Opinion - At the crossroads, the unique cross-roads of Placerville
Formed over 150 years ago at an acute bend in the road leading to the city of Placerville’s central business district, and located at the confluence of Cedar Ravine and Hangtown creeks, this is where, in 1849, California Gold Rush miners panned the first million dollars worth of gold at a small mining camp then known as Dry Diggings. Standing boldly in the middle of this crossroads, nearly 30 feet high and 10 feet wide, resembling a torch of ages, is the Druidic monument honoring PNGA (Past National Grand Arch) Frederick Sieg. In 1858, California Grove No. 1 of Druids was established in Placerville under the leadership of its founder Sieg.
Lacking the monotonous modernization you might find in most other cities, this unusual intersection pulls you in and captures your curiosity. This is a uniqueness not found just anywhere. Only a few yards to the west enters Clay Street, nearby is the Clay Street Bridge, the site of the historical Ivy House, another monument of stone commemorates the spot, and behind it, running along Hangtown Creek, you’ll find the only handicap-accessible access for a close-up view of the rocky bed of the waters, once so rich in precious metals.
For all its charm and complexity, this odd intersection of three historical roads actually works. Traffic studies will bear out that few serious collisions have occurred there, the traffic flow is normally light and it provides easy crossing for pedestrians, who on Saturday mornings in the summer visit the local farmer’s market and gather at the surrounding cafes.
All-in-all, this is a quiet, peaceful area, so rich in history, community and diversity.
STANLEY W. MORRIS