A BRIEF HISTORY of
Alleghany, California

Beginning in early 1850, several mining settlements sprung up in the area which Alleghany now occupies. One of these settlements was Smith’s Flat which began in 1851. It was located at the southwest end of town where the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s substation is now situated. Another of these early settlements was Kanaka Flat which was located  about 2 miles southwest of Alleghany. Other settlements of importance were Wet Ravine which was 1 mile west of Alleghany, Kanaka City which was about 1.5 miles northeast of Alleghany, and Cumberland which was located at the northeast end of town and became contiguous with Alleghany.

In April, 1853 the Alleghany Company (named after the river in Pennsylvania) began a drift tunnel which they named the Alleghany Tunnel. At this time the town started to form and was called Jericho and Alleghanytown. The Alleghany Tunnel tapped into a pay streak in 1855. By spring of 1856, the town of Alleghany was laid out and in November, 1857 the post office was moved there from Chips Flat. Although the drift tunnel mines began to decline by 1862, the district continued to be one of the richest with the development of lode mines.

In September, 1863, a fire started in a stable and consumed the General Store of Wood and Co.

In November, 1889, a fire started in Bennett’s Hotel. The fire quickly spread along the upper road destroying 12 buildings in the process.

The winter of 1889-1890 brought 14 feet of snow to Alleghany in a single storm. The drifts were so deep that residents dug tunnels to get around town.

Between 1900 and 1909, mining activity diminished in the area.

In March, 1909, a defective stove-pipe started a fire in a building housing the school downstairs and the Masonic Order Lodge upstairs. Although the building was destroyed, the fire did not spread to other structures.

In 1913, a road was constructed between North Columbia and Alleghany which greatly improved access of supplies from Grass Valley / Nevada City. The following winter, this road remained open.

In May, 1933, a fire started in Green’s Hotel near the center of town. Like the fire of 1889, the fire quickly spread along the upper road consuming 12 buildings on both sides of the street between Green’s Hotel and the Plaza.

Once again in 1987, a fire began in the kitchen of the Golden Eagle. The fire destroyed buildings on both sides of the street.

At present the population of Alleghany is less than 100 and the only establishments open for business are the Post Office and Casey’s Place.