Camanche Reservoir California

Historic Recreational Waters

May 2022

From the Austin American Statesman - Sat., June 24, 1893 - Page 8

To The Lakeside Monthly Newsletter Page for subscribersIssue 03

California's Camanche Reservoir

map of Camanche Reservoir and its related riversLocating Camanche Lake

Camanche Reservoir, in Central California, is in the San Joaquin Valley. Some call it Camanche Lake. It's a reservoir.

The flow of Mokelumne River was dammed creating this waterbody. The lake can hold over 417,000 acre-feet maximum capacity. That's as if dumping 325,851 gallons of milk into it!

With 53 miles of shoreline, it's a popular Recreational Lake>

Purposes mainly for flood control & farming irrigation. Excellent recreation opportunities are a side benefit.

Curious Camanche Lake History

A curious history regards historic Gold Rush towns which were ironically flooded after Camanche dam completion in 1964. Named for mines called Poverty Bar, Winters Bar, Clay's Bar & Limerick (settled by Irish, later named Camanche).

Another named Sonora Bar, was later called Lancha Plana. A more lively village.

Vintage news of Lancha Plana CAFrom Stockton's The Mail - Tue., Aug. 4, 1885 - Pg.3
Vintage Sacramento news about a local politicianFrom Sacramento's Daily Bee - Thurs., April 26, 1888 - Pg.4

Pointing Out Senator Langford

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We'd love it if you'd tell us if you've been to Camanche Lake. How did you like it? Tell us on FB! Or even post a photo of it to our Facebook Page Here>

Notorious Camanche Lake Town's History

Lancha Plana's notoriety was from a 1905 double murder. Mrs. Phoebe Williams, a 75-year-old grandmother discovered in her bed, her throat slashed. 1st suspect was her 17-year-old grandson, who lived with her.

But 4 days later they found his body on a nearby hillside, throat also severely cut. Both were buried in Ione Cemetery. The motive appeared to be robbery.

Suspicions then turned immediately to local Indians or Mexicans, because of the murder weapon. In the end, two local whites were indicted & tried.

Harry Love confessed & implicated Clarence Murphy (who pleaded not-guilty) as co-killer. Jury trial acquitted Murphy.

New evidence subsequently brought before a Grand Jury caused recommended indictment of Samuel Swearingen. That turned out to be Love's true name.

Trial date was set, then indefinitely postponed while he began serving his life sentence at Folsom Prison.

Wonder if Swearingen Had a View of Folsom Lake From the Prison!
Doubt It!!

Lancha Plana was named for the ferry that crossed Mokelumne River's North Fork. Translated from Spanish, the meaning is flat boat.

By the time of these murders Lancha Plana had well over 1000 residents.

Today, it's all under water since 1963.

In 1962 the East Bay Municipal Utility District began purchasing properties of citizens in the reservoir's path. The people had a deadline to move: July 1st. Many were broken-hearted & at odds-end.

The Utility saved some historic remnants, but most were inundated. Now this town, as well as all those other from the California Gold Rush days are all under the Comanche Lake.

Lake Joke of the Month!

  • What did the lake say to the lakeshore?
  1. Nothing, it just waved.
grinning mouth about a lake jokeAhhh! - Ha! Ha!

Some Lakeside Observations

Hope all the Moms out there had a wonderful Mother's Day. 

June 4th this year is National Trail's Day. Here's another chance for all of us, as lovers of lakes to participate by taking a Trail to a Lake, or a Trail Around a Lake. Which would you plan to do?

Here's a suggestion for those near or going to Northeastern Utah.

The Lake Mary Trail begins at Brighton Ski Resort, SE of Salt Lake City. I-215's Exit 6, onto Wasatch Blvd. Then left on Hwy. 190 all the way. 

Take a look at one family who braved it when there was still snow on the ground. But they had a good time!

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See you again next month.

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