Truckee California

Truckee History

For a city that has been officially incorporated for less than twenty years, Truckee has a lot of history. The Pauite Indian Tribue originally settled the Truckee area. When white settlers first entered the area in the 1840s in search of gold and other minerals, they were greeted by a Paiute Chief.

The chief's name sounded like Truckee to the settler and a town that arose later adopted the name of Truckee. The Truckee area became infamous as the site where the Donner Party tried to winter in 1846–1847.

Originally a Railroad Town

Downtown Truckee

In the 1860s a new railroad was built across the Sierra Nevada Mountains following the route up the Truckee River and then over Donner Pass. Truckee grew as railroad workers building the new railroad in the area needed supplies, as did the miners crossing the Sierras to the mines in Nevada.

Thousands of workers lived in the area as the railroad was built through the Sierras. Truckee also became a logging town as the first lumber mill was built in the city in 1867. During this time, ice harvesting began in Truckee and another industry was born. The ice ponds that can last from November through March along the Truckee River were an important source of ice for all of California.

Truckee River in Truckee

A Popular Area for Second Homes and Retirees

In the twentieth century, Truckee became a winter tourism destination. Ice skating and sleigh rides to Donner Lake were popular and ski lifts were built. The city began hosting a winter carnival that showcased the many winter activities in the area. In 1960, the Winter Olympics were held at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, which is just ten miles from Truckee. The Olympics really put Truckee on the map.

In 1964, Interstate 80 was completed through the Sierra Nevada Mountains passing through Truckee. This greatly enhanced accessibility to Truckee, nearby ski areas, and Lake Tahoe. Interstate 80 is the only interstate that allows passage through the Sierras. Truckee remains a popular winter sports destination. In 1993, Truckee was offiicially incorporated as a city.