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Helltown

Helltown is one of the earliest mining camps in Butte Creek Canyon. It was established in the early 1850's. During it's peak it had a population of about 2,000 people.

The children went to school in a private school, with a hired teacher. Books and supplies were scarce and the children had to take turns studying and supply their own paper and pencils. Starting 1872 the children went to Centerville School.

Mr. Nesbit owned the merchandise store, and Mr Tibbet from England build a large hotel 'Ligacy Hall'. There was also a blacksmith and several saloons.

John Nicholl came west to Helltown, by way of Oregon Gulch. He raised stock, and had a family orchard of oranges, figs, pears, peaches, plums, persimmons, pawpaw and apple trees. On a hill in front of the Nicholl's home is the family cemetary, which is still there today.

Helltown was home to several poets. Pres Longley was considered the leading poet of Helltown.

A short way up the Canyon there was the mining camp of Boneyard Flat. According to Pres Longley it had been an Indian burial ground. The approximately 300 Indians that lived in the Canyon were the Nimshew and Slamshews.

Another mining camp above Helltown was Whiskey Flats. Records tell that an Englishman, named Booker, opened a store in 1852. When he left Whiskey Flats he went to San Francisco and was the British Consul for many years.

There were many other flats: Paradise Flat, Arkansas Flat, Cook's Flat, Cox's Flat, Reeve's Flat, and Cowles Flat

To learn more about Helltown visit the Centerville Colman Memorial Community Museum.

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