Ghost Town Explorer
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GROVELAND CALIFORNIA
"Hang-em High El Mexicano"

Occupied Historic Town
Tuolumne County
Circa 1849 to Present 

Originally known as Garrote; Spanish for "Death by Hanging", after two Mexicans were hung by an oak tree after stealing $100.00 in gold dust. The town name was changed to Groveland by Benjamin Savory sometime in the mid 1870's in honor of the town in Massachusetts from which he came. It should be noted that a second town to the East was named Garrote II after a similar hanging incident. The first building to be erected in Garrote was an adobe trading post established by a Frenchman known as Raboul. Years later the adobe was improved by the next proprietor and named Cassaretto's. the schoolhouse at the edge of town was known through decades of its existence as the “Big Oak Flat School". The children of Big Oak Flat and even of Priest’s Hill trudged to Groveland to school. The Savory Hotel was the first one in Garrote and was built in 1852, Groveland Hotel being the second was built in 1853.

This area has prospered from tourist trade that originates along the Big Oak Flat road, which being well up into the mountains, was especially dependent upon its freighting business and very supportive of the Garrote Teamsters—local ranchers and cattlemen.As in most California Gold Rush Towns, the placers were soon worked out but the quartz mining paid well and kept the town full of hard rock miners into the 1870's. After the deep mines began to fade, by 1877 Groveland had reduced to a population of about 100 residents. There were however two periods of rejuvenation which was the norm in all the mining communities in this area. Then in 1915, the town served as headquarters for much of the business connected with the building of the O'Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy and the Hetch Hetchy Railroad. Afterwards, Groveland, being the supply center for the large back country, has not been in danger of fading into a ghost town at any period and now the constant increase of automobile tourists has brought a steady flow of outside money across the counters of the stores first patronized by the miners with their native gold dust. There are several old building left scattered among the hill. Most popular is probably the" Iron Door Saloon.” squeezed into a row of buildings, but at one time was the Tannahill store. The Groveland Hotel is also a popular attraction, completely restored. Today Groveland continues to cater to the tourist enroute to Yosemite. By the way, if you pass through Groveland, stop by the "Iron Door Saloon" and order yourself a burger and sarsaparilla.  

 

Ghost Town Explorer
Photo showing main cluster of original buildings including the "Iron Door Saloon"

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