Ghost town brought back to life

Clarksville guests ride in style thanks to the courtesy stagecoaches that shuttled people back and forth during the annual celebration on May 5. Village Life photo by Pat Dollins

Clarksville Day 2012 attracted an estimated 4,000 people on Saturday, including a record number of ranch family descendants. Serrano’s original ranch residents, the Walker clan, were out in force to celebrate the 85th birthday of Mazie Carnell, who attended Clarksville’s one-room schoolhouse in the 1930s, often with her little sister Pat in tow.

Pat Johnson and her daughter Kathy McPherson have been regular participants in Clarksville Day. This year they invited the whole family. Village Life told the Walker Ranch story in 2009, and has republished it at Villagelife.com.

Betty January and Clarksville Regional Historical Society volunteers had the old town site mowed and caution taped, with information posters outside each of the crumbling ghost town structures. History reenactors and exhibits stationed the length of the old Lincoln Highway.

Cool resident Jerry Pozo educated everyone within earshot about Reverend Peter Y. Cool, the itinerant Gold Rush minister he depicts.

All the exhibitors reported great interest throughout the mild but windy day.

The wind caused the event’s one serious injury. A Pony Express tent blew over, rolling onto a rider and her horse. “The horse shied one way she fell off the other,” said January on Sunday.

The young woman landed on rocks, suffering a fractured pelvis. She ended up at Kaiser Roseville, and “was last seen trying to talk the hospital in to letting her go home,” said January.

Clarksville’s resident rattlesnakes made their presence known, with three separate sightings on Saturday, according to January. One particularly large and persistent fellow repeatedly advanced on the Mountain Men’s camp, despite being politely shooed away.

January gave the Mountain Men permission to resort to less genteel tactics if the snake returned. The Mountain Men were last seen loading their black powder muskets.

Boy Scout Troop 465 helped with set up, breakdown and parking. The Greenwood Civilian Conservation Corp tirelessly whipped weeds in advance of the event and were present Saturday as well, helping keep the rattlesnakes at bay.

The old town site, located on the historic Lincoln Highway, has proven to be a spectacular venue for the day-long history event, which has grown in popularity every year since returning to Clarksville in 2009.

The 2013 celebration is currently jeopardized by construction of the Silva Valley interchange, which will occupy the vacant fields that become parking lots on Clarksville Day. Stay tuned to Village Life for Clarksville Day 2013 status updates.

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Posted by on May 7 2012.
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