Vintage Auburn

Modern phones, train wrecks and a mysterious death

By: Tessa Marguerite, Reporter/Page Designer
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Editor’s note: The following news articles have been taken from the Auburn Journal archives with light editing. To comment on Vintage Auburn, contact staff writer Tessa Marguerite at

10 years ago
Council green-lights 104-room Hampton Inn
July 29, 2008
A three-story, 104-room Hampton Inn & Suites hotel off I-80 and Russell Road in Auburn will soon become a reality.
Auburn City Councilmembers voted unanimously Monday night to deny the appeals of several residents opposed to the project, which sits on a 5.9-acre project site and includes two lots located on the west side of Lincoln Way, south of Russell Road and east of I-80.
Councilman Bob Snyder recused himself from voting on the project because he has “very, very close friends who are nearby property owners.”
The council gave the project the green light following more than two hours of public comment from roughly a dozen residents who spoke out in opposition in support of the project.
“I am not opposed to building a hotel on this property, I am just concerned with how tall the (building) is,” said Auburn resident Richard Munster, one of the project appellants. “I think something could be designed to make (the hotel) fit into the terrain better.”
The $15 million Hampton Inn & Suites, which will include a swimming pool, spa, business center, meeting rooms and a stand-alone pad site for a 6,000-square-foot restaurant, is situated on an oak-filled stretch of underdeveloped land near the Auburn Woods condominiums on Lincoln Way.
The project will also require the removal of approximately 285 trees, which could be mitigated by on-site planning and a payment of $25,775 in-lieu tree mitigation fees for the balance.

30 years ago
Modern phones arrive
July 29, 1988
State of the art telecommunications technology will arrive for Rocklin customers Aug. 6, according to Pacific Bell’s spokesman Veryl Oakland.
That’s the day the company replaces its older electromechanical machinery at the High Street center with an electronic, computer-driven, switching system valued at $3.4 million. The equipment was installed in May and has been under test every since ready for the change-over.
“With the old equipment Rocklin is nearly at serving capacity with under 6,800 lines,” said Oakland. “With the 5ESS, we can serve 9,000 customers immediately.”
Auburn acquired such an electronic switching system eight years ago, he said, but there have been many technological improvements since and the Rocklin system will offer more services.
These include call waiting — customers may take a second call while already talking on the phone; call forwarding — automatically diverts incoming calls to another number; three-way calling — adds third party to an existing conversation without operator’s aid; and speed calling — places calls by dialing one or two-digit only number code.
For business customers, the new system will offer a variety of optional calling features, said Oakland. Customers may buy their own switching equipment for these now, but it is expensive and soon becomes obsolete. Using the Pacific Bell service, customers can choose specific features and change and add to them as they please.
Housed in banks of blue and grey covered plastic, the new electronics take up about a fifth the space of the old mechanical equipment which reaches to the ceiling in row after row. The old gear will be moved out to make space for the new.

50 years ago
Train wrecks police car during search for handcuffed escapee
July 25, 1968
A heavily-armed posse of sheriff’s officers and police flushed an 18-year-old State Youth Authority parolee from a field near Sheridan late Monday, some 48 hours after he fled in handcuffs from a deputy who had arrested him on suspicion of burglary.
A short burst from a submachine gun fired by Deputy Eric Engellener was all that needed to prompt Steven Allen Morgan of Lincoln to throw up his hands and surrender. He made no attempt to use a .357 magnum revolver which he allegedly stole from a home of rancher Clarence States of Sheridan a half hour earlier.
Morgan’s capture came as a welcome event to Engellener, who fired the tommygun burst into the air.
On Saturday afternoon, Engellener and Lincoln officers took Morgan into custody in connection with a burglary in the Lincoln area. He was handcuffed and taken to his home where, with his consent, officers began a search of the premises.
Wearing Engellener’s handcuffs in front of him, Morgan reportedly bolted out the rear door and escaped on foot. A small-scale manhunt began and continued until his arrest.
Other officers in on the capture were Sheriff’s Lt. J. D. Rapisarda, Sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Nute and a detachment of Lincoln police headed by Chief Robert Jiminez. They arrived in the field after officers fired several rifle shots at the fleeing suspect who had managed to saw the handcuffs apart during his escape.

70 years ago
Georgetown Masonic Hall burns down
July 29, 1948
The Masonic Hall of Georgetown, El Dorado County, was destroyed by fire early yesterday morning, and the unique “roving charter,” issued to the lodge in 1853, was said to have been destroyed.
The lodge’s priceless 96-year-old regalia of velvet embroidered with silver and jewels of hand-engraved silver were saved.
The roving charter, one of four of its kind in the world, and the only one in California, enabled meetings to be held at any point within five miles of Georgetown, an early day minding camp. The charter was issued May 5, 1853.
The large wooden frame building, construction of which was begun shortly after the fire of 1852, had been used exclusively by Georgetown Lodge No. 25, F. and A.M. and Mountain Fern Chapter No. 62, Order of Eastern Star.
Lodge officials estimate the loss at $25,000. Because of the absence of wind it was possible to save the Shannon-Knox residence, built in 1852, which remains the city’s oldest building.
Fire Chief Harry Gravelle, recently released from a hospital after an operation, directed the fire fighting. After the fire, his physician ordered him returned to the hospital.
Gravelle had been operated upon at the Highlands General Hospital in Auburn, July 10, and received a blood transfusion from city police officer James Kaufman of Auburn.

90 years ago
Appleton’s death involved in suit
July 26, 1928
Asserting his belief that Earl Appleton, well-known Newcastle orchardist met an accidental death last May, Frank F. Atkinson, Sacramento attorney, who is executor of the estate, last Friday petitioned the Superior Court for permission to engage attorneys to try to collect $5,000 claimed due from the Associated Insurance Company of California on an accident policy.
Earl Appleton, Jr., six, is the beneficiary. It is stated that the insurance company has refused to pay the value of the policy or any part of it over to Atkinson.
Appleton was found dead in his bathroom on the ranch near Newcastle early last May. He left a note asserting that he had been “doped” and blaming C. R. Lowell and C. K. Longton of Sacramento. They were taken into custody and held there a few days, but released after a chemist’s report showed no trace of poison in the stomach. It later developed that in the opinion of Dr. J. G. Mackay, who made the autopsy, death was caused by a blow on the head.
Appleton’s estate has been estimated at $50,000 by Atkinson in a preliminary report to the court. His son is the sole beneficiary.
Mrs. Clara Appleton, widow of the deceased, has been allowed $150 a month by the court as maintenance for herself and son.