Significant Events at Bidwell's Bar 1848 -1967
1848 - 1855 The Building Years
- 1848 John Bidwell discover gold on Feather River at a location that became known as Bidwell’s Bar.
- 1850 Becomes unofficial meeting place for County Business from June - September 1850.
- 1851 Floating bridge is primary access across river 1849 - 1852.
- 1851 First Post Office, established July 10, 1851.
- 1852 Flood washes away floating bridge. First Ferry at Bidwell Bar operates only in summer months.
- 1853 Town map of Bidwell laid out and plotted.
- 1853 Becomes County Seat officially on August 10, 1853. Town of Bidwell, in Bidwell Township, heretofore known as Bidwell’s Bar.
- 1853 First Newspaper (Butte Record) Issue on November 12, 1853.
- 1854 Planning started for construction of Suspension Bridge.
- 1854 Fire destroys town on August 2, 1854. Courthouse, Newspaper Office and a few other scattered buildings are not burned.
- 1855 Gluckauf’s builds first stone store and & Hess & Larcombe first brick store after fire destroyed town in 1854.
- 1855 Town of Bidwell starts to decline as rich gold deposits are founddownriver in Ophir (Oroville) area.
1856 -1860 The Declining Years
- 1856 In election held on 4/19/1856, the Town of Bidwell looses county seat election to Oroville.
- 1856 On 9/24/1856 County Board of Supervisors declared Oroville the County Seat.
- 1856 County Board first met in Oroville on 9/30/1856, and other County officers moved there in November.
- 1856 Bidwell Bar Suspension Bridge completed in late December or early January 1857 and opened as a Toll Bridge.
- 1856 Howard Burt first Bridge Tender, 1856 - 1859.
- 1857 Bidwell’s Bar serves as a local supply point. Few remaining businesses in town. Main remaining feature of the area is the Suspension bridge providing access across river to other locations.
- 1859 Isaac Ketchum became Bridge Tender at Tollhouse and remained in this job until 1905. (1859 - 1905) - 46 years!
1860 -1919 Existing in the Shadow of it’s Past
- 1883 Bidwell Bar Bridge become County Property. Now Free Bridge. Had been Toll Bridge from 1856 – 1883; for 27 years.
- 1897 Newspaper description of Bidwell Townsite: “Not only are the buildings gone, but the ground where they stood is gone, having been mined away leaving a waste of bare rocks” - Oroville Mercury Register, March 5, 1897
- 1905 Isaac Ketchum buried under “Mother” Orange Tree, July 12, 1905. He died at age 87 years.
- 1917 Courthouse dedicaton ceremony and monument placed by road and smaller monument at site of actual courthouse.
- 1918 John Bendle died on December 30,1918. He purchased the Gluckauf stone store in 1859 and continued to operate to it for many years. The date of final store closing is unknown.
1919 – 1960 Railroad and Recreation years
- 1919 Bill Curry purchased the Bidwell’s Bar Beach area.
- 1922 Fellows Club was formed by Oroville business men and later the group became the sponsors of the swim beach at Bidwell’s Bar.
- 1922 Hutchinson Lumber Company purchased the Bendle home. The building was used as a headquarters, during the building of the railroad to the Feather Falls area, where they planned extensive logging activities.
- 1924 Fellows Club established Bidwell Bar Park in January 1924.
- 1924 Curry deeded his land to the park on 3/8/1924.
- 1925 Bidwell Bar area becomes a State Regional Park
- 1926 Suspension Bridge & Mother Orange Tree Monument dedication on November 27, 1926.
- 1928 State road department “oiled” the road to Bidwell Bar Park in March of 1928, in time for the summer recreation season.
- 1930's Bidwell Bar Cafe built north of river and operated by Nellie Nichols, later by niece Mrs. Helen Buis. Over time this new location became known as Bidwell Bar.
- 1940's The Feather River Pine Mills company built a lumber re- manufacturing plant in the area between the historic Bidwell town site and the cemetery. Lumber was shipped by train from this mill and from the Feather Falls sawmill through the Bidwell area to Oroville. These operations continued until the early 1960’s.
- 1947 Bidwell’s Bar Park area expanded becomes a State Historical Site.
- 1947 Butte County builds a cement bridge about one-half mile below the historic suspension bridge to accommodate the heavy logging truck traffic.
- 1948 On 9/27/1948, Butte County deeded Bidwell’s Bar Suspension Bridge to state. Both bridges remained open from 1947 to 1954.
- 1949 A large wood addition was added to brick & stone tollhouse to provide living quarters for the Park Supervisor. The last caretaker for Bidwell’s Bar Park Association had lived in a small wooden addition to the toll house.
- 1950 Ranger II, Nolan Albright, was the last Ranger Supervisor assigned to Curry-Bidwell State Park.
- 1954 Historic Bidwell’s Bar Bridge CLOSED to vehicle traffic in October of 1954.
- 1955 Bidwell Bar becomes a State Park.
1960 - 1967 The End Years
- 1963 The remaining roofless walls of the Bendle Store were pushed into chasm formed by the tunnels which had undermined it and made it unsafe. The remains of the Gluckauf/Bendle, first stone store, were the last standing building in the historic town of Bidwell.
- 1964 The state inventoried the gravesites at the Bidwell cemetery and relocated the remains to other Butte County cemeteries.
- 1964 The historic Bidwell Bar Bridge and Toll House were dismantled and removed from the original site.They were placed in storage at State Park headquarters in Oroville.
- 1964 The Department of Water Resources burned the Bidwell Bar Cafe (Busi) building located north of the bridge in the “new” Bidwell Bar area.
- 1967 On November 14, 1967, at 4:30 p.m., Ranger Wyk Wiederhoeft, saw the historic town site at Bidwell’s Bar go under the rising waters that were filling Lake Oroville.