Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pioneer Odd Fellows

Photo of the more appealing Snoeshoe Thompson Monument

Alpine County August 4, 2009

With this landmark we bid farewell to Alpine County and five of the six state landmarks within….gonna get to Ebbetts Pass (the 6th) someday down the line. In retrospect, Ebbetts Pass not being down the line is the reason it was pushed to the way-back of the station wagon. You see, most everything around here of historical significance deals with trying to get out of here one way or another, and puts us on the route of many names; Carson Pass, Route 88, 1862 toll road, Amador/Nevada Wagon Road, etc. Unlike its other two lane brethren that cross the Sierra, 88 stays open year round, except for extreme snowstorms, and is the alternate to US 50 when it closes due to avalanche or flood. From the time of the Pioneer Odd Fellows inscribing their names here in 1849 till 1869 when the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, this was the equivalent of Interstate 80.

On January 3, 1944 this site was designated California Historical Landmark #378 for the simple reason that some guys inscribed their names on a rock in the pass nearly 100 years prior. Bigger things have happened. It’s confusing, for it isn’t as if these were the first Odd Fellows to California, a lodge was already established.    

Who are the Odd Fellows? Well, an unofficial mission statement would go like this: ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows aims to provide a framework that promotes personal and social development. Lodge activities aim to improve and elevate every person to a higher, nobler plane; to extend sympathy and aid to those in need, making their burdens lighter, and to be a great moral power and influence for the good of humanity.’ The boys at E Clampus Vitus on the other hand, who likely put this landmark on the map, profess absolutely none of that.

Plaque inscription: NO. 378 MEMORIAL TO PIONEER ODD FELLOWS - On some large rocks near Carson Pass, a group of pioneers inscribed their names and the emblem of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1849.
Location:  On State Hwy 88 (P.M. 5.3), 14.4 mi W of Woodfords
GPS 38.692184,-119.986008

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