First Log Cabin

Over Labor Day weekend, we visited the darling historic town of Truckee, CA., in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We got loads of pics in the historic downtown area that we can’t wait to share. But this darling 1863-built log cabin — the first building to ever grace the area — seemed like the best place to start.

Joseph Gray built this cabin in a different location to serve the Dutch Flat wagon road traffic over Donner Pass. He believed it was a roadside inn for tired travelers to rest, eat, drink, buy supplies and get directions.

Made of native tamarack and lodgepole pine, the cabin served as a place to eat, drink, rest, buy supplies and get directions.

A native of Durham, England, Gray wound up in California during the Gold Rush era, after spending his childhood in Pennsylvania, then Iowa. He became a successful business man, buying and selling cattle and eventually was one of the first white people to settle around Truckee.

A man after our own hearts, Gray loved dogs and had 15-20 of them at any given time. They protected his family (wife, Anne, and daughters, Annie, Georgiana and Nellie) against all manner of wild critters. They also served as sled dogs during winter.

Along with other white settlers, they helped build the town of Truckee, and his son, Joseph Jr. became the first while child born in the new town of Truckee.

Gray was affectionately known in town as “Uncle Joe.” He eventually moved to Sacramento with his family in the 1880s, perhaps because the snow in the mountains was no joke or because he didn’t agree with the town’s increasing desire to expel Chinese immigrants from Truckee.

He died in 1897 at age 71. Anne lived until 1909. They are both buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Sacramento.

The building was moved its current location in 1907.

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