Tuesday, November 12, 2013


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Saturday last, as Jim and I made our way around the Motherlode taking barn pictures, we ran into my old friend, Don Cuneo. I told him we were going to Calaveritas for pictures and though this isn’t an old barn, it is definitely an Icon of the gold rush. Don’s sister, Louise Cuneo Greenlaw owns the gold rush era Costa Store. You can still see the lettering on the front of the building. Her house is partially visible on the right.
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The west side of the Costa Store shows the various layers of history, from the old hand made adobe bricks near the roof, to the modern replacement bricks put in at some time to shore it up.  Mostly gone plaster that at one time covered over the brick evidences another time in history.
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Louise’s house was once a gold rush brick building, too, with some brick and enlarged with a native rock foundation on the left.  It has been modernized with a wood frame house on the old foundation long ago. I have wonderful memories of parties, mostly fundraisers in this lovely old garden hosted by Louise and the barbeques or meals cooked by her brother Don, who was the chef and owner of the Black Bart Inn hotel and restaurant for more years than any of us can remember. Their brother Fred lived just across the creek from the Costa Store. Fred, the oldest Cuneo brother, is gone now. And, another Cuneo brother has a similar building at Jesu Maria. A very public spirted family, Don served a couple of terms as Calaveras County Supervisor, and President of the Historical Society, to name a few of his volunteer projects.
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Across from the Costa Store is a beautiful, well kept barn. I don’t know who owns any of the barns of Calaveritas we photographed.
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On this one, I particularly liked the old vine covering, turning color in the fall. Double click it to enlarge it for a better look.
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An old miner’s shack, also shored up as the adobe brick or rock foundations gave way or caved into a basement. Ratty old siding covers the wood, showing a past attempt to preserve the old house.
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We saw three or four old foundations where the buildings finally gave up, probably torn down for their wood.
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I admire that the new owners try to preserve some of these relics of the past. The back part of this building is holding up.
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But the front and both sides are propped up with lumber. This building is probably not used.
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Many of the old shacks people use as storage buildings, like this one, built on flat ground.
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Calaveritas Livery Stable is still intact.
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We drove along and found several still working ranches using the old barns, like this one.
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And, this one. I find it interesting that California barns have a similarity in style that is different from barns in Pennsylvania Dutch country, for instance.
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This old barn shows the peak and loft with a hay hook. Still in decent shape. Couldn’t see any signs of use. I know the loft was a wonderful place to play when we were kids. (At someone else’s barn.)  The hay was pitch forked down for the cows and horses. Some barns had animal stalls below the loft, others did not keep animals where manure soiled the hay barn, especially in California where weather isn’t harsh. We began anew on Sunday and did more barns. I think the only thing missing from the picture is an artist set up with an easel to paint. Many are worth painting, in my opinion.