History of Feeling Groovy at Eagle Creek Ranch
Northern California Historic Mountain Ranch Resort
Feeling Groovy at Eagle Creek Ranch is one of the oldest agricultural tracts of land in Trinity County. It is located at the northern end of the Trinity River Valley, near Coffee Creek, California. Indeed, the river does run right through the ranch. The oldest records show that the ranch was sold by J. C. Akers to Allan Davis in November of 1866 for $500. At that time the ranch was know as the Iowa Ranch. Allen, originally from Missouri, and his wife, Nancy, originally from Tennessee, along with their 3 children owned and farmed the ranch until 1878 when they sold to John Roe Stoddard in of July 1878 for the sum of $2500 in gold. The Davis family left their mark in the naming of Davis Creek which flows through the ranch and the Davis pasture.
The ranch was now known as the Stoddard Ranch. The Stoddards were a major influence and are remembered for the Stoddard Trail and Stoddard Lake. The historic trail begins directly behind the old log house and can still be seen following the blaze marks on the giant trees. The Stoddard family took their cows from the ranch in the spring to their summer grazing at Stoddard Lake via this old trail. Today, the trailhead begins some six miles away and is a beautiful 3.5 mile hike to one of the jewels of the Trinity Alps, Stoddard Lake. Along the way, you will pass the site of their cowboy cabin where they watched over their herd. The Stoddards are buried on the ranch in the old Stoddard Family Cemetery. You will find graves of 4 of their children along with others. Two of their children died in a diphtheria epidemic, one from scarlet fever and the fourth, a young girl of 22, from a tragic suicide. All in all, there are some eleven graves in the cemetery.
When you visit the ranch you are standing on the old Oregon-California trail. One of the oldest buildings still standing in Trinity County is the old wagon shed at the ranch. The wagons were stored in this shed and the drivers slept upstairs. One of the dates written on a wall upstairs is “1861”.
The original ranch house still stands and is available for our guests. This is a unique structure in that it is built of logs that are locked together in such a way that you either have to start at the top or the bottom in order to get a log out. Legend has it that the house was originally built as a grainary. About the time they were half done, the old house burnt. So, they went ahead and finished the house and added a second story to it as a residence. Today, there is an inside stairway, but in the old days you had to go outside to get to the upstairs.
The Stoddards sold to Jim Lee in 1938 or 1939. Jim and his wife, Gussie, ran cattle and operated a vacation pack station until the 1980’s. They named the ranch Eagle Creek Ranch, as irrigation at that time came from Eagle Creek. These were lively days. People came from all over to enjoy the pack trips into the Alps. Errol Flynn and Bing Crosby were a few of our guests that enjoyed the easy atmosphere. Gussie cooked massive meals and it is rumored that her macaroni and cheese was the best around. Jim was a small man famous for his ever present cigar and incredible, secret barbecue sauce.