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Former California State Route 194 from Downieville to Saddleback Mountain

Back in 2017 I visited Downieville in Sierra County while driving California State Route 49 over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  While in Downieville I passed by the junction of what was former California State Route 194 on Saddleback Road.  The photo below is from an overlook where CA 194 would have terminated at CA 49 just west of Downieville.


Prior to the 1964 State Highway Renumbering the route of CA 194 was known as Legislative Route Number 36.  LRN 36 was adopted into the State Highway system in 1907 as a road from Mount Pleasant Ranch by way of the Eureka Mine in southeastern direction towards Downieville.

CAhighways.org on LRN 36

LRN 36 appears on the 1918 State Highway Map as a Special Appropriations road.

1918 State Highway Map

The irony of having a roadway to the Eureka Mine from Downieville was that mining had long declined in the 19th Century.  The legislative description of LRN 36 appears to make a vague reference to a highway that would be adopted either in Marysville or Oroville.  Said highway was adopted in 1909 during the First State Highway Bond Act as LRN 30.  More can on LRN 30 can be found above on CAhighways.org article on LRN 36 and on the recent CA 162 blog involving the Bidwell's Bar Bridges.

CA 162 and saga of the Bidwell's Bar Bridges

Ultimately LRN 36 would never reach LRN 30 as the latter had been decommissioned in favor of the newly completed Feather River Highway segment of CA 24/LRN 21 in 1936.  The hanging end of LRN 36 at Saddleback Mountain north of Downieville can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Sierra County.

1935 Sierra County Highway Map

For reference LRN 30 can be seen last on the 1935 Division of Highways Maps of Butte County and Plumas County before disappearing on the 1936 State Highway Map.

1935 Butte County Highway Map

1935 Plumas County Highway Map

1936-37 State Highway Map

Despite never connecting to LRN 30 or even CA 24/LRN 21 the route of LRN 36 lingered on through the 1964 State Highway Renumbering when it was assigned CA 194.  This change can be seen by comparing the 1963 State Highway Map to the 1964 edition.  The 1964 definition of CA 194 was very clear as it was routed north of CA 49 to Eureka Mine Road near Saddleback Mountain.  Of note; the route of LRN 36/CA 194 even by the 1960s was unique given it was one of the last dirt State Highways.

1963 State Highway Map

1964 State Highway Map

According to CAhighways.org CA 194 was deleted during Legislative Chapter 1372 of 1965.

CAhighways.org on CA 194

CA 194 last appears on the 1965 State Highway Map and disappears on the 1966 Edition.

1965 State Highway Map

1966 State Highway Map

From the overlook of Downieville there is a 1874 topographical map of the area showing the road westward of the community to the Eureka Mine which ultimately became the first CA 194.

 
Downieville was founded in 1849 along the confluence of the Downie River and North Fork Yuba River.  Downieville was one of the contenders for the fourth California State Capitol in 1853 which was ultimately given to Sacramento.  Despite Downieville long being past it's heyday it still remains the Sierra County Seat.




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