A cluster of cool, clear springs surrounded by oaks and sugar pines
made this spot a natural stopping point for emigrants traveling along
the Carson Emigrant Trail. One such traveler was David B. Scott, who
left Monroe, Michigan in 1849 to cross the plains and come to
California. He was so impressed with this area that when his party
disbanded in Sutterville, he returned here with a group of men in 1850
and erected a shingle machine near the springs, from whence the town
took its name. Operated by horse power, the shingle machine produced
sixteen thousand shingles a day, worth between $800 and $900 delivered
Mining began in the area in 1850 and met with varying degrees of
success. The canyons and gulches surrounding the camp were fickle, some
hardly worth working, while some were extremely rich. Grizzly Gulch was
reported to be one of the richest spots in the county, paying at one
time up to $200 per rocker per day. Slowly, the camp grew, and miners’
cabins stretched out along the gullies and creeks.
Several of the earliest buildings in Shingle Springs were put up as
stopping places for travelers; the Shingle Spring House built by one of
the Bartlett brothers in 1850; the Missouri House built in 1851; the
Planters House erected by R.S. Wakefield in 1852.
The post office came to town in 1853, four years before the general
store. Up until 1856, the settlers and miners had to travel to nearby
Buckeye Flat for supplies, as no store was located in Shingle Springs.
The first store in town finally opened in 1857. Located near the
Planters House, the store was an instant success, thanks to the
patronage of the local miners.
Shingle Springs is located five miles west of El Dorado via Mother
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