Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Bill Davies, 62, who lives near Lake Almanor, Calif., walks past a collapsed structure with his dog in Seneca, Calif. Davies loves this land. He grew up in this area.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

The back road to Seneca, Calif., six miles of dirt and gravel above the Feather River.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A bullet-riddled road sign. "Drunk hunters, probably," Bill Davies says.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Jessica Hurdt of Marysville, Calif., balances on a wet log over the Feather River as she tours the area.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

All that's left on the property that's for sale is the bar, dilapidated cabins and a few abandoned motor homes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Locals, from left, Rich Stewart, 64, a dog named Jojo, Lisa Phillips, 43, Craig Phillips, 54, and Garn Pringle, 67, all of Chester, Calif., talk during an open house in Seneca.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Chris Cartwright, 49, and his wife, who own some nearby resort properties, visit the Gin Mill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Garn Pringle, 67, left, of Chester, Calif., plays the out of tune piano, as Jan Goodman, right, takes photos inside the Gin Mill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Tawnia Cartwright, 45, left, of Lake Almanor, Calif., stirs her drink with her finger as property owner Jerry Manpearl, 70, right, of Santa Monica stands behind the bar in the Gin Mill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

The walls at the Gin Mill are blanketed with business cards attached by visitors from as far as Long Beach. Someone also left a hat, which is fastened to the ceiling.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

The road to Seneca ends in a clearing, home to a weathered bar called the Gin Mill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Jerry Manpearl, 70, of Santa Monica is co-owner the Gin Mill bar in Seneca. He held an open house in hopes of selling the property.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Emily Roberts of Colusa, Calif., holds her dog as she walks out the back door of the Gin Mill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Leaves have fallen through the collapsed roof of one of the abandoned structures in Seneca.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Pine needles pile up on the windshield of an abandoned motor home in Seneca.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

The ghost town of Seneca has captured the imagination of many, thanks to an ad on Craigslist.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

The outside walls of the Gin Mill are covered with visitors' business cards and crusted fire protection gel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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California ghost town for sale

By Chris Megerian

The road to the abandoned gold mining town of Seneca, Calif. is six miles long, mostly dirt and gravel, snaking along a ridge hundreds of feet above the north fork of the Feather River.

The road ends in a clearing, where a plaque declares that “gold was found in 1851 and a wild mining town was born,” with a nearby post office, hotel, blacksmith and a steady supply of gold-hungry miners.

These days, it’s home to three dilapidated cabins, some sheds, a few old motor homes and a weathered bar called the Gin Mill, where for nearly six decades a tiny woman named Marie Sabin served up beer chilled in a gas-powered refrigerator.

The bar and the surrounding 10 acres are for sale, and what the place lacks in comfort and accessibility it makes up for with a colorful history stretching back to the Gold Rush of the 1850s and the desperate days of the Great Depression.

The allure is owning a remote slice of California that’s in no rush to shake off its rugged past.

Full story: Craigslist ad makes gold country ghost town a hot property

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