The Foresthill area is one of the earliest explored areas of the California Gold Rush, and in fact Foresthill became a town in 1850 due to mining in the area. Today, hundreds of mines, some still active, are found throughout the area. The archaeological record for human activity goes back thousands of years, and many prehistoric sites show evidence of Native American habitation long before whites settled in the area.
After the gold played out many Foresthill settlers turned to logging the tall trees that cover the Divide and a dozen lumber mills were established in and around Foresthill. The harvesting of timber, just like the gold, eventually became too costly to pursue and the mills were closed, causing many of the residents to seek employment off the hill in nearby Auburn and even Sacramento.
Foresthill, however, was not “down-and-out”. With the wonderful outdoor recreational opportunities of the Tahoe National Forest, beautiful lakes and snow covered mountains, and the improvement of Foresthill Road during the 1990’s by the Federal Government, people seem to have rediscovered the Foresthill Divide.
Foresthill Road - Scenic and Historical Guide
In 1996 longtime Foresthill resident Geri Grant put together a history of the Foresthill Road that gives some insight into the varied life and charecters that the Foresthill Divide has seen since the mid 1800's.
The Foresthill Divide Museum is located in Memorial Park, Foresthill, Ca. which lies on a peninsula of land lying between the North and Middle Forks of the American River.
The land mass between the rivers is known as the Foresthill Divide or Divide for short.
The museum offers many displays that give visitors a good idea of life on the Divide in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Exhibits include Gold Rush artifacts, a logging exhibit which includes a scale model of the lumber mill, educational displays on Native Americans, recreation and transportation as well as rotating exhibits and a computer
The museum is open from the middle of May through the middle of October on Saturdays, Sundays, and major holidays from noon to 4 PM. The museum is also open during most major community events at Memorial Park. Special tours can be arranged
Ol' Joe - Wells Fargo Stage Coach Horse Memorial
On the 110-year anniversary of Ol' Joe being shot by robbers on July 3, 1901, historian Dennis Clifford and resident Shante' Warlick were interviewed by NPR radio reporter Cindy Carpen for the series "Honey, Stop the Car!".
It was May 1902 when Lyman Gilmore Jr. flew his first airplane at Big Meadows California, nineteen months before the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk. The man who made that incredible flight easily rates the title of America's most neglected genius.Lyman also owned the Gilmore gold mine in Iowa Hill.
On February 4th, 1951 Layman had a heart attack, While in the hospital attendants cut off his long beard and hair. He was also very much upset when he discovered that they had burned the old long coat he always wore. Understandably so. There was $15,000 sewed in the lining.
Learn more about the rich history of Iowa Hill at this website.