Item #7404 Springfield, Tuolumne County. G. H. Goddard, del., Britton, lith Rey.

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Goddard, G. H., del.; Britton & Rey, lith.

Springfield, Tuolumne County.

Sonora, California: G. S. Wells, May 1853. Pictorial letter sheet, 7” x 9.875” lithograph on a portion blue-gray wove paper (formerly a bifolium, now lacking the blank half). CONDITION: Very good.

A scarce letter-sheet showing the Gold Rush town of Springfield, California during its heyday.

This is the first and only nineteenth century view of Springfield, California, as noted by Reps. The image depicts the “town square, flagpole in center surrounded by scattered dwellings; goats on low knoll in foreground” (Peters, p. 78). Also visible on the right is what appears to be an elevated sluiceway coming into town from the hills beyond.

Named after the numerous springs in the area, Springfield was a Gold Rush boomtown located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Around the time this view was created, the town comprised stores, shops, and a hotel, and was home to some 2,000 inhabitants. Springfield is believed to have been founded by Dona Josefa Valmesada, a Mexican woman who apparently aided Americans during the Mexican-American War (1846–48). Artist George H. Goddard (1817–1906) went on to become an important early surveyor in California.

REFERENCES: Peters, California on Stone, p. 78; Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America, 423; Baird 257; Clifford 267; “California Historical Landmarks in Tuolumne County” at California Historical Landmarks in Tuolumne County online.

Item #7404