It turned out to be a town of 800 in a valley of 1500 at about 4500 feet elevation in the Tricorner Region of northeast California in the great Nevada Basin snuggled in the Warner Mountain Range of Modoc Country. There are four communites in the Surprise Valley - Eagleville, Cedarville, Lake City, and FT. Bidwell. The valley is about 15 miles wide and runs about 75 miles in length.
The first post office opened in 1869. The current name is from Cedarville, Ohio. Originally known as Deep Creek, Cedarville was founded in about 1864 as a stopping place for wagon trains. In 1867 a trading post was being run by William Cressler and John Bonner, who later also built the first road over Cedar Pass, connecting Surprise Valley to Alturas and the rest of Modoc County. The Laxague Lumber Company mill was located in Cedarville, and employed from 18 to 60 residents.
As branch county seat of Siskiyou County, nearby Lake City was the dominant population center of Surprise Valley until Modoc County formed in 1874. However, by 1880 Cedarville was the largest in the valley, with a population of around 220, and once Fort Bidwell, 20 miles (32 km) to the north was demilitarized, Cedarville's central location and access to Cedar Pass made it the natural population and business center of the valley. However, Cedarville has grown little in the following hundred years.
Let me share some pictures with you if I may. Don't forget to click on each photo to enlarge them!
The next two photos are of the old livery stable turned Cedarville Garage. They have a number of restored wagons, buggies, and carriages both outside and inside. At the right time when someone is around you can get a tour inside and see some real old west history. The garage is no longer in operation.
The brown building is Pages Market where I worked part time to supplement my pastoral income. I stocked the grocery shelves, bagged groceries and sometimes manned the check out lines. The Pages were great people and they still own the market.
This is the post office. Mail was Post Office Box only. Irene cleaned this a couple times a week for additonal grocery money!
This is where our mobile home used to sit. The church rented a three bed room double wide from the local butcher for us. It was quite adequate. If you look at the post in the center it is actually a post with the electric box attached to it. This was our view! We had two corrals located next to the house. We had 4 horses of our own and a couple we boarded for friends. Irene bought an actual Mustang off the range and she gentled it and broke it and we turned it into a great riding horse. I loved living there!
This use to be the slaughter house which was right next door to our mobile. On Tuesday's I would walk over to it about 6:00 AM and we would begin slaughtering and butchering cows, sheep, and pigs all day. That was hard work! It is now a junk yard with a single wide mobil behind it. Funny thing, Sharon and Stacy at 6 and 5 years of age would get up, get dressed and walk over and find a place to sit and watch us work and were never freaked out!
This picture is sad for at least two reasons. First, it was one of two and apparently the other did not turn out. To the left of the longer L shape portion of this duplex is another building. It is straight in design and served as our auditorium. This building served as classrooms and the end with the door and windows was my office. The second reason it is so sad is after I left the originial founding pastor returned. I don't know what happened we were in Reno, NV for a year and then Redding, CA for a year and a half. Sometime after he left the church buildings were sold and turned into duplexes. This is what was once the Surprise Valley Baptist Church of Cedarville.
This is the first building built in Cedarville. It was built in 1865 by Cressler and Bonner as their trading post and store. It was moved to this location to preserve it. It now sits in the town park.
This is the Cressler-Bonner building. They were the first two in the area, built the trading post and built the road which is now Cedar Pass connecting it with Alturas, CA. They were the movers and shakers in the valley.
Well, there you have it. You just saw Main Street in Cedarville. Yes, there are a couple more buildings that we didn't take a picture of. There was a novelty store, Living Water Fellowship, and a couple of empty buildings that I didn't think I needed a reminder of. But you saw downtown Cedarville. To the west and south a block are a dozen streets that make up housing of various sorts for the 800 or so residences. There is a small hospital, High School, and some Forest Service buildings we didn't take also. Our little journey down memory lane after 25 years of being gone. It has not changed a bit. Cedarville has remained the same. A piece of my heart will always be here. God was so good to let us spend a couple years there. Thanks for letting me use a blog to share with you some precious memories of mine.