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On the American River
The area encompassing Pollock Pines is in a heavily timbered mountain region situated along the ridge top on the south side of the South Fork of the American River. It is approximately 10 to 15 miles east of Placerville and 60 miles east of Sacramento on Highway 50. It includes the area from the American River on the north to Jenkinson Lake (Sly Park) and the Mormon Emigrant Trail on the south. This area attracted people in the beginning as a way to get from one place to another. However, as more and more people traveled through the area, some came and stayed to provide services to those travelers in the form of food, drink, and shelter or improved roads and bridges. As gold mining in the Mother Lode expanded, the demand for lumber to shore the mines and provide homes and establishments increased. Lumber mills dotted this forested area. Logging and the lumber industry played an important role in the early development of this area. It is said that almost every part of the land along the ridge top has been logged at least twice in the past one hundred thirty years. Several hardy pioneers homesteaded the area in the late 1800's, making a living from ranching. The school in the area was first called Cedar Grove School, and thus the area also became known as Cedar Grove. The one-room school was erected in 1889 on the site of an early inn. It is the same location as the present Pollock Pines School.
In the early 1900's H. R. Pollock operated a lumber mill in the area. About 1937, Mr. Pollock subdivided a parcel of land along either side of the highway near the 13 mile marker. The homes built were mainly used as summer homes, therefore, simply constructed and poorly insulated. Shortly after the subdivision, the name of the school changed from Cedar Grove School to Pollock Pines School. In time, the area also became known as Pollock Pines. The area remained a quiet summer resort community until Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), in 1959, started full swing into construction of a series of dams on the upper American River Drainage Basin. This caused an influx of construction families. Mobil home parks abounded along with new permanent residences. The school was bursting at the seams. A new school, Pinewood, was constructed in three phases and was completed in 1963. Together with Pollock Pines School, they housed over 600 students. The population dropped somewhat as the SMUD dams neared completion and construction families moved elsewhere. Subdivisions have sprung up in recent years along many of the ridges and valleys running off of the main ridge. A lumbering, summer-home, construction oriented community gave way to one more geared to commuters, retirees, and those providing services to these people and to the tourists traveling through the area. (Courtesy Marilyn Parker 'The Pollock Pines Epic')