(7.1 miles) A lone log cabin sits in the meadow on your left (this cabin was moved to this site to represent the kind of structure once common to Holcomb Valley).
The largest gathering of prospectors settled east of the original discovery, in a rich, flat meadow. Inevitably a town sprung up, and Holcomb’s memoirs tell of “Saloons. gambling dens, and bagnios of the lowest kind.” On the outskirts of the haphazard town, earthen dugouts and hastily built shacks were thrown together by the miners. There was even a brewery and the infamous “Octagon House,” an 8-sided saloon and dance hall, with rooms where gliter girls entertained.
For the town’s first July 4th Celebration, the blacksmith’s wife, Mrs Jed Van Dusen, stiched together a flag made from the shiny skirts of the dance hall girls, and red and blue from miners’ shirts. Out of gratitude for her patriotic endeavor, the settlement was named Belleville in honor of her pretty little daughter, Belle.
In 1861, at the peak of the gold rush, 1,500 people lived in Holcomb Valley, and Belleville missed taking the county seat by a mere two votes. The population was typical of a mining town, with good men and industrious workers, balanced by degenerates and professional lawbreakers.