El Dorado County Hospital Cemetery
* [also known as the County Cemetery and Pestilence House Cemetery]
The hospital had originally been used as a hotel called the ‘Broadway House’ in Upper Placerville (see illustration *) and was replaced in 1862 by a handsome set of buildings set on eight acres on Quartz Hill where it is presently located. These buildings comprised a main hospital, ‘out-patient clinic’ or infirmary, pest house (isolation ward) and residences. These large and comfortable buildings served the county well until they were burned in 1912, rebuilt, and partially burned again in 1924. The eight acres were used not only to produce food stuffs for the patients but were also the scene of a great deal of gold mining activity. The fabulous Mother Lode turns directly under the grounds and many placer and lode-gold mining claims were filed here during the 1850’s to 1870’s as the rush to develop deep mines began.
The hospital was closed in 1974 and the building replaced. The remaining one acre parcel where the cemetery can be found today sits above the Health Department on Spring Street in downtown Placerville. The cemetery was used mostly for people who died at the County Hospital and did not have the funds or family to arrange for burial in other cemeteries.
The cemetery was established around 1855 and the last burial was in 1934. The exact number of plots is unknown. The records are incomplete due to fires in the early 1900’s that destroyed many of the burial records. Ground Penetrating Radar has revealed over 170 possible burials left on the hillside. However, burials were found near Tunnel Street when the street was widened in the 1960’s. It is possible there were close to 600 burials perhaps more in this cemetery. There are only 22 metal markers with numbers stamped on them remaining on the site. The earliest markers were of wood and in the 1900’s some slate markers may have been placed. None of these remain. The site today is basically a field of grass, trees and brush on a hill behind the Senior Center.
Illustration from "The History of El Dorado County Hospital by Mother Lode Medical Center Auxiliary and published by the El Dorado County Museum in 1974, page 3". The History of the El Dorado County Hosipital - 1855 - 1974 ~ Copies sold at the County Museum for $1.00
931-939 Spring Street
Placerville CA 95667
Pestilence House Cemetery Layout Drawing
Assessor's Parcel Map