Murphys Main Street - April 27-30, 2000
(Posted May 19, 2000, © Herbert E. Lindberg)

Val and I didn't spend much time on Main street because we saw most of what is of interest to us during our 1999 Trip to Murphys and Calaveras Big Trees State Park . It was a different story for Mary and Sandy -- they spent two mornings shopping up and down Main Street and had just as good a time this year as last. For me, there were several things that I saw in more detail this trip that I thought were worth recording, beginning with Murphys Hotel. Its lobby is essentially a museum of the town of Murphys and well worth visiting.

Murphys Hotel

As Val and I were on our biking tour of the outlying streets of Murphys we came upon a horse and carriage driven by a bearded old man. Being on my bike, I followed him into town to get a picture. By then he was stopped but the shot below is still interesting. While not the flashiest examples of the breed, the carriage was drawn by two Clydesdales.

Carriage ready for hotel guests

Meanwhile, Mary and Sandy were more interested in visiting shops like the ones below.

Typical shops on main street

Just south of Main Street (about two hundred yard's walk from the stores above) is a nice little park that the town's people are refurbishing. A new children's play yard was completed since last year's visit. The river through the park, seen below, is a favorite fishing spot for locals.

Bridge at park off Main Street

Also not far from the shops is the house where Albert Michelson was raised. This is impressive to me, of course, because Michelson is a famous American Physicist familiar through college physics courses. The monument and plaque below sit next to the gate to the home. His most famous contributions are summarized on the plaque, which I've enlarged a bit compared with the bust so you can read it more easily.

Plaque near gate to Michelson's childhood home

One sight we missed altogether last year is the E Clampus Vitus Wall of Comparative Ovations, put in place by local "Clampers." This wall is at the west end of downtown Main Street, but you must make a special effort to see it because it's around the corner of the last commercial building.
E Clampus Vitus Wall of Comparative Ovations
E Clampus Vitus history plaque

As you can read on the plaque above, the organization was formed to poke fun at fraternal societies popular at the time of the gold rush. Their mission was to give aid and assistance to widows and children, mostly the widows! Gold Country residents have resurrected the organization, to have fun and do some good as well. Their tongue-in-cheek approach to service is exemplified in the plaque above by the three cartoons on the right: They came by land, They came by sea, and finally, They came by air, in which a member rides a winged donkey while drinking from a whiskey bottle.

The entire Wall of Comparative Ovations, extending well beyond the portion shown, was filled with interesting plaques of famous, and not so famous, people who had some connection with the gold rush era or the Clampers. Mary and I spend an enjoyable half hour looking at the pictures and reading the plaques. Only two seemed worthy of photographs for this page: Chief Truckee and Emma Nevada, because their names are still alive in the California Gold Country.

Chief Truckee

Emma Nevada

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