6 months ago

Destination Nevada County

Premium visitors magazine for Nevada County produced by the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce

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Photo credit: and Joseph Del Grosso Soda Springs SECLUDED IN THE PICTURESQUE PINES By Robin Galvan-Davies CEO Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director Grass Valley Visitor Center 174 DESTINATION Nevada County

Photo credit: Matt Guziejka Photo credit: Soda Springs. Teeny pin dot on the Nevada County map, but, oh my, what a magnificent dot! Wikipedia notes that Soda Springs (formerly, Summit Valley, Soda Springs Station, Hopkins, Hopkins Springs, and Tinkers Station) is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Nevada County, California, United States. Soda Springs is located 3 miles (4.8 km) west of Donner Pass. The population was 81 at the 2010 census. Not very exciting information, and certainly not much history, so when visiting the Donner Memorial State Park, I asked the docent about Soda Springs and she said, “Go talk to Norm, he knows more than I do.” So, I went off in search of Norm Sayler at the Donner Summit Historical Society, located on historic Highway 40. I found him, on a Sunday, ready to fill my cup with espresso and share his vast historical knowledge of all things Donner Summit. As my specific objective was to acquire more about Soda Springs he pointed to several albums loaded with photos and postcards, and then handed me Bill Oudegeest’s book, Walking Through Donner Summit History. “Buy This,” he said, “Bill writes all of our newsletters, and his book is great.” So, I bought Bill’s book, and of course, Norm was correct. It has invaluable information about Summit Valley, and the history of Soda Springs. In Chapter 3 of his book, when speaking to the history of Soda Springs, Bill writes, “The arrival of the railroad changed life along the Summit Valley route. Communities sprang up and people gained access to Sierra resources: ice, lumber, recreation and pasturage. Along the route over Donner Summit, the Soda Springs Station, served the Soda Springs Hotel and Summit Valley. According, Mark Hopkins, one of the “Big Four” of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, built an estate at Soda Springs named that because there are natural soda springs in the area. He DESTINATION Nevada County 175