Likely beginning about 10,000 years ago, several different groups of the early peoples lived in and around Dunsmuir. Each of these earliest groups moved on, or were pushed out by new incoming groups. By the mid-1800’s, it was a tribe known as the Okwanuchu who called the area around Dunsmuir home. During the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800’s, this land got its first permanent residents. One group was the Tauhindauli family (pronounced “Tau-in-dolly”), Wintu Native Americans who came here from the Trinity River to escape attacks on Indigenous peoples by the incoming Americans. The other group was the McCloud-Masson family who protected the Tauhindauli family from attack and who owned and operated the Upper Soda Springs Resort they built here.
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For about 10,000 years, people have walked where you are walking now. The first humans to walk here likely followed the West Coast of North America, and then the rivers of Washington and Oregon south, slowly making their way from Alaska and Canada over thousands of years. The climate was much colder in those years and the Siskiyou Mountains were a barrier crossing into California. However, once those early hunter-gatherers found the Sacramento River here, they could follow the Sacramento River Canyon south to places that were warmer and more fertile, and where you are standing now became a regularly-traveled path for thousands of years as one group after another passed through.
As these different groups of people passed through, they paused at seasonal campsites along the river here during the salmon runs. By about 1000 years ago, lands to the north had permanent settlements by the Shasta tribe, and lands to the south had permanent settlements by the recently-arrived Wintu tribe. The area around Dunsmuir was the range of the small Okwanuchu tribe, who moved with the seasons from temporary location to temporary location.
The discovery of gold in California in 1848 brought yet another transition. Beginning in the 1850’s, two families made this place their permanent home—the first people to do so. One family, the Tauhindauli family, were Trinity River Wintu who had been living thirty miles away on the Trinity River, and who came here seeking safety from attacks. The other family, the McCloud-Masson family, were Americans who protected the Tauhindauli family from harm, and who operated an inn here and then a resort, called the Upper Soda Springs Resort.
From the 1850’s to the 1960’s, three generations of the Tauhindauli family and five generations of the McCloud-Masson family lived here on the property of the Resort.