Revisiting French Corral

My dad and I yesterday revisited French Corral, California to get some more photos and explore the area for other mining remnants. I mainly wanted a full shot of the Wells Fargo & Co. building, which I find really awesome looking, but I also wanted to see if we could find the old schoolhouse in French Corral, which I initially read about here during my research session. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find the schoolhouse (or if we had, we weren’t aware of it,) though at least we made off with a couple good photos.

We were also walking around and stumbled upon a monument commemorating the world’s first long distance telephone:

The text on it reads, “Commemorating the first long distance telephone in the world. Built in 1877, by the Ridge Telephone Co, it connected French Corral with French Lake 58 miles away. It was operated by the Milton Mining Co from this building which was built about 1855. Marker placed and dedicated by Columbia Parlor No 70 Native Daughters of the Golden West. May 19, 1940.”

I don’t know what it is about French Corral, but I am going to have to do some more research into it. There might possibly be some records in a local library, mentions of it in historic newspapers or documents, etc. There doesn’t appear to be a ton of information about French Corral (not to mention smaller mining towns, which I’d also like to take a look at) on the internet, so it may be time for me to do some digging locally. I feel like there’s something about French Corral that I may be missing. More on this to come.

French Corral, California

I find mining towns fascinating.

Why? For a number of reasons, but mainly due to the fact that I live near many of them. They also are very photogenic (if that term can be used for buildings) and make interesting subjects. Maybe it’s the feeling of being in a place where its history is so evident, so real. Maybe it’s because we were taught so much about them during our California History classes in school. Maybe it’s just because they’re different from what we see on a daily basis. French Corral is one of the many mining towns nearby, which I decided to share some photographs of on my blog.

My Dad and I were at Bridgeport today for a picture-taking and video-ing trip, since my Dad is making a series of spec spots and wanted to get some shots on a windy road with our Jeep. On the way there, I saw I sign for French Corral, just a couple miles past Bridgeport, so we decided to check it out as I hadn’t heard of it before. As it turns out, there isn’t much nowadays to the little town of French Corral, but it does have an awesomely photogenic building, adorned with a sign stating “Wells Fargo and Co. Express” and the town’s founding date and elevation. A quick Google search for French Corral brought up a bit of information about it, namely that it was one of the many boomtowns that were set up during the California Gold Rush that now has a tiny population still residing in it, the town largely unheard of.

I didn’t get a full look at French Corral, as we only stopped at the Wells Fargo and Co. building before turning around and heading back towards Bridgeport, but I’m definitely going to have to head back and take a closer look around. In any event, I got some decent images from the outing, so check them out.

For more information about French Corral (and the sources of the information I included in this post) can be found at,_California, and