Friday, February 21, 2014

Indi-Angie Jones...by Angie Terry

Indi-Angie Jones is the person in my minds eye that I love to escape too. If you have seen the Indiana Jones movies you know it is all about adventure and history, and a treasure hunter who loves history and is dedicated to preserving it and keeping treasure from the wrong hands.

I just returned from Sacramento, California after spending time with my sweetheart and his family. While I was there Scott told me about Folsom Lake. California has had historically low water levels and has revealed a California gold mining town called Mormon Island. It has been under water since the 1950’s .I immediately went in Indiangie Jones mode and had to go see this. Not only do I love seeing the past but also being a Mormon gave me double interest. In my mind, I put on my khaki clothing and Indi hat and had my whip in hand to go see what treasures we could find.

We drove to Folsom lake and the park ranger told us it was about a third of a mile, you can’t drive there you have to walk. I was so excited, the walk wasn’t bad but it was not a third of a mile and it was all down hill to the bottom of the lake. You couldn’t see anything for awhile but then you come around the bend and the lake bottom opens up in front of your eyes and old roads and the trees that lined them are evident.  Then you see foundations and walls that were left from the buildings that use to stand there. I started to sing the Indiana Jones Theme song in my mind as we took it all in that was offered us. I couldn’t help but think if those old stumps of the trees could talk what could they tell us, and what about those rock walls that lined a single lane road that horse and buggy once traveled. We did see a lot of broken pottery and old nails and to think I could touch a nail that someone else built his home or church or school with for their children many years ago. I was overwhelmed with excitement and as I walked those old roads I couldn’t help but think that my love for discovery and adventure came from my mother...oh how I wish I could have told her about this! I started to cry as I hummed that "Indi" theme and thought how much my mother would have enjoyed being there with me!



....Mormon Island, California.

Mormon Island was once a Mormon community, which had an abundance of Mormon immigrants, seeking fortune along the American river. Early in March 1848, W.Sidney.S. Willis, and Wilford Hudson, members of the Mormon Battalion, set out from Sutter’s Fort to hunt deer. Stopping on the south fork of the American river, they found GOLD! They told their story upon returning to the fort, and soon about 150 Mormons and other miners flocked to the site which was named "Mormon Island." This was the first major gold strike in California after James W. Marshall’s discovery at Coloma. The population of the town in 1853 was more than 2500 .It had four hotels, three dry-goods stores, five general merchandise stores, an express office, a winery, dairy, seven saloons, and a school and many small shops. A fire destroyed the town in 1856, and it was never rebuilt. The community dwindled after the California gold rush and only a few families were left in the 1940’s.

What was left of Mormon Island was eventually razed, as the Folsom Dam project was set to flood the town. Mormon Island is now registered a historical Landmark and the state will not let you take anything from the site. Those things you find when walking on the lake bottom are left on the top of old wells and the stumps of the trees that are visible now only because of the low water levels.  Mormon Island has relocated across the street from the Lake.  It is a thriving community today!

Now you know the history and I have been there myself.  I now have to go...dusting off my hat and readying my whip for my next adventure, as I ride off in the sunset on my horse with the famous theme playing in my head!