Copperopolis and Lake Tulloch History Part 1

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Lake Tulloch

The main Hwy. responsible for much of the growth of California's Mother Lode Region is State Highway 49.  No history of Copperopolis and Lake Tulloch would be complete without exploring the original covered bridge that was lost to the need for water. Over this road and the adjoining side roads a travelers can pass thru 58 of California's counties.  One of the historic landmarks that could be seen on this road was the O'Byrnes Ferry and the covered Bridge.  Through Out history there have been many that tried to preserve the local bridge over Stanislaus River.  The river is actually the dividing line between the counties of Tuoulumne and Calaveras.  The bridge was the main connection between Stockton and Yosemite Junction.  When water storage was needed it was determined that a dam would be built on the Stanislaus river at Copperopolis.  The dam was completed and dedicated on June 15, 1957.  It is interesting to note that the reason bridges are covered is two fold.  First it helps to protect the bridge which will last three times longer if it is covered and secondly prevented the horse from seeing the water below and stopped them from shying.  The original covered O'Byrnes Ferry Bridge was built around the fall of 1852.  It was a toll bridge at right time and served the traveler until the great flood of 1862. By 1862 a new bridge know as the Union Bridge was built.  The bridge was purchased for $4000 in 1902 by Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties and was then a "free" bridge.  This stretch of land was often visited by the bad men of the old west. As a matter of fact Black Bart was a well know resident of the area of Copperopolis and Lake Tulloch.  Many attempts were made to preserve the old covered bridge, but most were in vein.  When tearing down the old bridge it was rumored that there was gold found in one of the old pilings.   After much searching with metal detecting equipment a box with gold coins reported to be there was never found.  De construction continued and all attempts to salvage the bridge failed.  It was dismantled and disposed of.  It is rumored that there are some benches still to be found around the town of Copperopolis that were constructed from the bridge.  It could be said that the end of the old covered bridge represents the end of an era in California's colorful transportation history aroundCopperoplis and Lake Tulloch.

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Comments (2)


Hi Bonnie,

Hopefully you can answer a few questions for me?  My hubby and I came up to Copperopolis in 1986 and bought our current residence.  We rented it out for a time and finally moved into it in 1990.  We made our decision to buy our home in what is now the Lake Tulloch Resort which was at that time called Melone's Poker Flat Resort Lake Tulloch.  It has gone thru several name changes and I would like to know what all those name changes were?  Can you help me or direct me to some one that can go back into the archives on the name changes and the years it happened?  Thanks, Carol

PS  Where is Part 2 located on your Lake Tulloch history?

Oct 09, 2011 02:05 PM

Hi Carol;  I started this blog when I was working at Coldwell Banker and never added on the part 1.   I am not sure about name changes but will ask around.  Send me your email so I can send you what I find.

Oct 09, 2011 05:47 PM