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California Historical Landmarks in Nevada County

California Historical Landmark 292
Lola Montez Home
248 Mill Street
Grass Valley

California Historical Landmark #292: Lola Montez Home
15 December 2005
(Click Photo to Zoom)

 
Home of Lola Montez

Lola was born in Limerick, Ireland on July 3, 1818, as María Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert. After living in England and on the continent, Lola came to New York in 1851 and settled in Grass Valley in 1852. It was here she built the only home she ever owned and became friends with Lotta Crabtree, who lived up the street. Lola died January 17, 1861 and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, New York.

Citation from California Office of Historic Preservation

Lola Montez

Lola Montez (1847)
Painted by Joseph Karl Stieler for the Schönheitengalerie
Of Ludwig I of Bavaria
 

With her sensational spider dance, Lola burst upon San Francisco like a bombshell, making excellent copy for the newspapers with stories of her many marriages and her claim that she was the illegitimate daughter of Lord Byron.

Offstage she dressed in the Byronic mode, wearing black jackets and wide rolling collars. Bronze-skinned, blue-eyed, she made a striking appearance strolling along the San Francisco streets, with two greyhounds on a leash and an enormous parrot upon her shoulder. She constantly smoked small cigars, forced her way into gambling saloons forbidden to women, and played tenpins with any male daring enough to take her on.

A tigress," said one newspaper writer, "the very comet of her sex."

Lola's celebrated spider dance shocked and titillated her audiences; the spiders were ingenious contraptions made of rubber, cork, and whalebone.

She gave a spectacular benefit for an audience of San Francisco firemen, and they showered the stage with their fancy helmets and almost smothered her with enormous bouquets of flowers.

Source: The Gentle Tamers: Women of the Old West by Dee Brown, 1958.

Some Missing California Plaques

When we visited the following sites, we were unable to locate a California commemorative plaque.

At some sites, it appeared that a California plaque had never been erected. At other sites, there was a base, but the plaque itself was missing. Some sites without California plaques had other historic markers, but they did not note that the site is a California Historical Landmark.

Adams and Company Building, Sacramento
Bear Valley, Mariposa County
Big Bar, Amador and Calaveras Counties
Birthplace of Freemasonry in California , San Francisco
Booth Home Site, Sacramento
Brown Home, Red Bluff

Bloody Point, Modoc County
Bonner Grade, Modoc County
Brannan House, Sacramento
Butte Store, Amador County
California Star Newspaper Site, San Francisco

Chevra Kaddisha Cemetery, Sacramento
China Slough Site, Sacramento
Condemned Bar, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Crabtree (Lotta) Home, Grass Valley
Crocker Gallery, Sacramento

Donner Monument, Truckee
Douglas Flat, Calaveras County
Eagle Theatre, Sacramento
Ebbetts Pass, Alpine County
Ebner's Hotel, Sacramento

Evans and Bailey Fight, Modoc County
Fort Janesville, Lassen County
Frémont's Camp, Modoc County
Frog Woman Rock, Mendocino County
Giant Powder Company Site, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco and Marin Counties
Hornitos, Mariposa County
Irishtown, Amador County
Jackson Gate, Amador County
Kirkwood's, Amador County

Lady Adams Building, Sacramento
Laurel Hill Cemetery Site, San Francisco
Long Wharf Site, San Francisco
Maiden's Grave, El Dorado National Forest
Marklee's Cabin Site, Markleeville

Methodist Episcopal Church, Placerville
Mills Bank Building, Sacramento
Montez (Lola) Home, Grass Valley
Negro Hill, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Old Emigrant Trail, Modoc National Forest

Orleans Hotel Site, Sacramento
Overton Building, Sacramento
Parrott Block Site, San Francisco
Pioneer Hall, Jackson
Plymouth Trading Post, Plymouth

Pony Express Remount Station, Woodfords
Portolá Camp October 24-26, 1769), San Gregorio State Beach
Portolá Camp October 28-29, 1769), Half Moon Bay
Rincon Hill, San Francisco
Sacramento Bee Building, Sacramento

Sacramento Union Site, Sacramento
Sailing Launch Comet, Lathrop
Salmon Falls, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
San Joaquin City Site, Tracy
Smartsville, Yuba County

Stage Coach and Railroad, Sacramento
Stone Corral, Calaveras County
Studebaker's Shop, Placerville
Sutter Creek, Amador County
Telegraph Hill, San Francisco

Transcontinental Railroad, Lathrop
Willms Ranch, Knights Ferry
Valley Springs, Calaveras County
Western Hotel, Sacramento

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