Lake County has been inhabited for thousands of years. Pomo Indians settled along Cache Creek, including where Clear Lake Campground and Anderson Marsh are now, and used obsidian from Mount Konocti volcano to make tools and to trade. Pioneers started settling in the mid-1800's and some of the old buildings can still be seen. Lake County has 4 small history museums that are essential stops for anyone interested in local history (no admission charge but donations appreciated). Take a look at 6 historical places in Lake County:
Anderson Marsh State Historic Park
Right across the creek from Clear Lake Campground, the entrance to Anderson Marsh is just a 2 minute drive. At the park you'll find a parking area (fee) where information about the ranch house and hiking trails are posted, a large picnic area, and the 19th century ranch house (closed except for special events). barn, and outbuildings, including 2 non-usable outhouses. An easy nature trail leading to the creek has signs talking about the area's early history. In the park are archeological sites that are at least 10,000 years old from when it was inhabited by the Southeastern Pomo.
Address: 8400 Hwy 53, Lower Lake
See Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association for more information
Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum:
A couple miles farther south, in the small town of Lower Lake, is the old schoolhouse, originally built in 1877, that served as a 2-room schoolhouse until 1935. The schoolhouse has been restored and has a museum on the lower floor with historic displays including Native American artifacts, a Victorian parlor with player piano, and a restored schoolroom. The upper floor is used for special art exhibits and as a theater.
Address: 16435 Main Street, Lower Lake, 5 minutes from Camp
Usually open: Thurs-Sat, 11-4
Information: Schoolhouse Museum
Ely Stage Stop and Country Museum:
Dating from 1864 or 1865, over the years the building was used as a stage coach stop, public house, hotel, post office, school for wayward boys, general store, and a gas station. It was moved from its original location by the Lake County Historic Association and now houses a museum and historical preservation center. Historic farm equipment and other objects are on the grounds around the museum and in the barn below it. On the first Sunday of the month, 12-2, there's an old fashioned fiddlers' jam, currently held outdoors (bring your own chairs).
Address: 9921 Soda Bay Rd, Kelseyville, 20 minutes from Camp (between Lower Lake and Kelseyville)
Usually open: Sat-Sun, 11-3
Web site: Ely Stage Stop
Historic Courthouse Museum:
The former Lake County Courthouse, built in 1870 and used through 1968, now houses a museum of Native American and local history, including one of the biggest collections of Eastern Pomo basketry. Other exhibits include geological history, Native American and Pioneer artifacts, and a restored historic courtroom. The museum itself was started in 1932 in a smaller building but moved into the old Courthouse building after a new building was built for the courthouse.
Address: 255 North Main Street, Lakeport, 30 minutes from Camp
Usually open: Wed-Sat, 11-4 and Sun 12-4
Information: Courthouse Museum
C. Gibson Museum
Housed in a mission-style building that was built as a library in 1930, the small museum has historical artifacts and displays related to natural history of southern Lake County including geology, hot springs and resorts, and a Lillie Langtry exhibit.
Address: 21267 Calistoga Rd (Hwy 29), Middletown, 20 minutes from Camp
Usually open: Thurs-Sat, 11-4
Web site: Gibson Museum
Tallman Hotel and Upper Lake:
Clear Lake and mineral springs in the hills started drawing tourists to the area as early as 1874. The Tallman Hotel in downtown Upper Lake was one of the first hotels. Originally built in 1874, the original Tallman House Hotel was destroyed in a fire in 1895 but rebuilt in the style you see today. Next to the hotel, the Blue Wing Saloon originally dated from the 1880's but was torn down during Prohibition. It has been rebuilt to resemble an 1870's bar and now you can enjoy a good lunch or dinner on the outside porch or garden, sometimes with live music - reservations recommended, (707) 275-2233. A stroll along Upper Lake's Main Street is like taking a step back in time, too.
Address: 9520 Main Street, Upper Lake, 35-40 minutes from Camp
Web Site: Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon
Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum, photo by James Martin
More Things to Do from Clear Lake Campground:
Martha Bakerjian is a part-time employee at Clear Lake Campground and writes a web site about Italy: