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Posted by: thepinetree on 08/31/2009 10:43 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 10/22/2009 09:30 AM
Expires: 01/01/2014 12:00 AM

The Mountain Ranch Hotel...A Beautiful Part of Calaveras History Is Now On The Market ~By John Hamilton

Mountain Ranch, CA...We had the pleasure of touring the Beautiful Mountain Ranch Hotel. It has been a private residence for the Lane Family since the early 1960's. It is stunning! The Hotel sits on 7 acres right in downtown Mountain Ranch. It seemingly has everything....Guest Cottage, Pool, Expansive Grounds, History, Charm and more...

Click Above for Photos and Video is Enclosed. The property is listed by Stark Realty

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Mr. Lane was kind enough to forward us a piece on the Old Mountain Ranch Hotel which he prepared for a presentation to the Calaveras County Historical Society's November, 1997 meeting at the Town Hall in Mountain Ranch.


The boundary of the property on which the old Mountain Ranch Hotel now sits was originally created by a survey done in 1872 and was then identified and still is known as Lot 6 of Block 5 of the El Dorado Townsite and consists of approximately 7 acres.

In the old days there were several methods by which citizens could acquire title to property owned by the U.S. Government including the Homestead and Mining Claim procedures. Another was based on the payment of a sum specified by the county judge for a particular parcel located in a townsite. That procedure involved the execution of a certificate or patent by which the President of the Untied States conveyed title to the town site to the local judge who held title in trust for the benefit of the occupants of the townsite. When the occupant of a particular parcel was able to pay the sum specified for that parcel, the Judge would execute a deed conveying title to the resident.

The original townsite map of the Town of El Dorado shows that Lot 5 was claimed by a William Irvine and designated the property’s use as a quartz mine. The first document in the chain of title to the old Mountain Ranch Hotel is a certificate signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on September 5, 1873, by which the entire El Dorado Townsite (consisting of 240 acres), was conveyed in trust to W.B. Norman, County Judge of Calaveras County. On 2/26/1874, Judge Norman granted title to Irvine in exchange for the payment of $61.00.

Mr. Irvine, who was originally from San Francisco and who owned mineral properties in Angels Camp, also owned a saloon in El Dorado (one of four in town at the time) on the corner of Blacksmith and Broadway, right next door to the current Town Hall site.

During his 25 year ownership, Irvine built a steam powered stamp mill (about a half mile above the Hotel site) which crushed ore from a hydraulic mining operation on the adjacent hill top. Later, he built the first steam powered sawmill in the county just east of the location of the Hotel; he also operated a lumber yard in San Andreas during that time. The Hotel was then known as the Ryan House---a one story board and batten building with an unusual floor plan, as rooms were added as its use as a hotel increased. The Ryan House was a stopping place for miners, and travelers, and was a place where they could get a bed and a meal for a very reasonable price, and included feed and a stall for their animals. William and Jane Irvine owned the property from 1874 until 1897 when they sold it to Daniel Filippini.

Dan Filippini was the son of Carlo Filippini who homesteaded the property on Whiskey Slide Road directly across from the current site of the large steel sawdust burner. Shortly after Dan purchased the property, he married Emma Leon, a Mountain Ranch native. Dan and Emma lived in the Ryan House while the present building was built. The new Hotel building, with traditional Victorian features, was designed by a Mountain Rancher by the name of Quigg, and built by E.G. Larvere in 1905 from lumber cut at the Wilkins’ Sawmill on Swiss Ranch Road. The exterior walls were built of 2x4 stud wall construction, but he interior walls were single board, typically rough sawn 1x12 boards. Interior and exterior trim is virtually all redwood. Interior rooms have ten foot high ceilings and the original structure was surrounded by a veranda style porch. The date of construction is confirmed by “May 5, 1905; Edith”, presumably etched by Edith Filippini with her diamond ring on one of the first story windows.

During the period of the Filippinis’ ownership, they operated the Hotel as a boarding house, providing room and board for miners, travelers, local school teachers and salesmen. One of the historic articles on Mountain Ranch states that “Emma was know for her rough voice and soft heart. Anyone in desperate need could always get a free meal.” According to historic lore, the Filippinis were also instrumental in changing the name of the town from El Dorado to Mountain Ranch; because travelers to the Filippini property (who were intent on buying fruits and vegetables from Emma’s prolific gardens) would refer to their destination as the “Ranch in the Mountains.”

On August 2, 1917, Dan and Emma sold the property and most of the contents of the Hotel to Johanna Kurz of San Francisco. Mrs. Kurz, who was originally from Denmark, operated the Hotel until 1923 when guardianship proceedings filed in San Joaquin County declared her “incompetent”. Mrs. Kurz’ guardian has the personal property and real property appraised ($300 and $3,200 respectively) and solicited bids for the purchase of the property. The highest bid received was from Joseph Josephsen of Mountain Ranch. On 11/5/1923, the San Joaquin County Superior Court approved the sale of the Hotel property and contents to Joe Josephsen for $3,150.

Mr. Josephsen, who had stowed away on a ship form Denmark at age 14, had ultimately landed in San Francisco. After his arrival in America, Joe went to work for a man by the name of Edgar Dale who operated a livery stable in Ross. When the Dale’s stable burned down, they moved to Mountain Ranch and acquired what is now the Joses property on Whiskey Slide Road. They raised several children there, one of whom was Anna Dale, who later married Joe Josephsen.

When Joe Josephsen first came to Calaveras County he operated a drayage business, hauling machinery and equipment with his four horse team from the rail head in Valley Springs to the various mines in the area including the Ringe Mine on Jesus Maria Road. During the Josephsen’s ownership of the Hotel, Joe worked at the Cave City Mine, worked in Alaska on the Alaska Highway for a short period, and then returned to Mountain Ranch. Anna Josephsen took in borders, including local miners, traveling salesmen, local school teachers, and anyone needing a place to stay. Several people who still reside in Mountain Ranch including Luellen Del Papa recall memories of their stays in the Hotel as young people. The Hotel register confirms that people from all over the U.S. and some foreign countries stayed at the Hotel.
In about 1945 Joe started a saw mill on the Hotel property, the sawdust burner for which is still standing. The Josephsens operated the saw mill until 1952, and raised their four children on the property.

In 1961, the Josephsens sold the property to Blossom and Eldred Lane. The property has been owned by the Lane Family since then and the Hotel ahs been restored and expanded and occupied as the Lane’s private residence.

It is now on the market for $1.25 million

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