John A. “Snowshoe” Thompson
Inscription. This statue commemorates the life and career of Norwegian American pioneer and skier, John A. Snowshoe Thompson, who by his courage and perseverance conquered the impassable winter Sierra Nevada mountains to carry mail, medicine and supplies to settlers in Nevada beginning in January 1856 from this building (built in 1853) His dedication and service lasted many years, an outstanding example of the courage and concern which characterized the citizenry of El Dorado County during the Gold Rush period, and which is the foundation upon which our modern society rests.
Erected by Heritage Association of El Dorado County.
Location. 38° 43.677′ N, 120° 48.184′ W. Marker is in Placerville, California, in El Dorado County. Marker is at the intersection of Sacramento Street and Main Street, on the right when traveling north on Sacramento Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Placerville CA 95667, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
of this marker. Bayles Building (1853) (a few steps from this marker); Snowshoe Thompson (a few steps from this marker); Placerville Pony Express (a few steps from this marker); Hangmans Tree (within shouting distance of this marker); Three Unfortunates Hanged (within shouting distance of this marker); The Forum Café / Union Hotel / United States Trio Hall / The Forum Café / The Blue Bell Café (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Branch Saloon/Bingham’s Jewelrey/Seligman Building/Ewing Building (about 300 feet away); Sgt. J. Scott Lindsay (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Placerville.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . . Snowshoe Thompson: “Viking of the Sierra” (snowshoethompson.org).
“All attempts by postmen to cross the Sierra on woven Canadian and Native American snowshoes had failed until one day in late 1855, Thompson saw an ad in the Sacramento Union: “People Lost to the World; Uncle Sam Needs a Mail Carrier.”… As a young child in the Telemark region of Norway, ski shaped snow-shoes (called ski–skates) were as common as ordinary shoes. A crowd formed in Placerville for his first mail run in January, 1856. Few had faith that he would make it over the 7,500 foot passes on
his homemade 10 foot long, 25 pound oak skis. But one optimistic voice in the crowd called out: “Good luck, Snowshoe Thompson” and he set out to become a legendary postman and father of California skiing.”
(Submitted on March 11, 2022.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 11, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 11, 2022, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 11, 2022, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.