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Did You Know?

By Billy & Brett

Did you know that Latrobe was founded in 1864 when James Miller gave the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad the right-of-way through his property?

Did you know that F.A. Bishop, chief engineer of the railroad, named the town after Benjamin Henry Latrobe, chief engineer of the B&O Railroad?

Did you know that by the Fall of 1864, the town of Latrobe had over 600 people?

Did you know that Miller donated land to the town of Latrobe for a school, giving them the title to the land provided that a school always existed on the property?

Did you know that, in a short time, the population expanded to 750.

Did you know that after the town was built, Miller sold his store to William Kirkland and erected a hotel, the first of four such establishments to be built in Latrobe?

Did you know that the Latrobe school house was built in 1864?

Did you know that the first teacher was McNaughton?

Did you know that Miller’s Hill School (named after James Miller) was actually built on what was known as Seymour’s Hill?

Did you know that Anna Seymour (later Anna Simas)owned a mile of toll road on Seymour’s Hill?

Student Work

The articles on this page were written and illustrated by some of our past Latrobe students.

How Latrobe Became a Town

townBy Breana
Artwork by Student

Latrobe was founded in 1864, when James Miller gave the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad the right-of-way through his property. F.A. Bishop, chief engineer of the railroad, named the town after Benjamin Henry Latrobe, chief engineer of the B&O Railroad.

In 1863, James Miller left the ranch and built the Miller’s Hotel in order to accommodate pioneer stages. A year later, Miller gave the right-of-way to the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad, the first railroad in the West. The railroad was extended as far as Folsom in 1856 by Theodore Judah, the engineer, Commodore C.K. Garrison, and Captain W. T. Sherman, a civil war general. In 1864, the railroad was extended to Latrobe to help get mining supplies to the gold miners in Amador County.

With the railroad coming to Latrobe, Miller decided to expand his hotel, which was already making one hundred dollars per day. This new hotel, with larger and better accommodations, was two-and-a-half stories tall, closer to the railroad site, and proved to be an extremely successful venture.

The railroad and Miller’s Hotel brought money into the town of Latrobe. Soon, the town was booming with life. The town’s population reached 700-800 people. Along with Miller’s Hotel and the train station, there were about 100 buildings including three general stores, a blacksmith shop, one wagon and carriage factory, two drugstores, a bakery, several butchershops, eleven barns and stables, a steam flour mill, a telegraph and Pony Express office, a two-story schoolhouse, a saloon, the Mason’s Hall, the Odd Fellows Lodge, the Simas Hotel and an ice manufacturing plant.

What Was Life Like?


By Madelyn
Artwork by Joshua

Have you ever wondered what life was like in Latrobe in the 1860’s? I have. What I have imagined life to be like is simple. You would probably get up just as the sun was. You would get dressed and do the morning chores before breakfast. After breakfast, you would set off for school. If you were a lazy scholar, you could get a caning. There were harsh punishments to keep all the scholars in line. At dinner time, you would either go home or eat from your dinner pail. Schools let out much later than they do now. When you got home, you would help with the evening chores, do your homework and go to bed. Some of the chores you would have to do were: milk the cow, see to the chickens, help mother with meals, wipe the dishes, work in the garden, help on baking days, help churn the butter, and help with the plowing and planting. Your parents would have been very strict and, if you didn’t obey orders, they would have given you a couple of swats. So, really, life in the 1860’s wasn’t that different , but yet still different and tougher, than our lives today.

History of Latrobe School


By Joey
Artwork by Austen

I think the history of Latrobe School is very interesting and I’ll tell you some reasons why. It was very different than it is now. There was only one room in the whole school! They split the room: one side for the boys and the other side for girls. The boys and girls didn’t even play together. They had a fence in-between the play ground. The boys and girls had jobs. The boys had to keep the water bucket for drinking full and the girls took towels home to wash.

Here’s what a girl named Laura Egglof remembered….She was in school when the first automobile came through Latrobe. The kids in school were making quite a commotion in class and the teacher asked, “What is the matter?” The kids said, “We think there is a automobile coming into town.” The teacher looked out the window and said, “Class dismissed.” The kids ran to the road to see the auto drive by.

In 1915, there was a fire in Latrobe. The school burned down, so they built a new one (the building that is now the library and the 1st grade classroom), and in 1975 they built the front building (which is now the office, kindergarten and 2nd grade classrooms). In 1983, the student population grew too big for just one school, so they built Miller’s Hill School.

Fire Sweeps Through Latrobe

fireBy Taylor
Artwork by Kelsey

How did the fire happen in 1915? Some people say that children were playing with matches; others say that an older man was using a torch and the wind carried the sparks; people even say that a few kids were smoking behind the school.

On Friday, July 16, 1915, the little town of Latrobe suffered a horrible, gargantuan fire that burned down the train depot, hotel, school house, livery stable and hay barn, John Miller’s garage, warehouse and residence, the post office, John Simas’ blacksmith shop, Muller’s store, the dance hall, and many residences. Let’s just be happy we didn’t live here when that happened. On August 13, 1915, people began rebuilding a new school house, but most of the town vanished with the fire.