virginia Town Iowa Hill Town of Michigan Bluff Town of Gold Run Overland Emigrant Trail, Wolf Creek Bridge Gold Country Museum, Auburn Joss House Museum and Chinese History Center, Auburn Gatekeepers Cabin Museum, Tahoe City Watson Cabin Museum, Tahoe City Placer County’s major theatres and art galleries include: The Art Council of Placer County The Roseville Art Center The Magic Circle Repertory Theater Dewitt Theater—Music and More Old Coloma Theater Community Asian Theater of the Sierra The Arts Building Gallery Colfax Fine Art Rainbow Gallery Gold Rush Gallery Number 1

Time to Work Placer County residents benefit from convenient and relatively short commutes from home to work. Figure 23 compares the commute time for Placer County residents and residents of the Greater Sacramento Area and California. On average, the majority of Placer residents spend between 5 and 25 minutes commuting to work, while in the Greater Sacramento Area and California commute times are typically 10 to 15 minutes longer.