Once referred to as Pine Ridge, Shaver Lake, California was founded in the late 1800’s. Logging, ranching, and hydroelectric power industries drove the development of this community. Lewis P. Swift and Charles B. Shaver explored the Shaver Lake, CA, area in early 1891 and decided to join forces to build and operate the Shaver sawmill in the late 1890’s to supply lumber to Fresno, Clovis, and the surrounding communities such as Auberry, Prather, Tollhouse, Friant, Pineridge, Big Creek, and Lakeshore. They later built a flume that traveled from Shaver to Clovis, allowing them to move sawn wood down the steep grades of Pine Ridge with minimal expense. This flume is still standing in numerous locations around the Shaver Lake area. The Shaver Mill operated for twenty-six years. To this day it was one of the largest mills operating in Fresno County, cutting a total of 450 million board feet of lumber. The hydroelectric power industry began in this area when visionary John S. Eastwood started work in 1895 on the first powerhouse, located in the Willow Creek area. His company, the San Joaquin Electric Company, began providing power to Fresno a year later. Many people believed his ideas were too far-fetched. Unfortunately, he went bankrupt in 1899 because he lacked backup generating facilities and capital. Determined to make his visions work, he went out scouting suitable sites for a vast hydroelectric system consisting of a series of reservoirs connected by a network of tunnels, allowing water to be reused continuously as it dropped down the mountainside. Eastwood turned to Southern California Edison (SCE), a developer that would be able to put his plans into action. SCE began the project in 1910 and finished it on October 23, 1927 with completion of the Shaver Lake, CA, dam. Months later, SCE’s hydroelectric system was in operation. A year later Shaver Lake reservoir was full, providing unlimited recreational activities for generations to come. For further history on Shaver Lake you can visit the Central Valley Historical Society, located in the Village or read Reflections of Shaver Lake by Gene Rose.
For more information on local Shaver Lake history please visit the following websites:
Visit the following website for more information on history in the Big Creek area:
If you have any questions, please contact Greg Judd of Guarantee Real Estate, Shaver Lake. Greg is your licensed California Realtor and real estate agent specializing in mountain and resort properties.