Post Office Box 801
Rough & Ready, California 95975
Rough and Ready
Chamber of Commerce
Rough and Ready had two trees, unfortunately both long gone, that figured in the history of the town.
One was a huge Cork Elm that was planted in front of what is now the Post Office. Planted in 1894, in its shade sat 2 huge timbers, which came to be known as “the Liar’s Bench”, where Rough and Ready residents sat to exchange tall tales in their spare time. The tree died and had to be cut down in 1996, but the remaining six foot tall stump became a chain saw carving of a prospector called “Ol’ Bill”. View Ol’ Bill on our home page. Unfortunately, Ol’ Bill succumbed to termites in early 2014. His remains are now on view in the Fippin Blacksmith Shop.
The second tree, a giant cottonwood shown in the photo, was started in 1851 by the slave girl Caroline Allen, when she stuck her cottonwood switch into the ground while hitching her horse at the blacksmith shop. Caroline, her father, Frank, and about 50 others were brought to Rough and Ready as slaves to work a mine in the Randolph Flat area owned by Col. William English. Caroline liked her spirits and frequented the hotel saloon across the street, where bartender J.M. Walling would often provide her with a free drink. It was on one of these trips that she stuck her switch into the wet ground, where it took root and grew to a 75 foot tall giant, dubbed “The Slave Girl Tree”. It fell in 1962.
The Slave Girl Tree with the Fippin Blacksmith Shop (l) and Fischer's Saloon (r). (1948)