Big Oak Flat
Just a couple of miles west of Groveland, in its heyday Big Oak Flat had more than 5,000 residents -- today fewer than 200 folks reside here. The I.O.O.F. Hall (seen above) was built in 1852 and is still very much in use -- the main entrance, these days, is on the side of the building. The iron doors were shipped around the horn.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel's wooden pews are also still in use each Sunday. Built in the early 1860s, the original church burned but was rebuilt. On these grounds, you'll find a cemetery with graves of many of the pioneering families in this very colorful part of Gold Country.

The community got its name is recognition of a giant oak tree that stood in the middle of town. In 1869, over-zealous miners undermined the tree looking for gold among its roots. Today, remnants of its trunk can still be seen in a historical marker alongside Highway 120.

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