Most folks think cemeteries are for dead people.
On Saturday July 22, 2023 the Diamond Springs / El Dorado Community Coalition spent a busy morning at the Diamond Springs Cemetery clearing 2-3 foot tall star thistle and many types of grasses and downed branches away from gravestones dating back to the 1800s. The cemetery is on the corner of China Garden, George’s Alley and what is now known as Hwy 49, but also known as Pleasant Valley Road or Main Street.
Many former residents of the area are now resting on this little knoll. The view and accessibility to historic Diamond Springs must have had a lot to do with this chosen spot. Right across the Pony Express Trail route down Main Street sits the once regal brick Carpenter house with its arched window frames and carriage house and acres and acres of agricultural soils planted in walnuts and grapes spreading south toward the Tullis Mine situated on a ridge overlooking the North Fork of the Cosumnes and Tombstone Mountain.
Looking east from this gentle rise one could see all the way through the town site of rock and cobblestone buildings which replaced those burned out wooden structures built of lumber brought in on the rail line from places like Caldor. Raised sidewalks lined Main Street keeping its residents dry and away from the waters of the seven springs from which the town gleaned its name. To the north of the hillside of quietude a three mile tramway carried limestone from Cedar Ravine across the ridge top to the lime kilns now defunct and buried in modern endeavors.
To the west across George’s Alley still sits a stone structure without a name. It exudes history but tells no tales of purpose or reason.
The stories, adventures of joy and sadness and hard travels are hinted at by the dates now visible on the gravestones. Long lives and short – some very short – and some very long are told here, often along with the country of birth of the pioneer decedents. The financially successful and those not so, inhabit the confines of this peaceful old space.
In hopes of preserving and maintaining the stories exhibited in this corner of a truly important historic California town, the Diamond Springs/El Dorado Community Coalition is anticipating quite an exciting relationship with the past residents now resting on this hill, hoping to discover more adventures of times gone by.
On day one a fire crew team came in and did some heavy trimming and chipping. On day two, members of the Diamond Springs / El Dorado Coalition continued the work by weed whacking and cleaning the historic plots.
Check out the before and after pictures below to see the progress the entire team made in two days.