A lot of us Californians like to hit the open road, explore miles of highway and venture off onto some back roads. Sometimes, we come across towns with some pretty bizarre and surprising names. For this installment in our series “A Place Called What?!” we head to Happy Camp in Siskiyou County. Know an unusual place name in California? Tell us about it in the comments below, or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claudia East says Happy Camp wasn't always so happy. In fact, in the early 1850s, the town was known as Murderer's Bar.
East, who lives about two hours away from Happy Camp, says there were gold miners in the area who mined through very harsh winters. Then, newcomers came and, according to East, "they didn't know what the winters were going to be like."
Tension and conflict between the resident gold miners and the newcomers quickly grew.
"Supplies were fought over," East says, "as well as perhaps the gold digging areas. There must have been some death."