Explore Placer County's rich history

Two-day Heritage Tour visits 18 museums; chartered bus tours available
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Guests on the Heritage Trail tour will visit the Roseville Telephone Museum, where they can try out the 60-year-old telephone equipment — Strowger Step-by-Step Switch — that first allowed phone users to dial directly for a local call rather than having an operator place the call.

They will also stop by the Carnegie Museum to see working model trains and other railroad paraphernalia.

Placer County has a history rich in American Indian culture, the California Gold Rush and the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad through the high Sierra.

Instead of reading about the past, people have a chance to delve deeper into local history through the fourth annual Heritage Trail, which heads off Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7, to explore 18 museums from Roseville to North Lake Tahoe.

“Heritage Trail is an adventure that celebrates this region’s remarkable past and its role today,” said Placer County Museum Administrator Melanie Barton, in a press release. “It is an outstanding opportunity to bring local history to life for your family.”

Placer County Museums is offering two chartered bus tours for those who prefer not to drive the Heritage Trail. Tickets cost $10 per day. Admission is free to all the museums. The buses depart from and return to the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.

The Saturday tour, “Discover the Mountains,” will stop at the SkiSport Museum, Golden Drift Museum, Colfax Area Heritage Museum and Forest Hill Divide Museum.

The Sunday tour, “Explore the Valley,” stops at the Rocklin Historical Society Museum, Maidu Museum and Historic Site, Carnegie Museum, Roseville Telephone Museum and Griffith Quarry Park and Museum.

Artifacts in the museums tell stories of hardship, courage and triumph. At the Maidu Museum, visitors can participate in guided tours of the museum and nature trails at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to learn about the practices and beliefs of the Maidu people.

At the Placer County Museum in Auburn, visitors will see the dingy granite quarters where women spent cold nights in jail, and speak with Alma Bell, a historical figure who was incarcerated for killing her boyfriend 100 years ago.

Guests at the Western Ski Sport Museum at Boreal Ridge can see the wooden skis dating from 1853 when gold miners on 14-foot “longboards” raced at 80-miles-per hour down perilous slopes for sport, as well as photos and memorabilia from the 1960 Winter Games held in Squaw Valley.

~ Sena Christian


Heritage Trail bus tour
8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, and 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7. All museums open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
Where: Bus departs from and returns to Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St. in Auburn
Cost: $10 for bus ride each day, free museum admission
Info: To reserve your bus spot, call (530) 889-6500. Or explore the Heritage Trail via car. For more information or to download a trail guide, visit