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About Alleghany

Alleghany is probably the only California community that has continuously had a gold-based economy since the gold rush.

 

People on Skiis Main Steet Alleghany ca. 1920's

The town evolved from the mining camps of Smith’s Flat (located at the Southern end of town where the County yard now is), Cumberland at the North end of town and Wet Ravine (West of town). In 1853 a group of miners from Allegheny Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh) named the town, spelling Alleghany with an “a” rather than an “e”. In it's early days the town was referred to as either "Alleghany", "Alleghanytown" or "Jericho".

 

In November of 1857 the post office was moved from Chips Flat across Kanaka Creek to Alleghany. At that time the name "Alleghany" was officially established.

 

As with most early California gold rush towns the population was very diverse. Individuals came from many places to seek their fortune here. Early population figures for the town are not available. Census records of the district and immediately surrounding communities range from 2,116 in 1860 to 1,183 by 1880 and 712 in 1900. In the 1930’s Alleghany had a population of roughly 500. In the 1970's the population was 125. Currently about 85 people reside in the town.

 

Underground Gold Miners Museum & Alleghany
Post Office

 

 

Buildings

 

The building which now houses the Museum was originally the town’s Livery Stable. After a major fire burned the downtown district in 1933 the Stable was converted to a General Store and Post Office. In 1995 after several store owners were unable to turn a profit, the museum took over the space previously occupied by the General Store. The post office continues to occupy the space it moved into in 1933.

 

Constructed by the Bovee family in 1870, the building which now houses Casey’s Place was a dry goods store for many years. David Casey bought the building in 1929 and established “Casey’s Place”. During Prohibition the street level was a store and a “speak easy” was in the basement. Currently Casey's Place is a bar and restaurant call in advance for days and hours: 530-287-9809. 

 

The Red Star Caf was originally a PG&E office, then it served as a residence. After fire again struck the Main Street businesses in 1989 it was converted to a restaurant. The Red Star is used for special occasions but is not open on a regular basis.

  

The Sixteen to One Mill 1948

 

The Historical Church (now used as a Library) was originally built in the town of Moore’s Flat in Nevada County, south of Alleghany in the late 1800’s. In the early 1900’s the town of Moore’s Flat was fading fast. Alleghany was growing. The Catholic Church decided to move the building to Alleghany. The Church was dismantled and hauled to Alleghany by ox-cart. In 1917 St. Michael's Church was dedicated. 

 

The Sixteen to One Office is located in what was originally built as a Community Hall and School Gym in the 1930’s. The ticket booth where movie tickets were sold can still be seen on the front of the building. Many weddings, holiday parties and basketball games once graced this building.

 

Climate

 

Alleghany is built on a South Facing slope of Kanaka Creek Canyon at an elevation of 4,500 feet. The four seasons are distinct: rain and snow in the winter, rain and flowers in the spring, heat all summer (cool nights) and crisp windy (on and off wet) fall weather. The locals say "It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here."

 

Special thanks to Historian Willard Fuller for providing the early census data for this article.

 

Rae Bell

Curator


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2017 Underground Gold Miners Museum
356 Main Street
Alleghany, CA 95910
Phone: 530-287-3330
E-mail: info@undergroundgold.com