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Valley Springs

Valley Springs

Valley Springs is 25 miles east of Stockton on highway 12. It is past Camanche Reservoir, Wallace and Burson and south of Pardee Reservoir and Campo Seco. Just to the South of Valley Springs is New Hogan Reservoir. La Contenta Golf Course is an up and coming golf course in valley springs. The recreation guide has detailed golfing, fishing and camping information on all of those areas.

In 2006 myMotherLode.com reported “New Hogan Dam Expected To Cause Flooding” but no homes were damaged, only farmland and orchards were in the effected area.

Valley Springs Peak is located one mile north-northwest of Valley Springs with an altitude of 1,211 feet. Valley Springs’ elevation is about 600 feet. Our Map of Valley Springs

History of Valley Springs

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the crossroads where the Stockton & Mokelumne Hill Road connected with the Chaparral Road would eventually come to be known as Valley Springs. At the time, all roads led to Stockton and its Central Pacific railhead–and nobody outside Stockton seemed happy about that. Farmers in Lodi complained about the high freight rates. Miners in Camanche and Campo Seco had no choice but to incur substantial costs to haul their products. James Sperry, proprietor of the hotel at the rapidly expanding world-renowned Big Trees in eastern Calaveras County, wanted to expand his tourist business by providing an easier trip for visitors than the stage lines that had been operating since the 1860s. The timber interests in that region also craved better access.

As the terminus of the railroad, Valley Springs became a major freight distribution center for the county. The town connected train passengers by stage lines, and goods by freight teams, to San Andreas, Mokelumne Hill, Big Trees and other points east. Directly by train, Valley Springs could be reached from San Francisco in seven-and-a-half hours, Sacramento in three hours and Stockton in two-and-a-half hours.

Eproson became the first postmaster of Valley Springs in 1872. Evidence proves that the name change occurred a dozen years before the arrival of the railroad. The reason for the switch appears to be that there was another Northern California post office already called Spring Valley, in Colusa County. Residents continued to refer to their region as Spring Valley and not the name of the post office.

The post office retained the Valley Springs name, when re-established in 1882 after being closed for 3 years, despite the fact that Colusa’s Spring Valley post office had been discontinued and the Calaveras County residents could have petitioned for a change to Spring Valley.

Not even the arrival of electricity into town in 1899 and the SP changing the narrow gauge line to standard gauge in 1904 had any significantly progressive effect. From 1910 to 1930, the population plummeted, down 37% in Jenny Lind Township and down 39% countywide, to the lowest levels since the Gold Rush.

Valley Springs could claim a population of only about 350 in 1923. For many decades thereafter it would be a one-store town as French’s became Pliler & Lillie, founded in 1918 by John Pliler and Joshua Lillie. Notably, the Lillies arrived in California from Canada in the late 1850s and opened a blacksmith shop that reportedly shod the stallion of notorious bandit Joaquin Murietta’s stallion. To learn more about the agriculture and water troubles in Valley Springs and a whole lot more visit the West Calaveras History’s website.

Valley Springs Zip Code: 95226

US Post Office –
200 West Highway 12
209-772-1560

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Valley Springs, CA 38.191586, -120.829103 Valley Springs, CA (Directions)