Charles Fiske

 

Charles Fiske (or Fisk) was born in Vermont in 1813, and operated a store in Old Town, Maine for many years.  He and his wife, Mary Ann (Eaton) had 13 children.  Charles’ older brother Royal was a merchant in California, and although Charles wrote that he wished to see “fancy places,” he felt he couldn’t uproot his family.

But the lure of California finally became too strong.  About 1863 Charles followed in the his older brother to California. Drawn by the lure of Silver Mountain City, then a booming mining camp, Charles settled in Silver Mountain and erected the Fisk Hotel: three stories tall, and one of the town’s earliest and finest hotels.

Silver Mountain City, ca. 1867. The Fiske Hotel is the tall building at lower right.
Silver Mountain City, ca. 1867. The Fiske Hotel is the tall building at lower right.

When Alpine County was formed the following year, Charles Fisk became one of its earliest officials, serving as Public Administrator and county coroner. Not surprisingly he also invested in the local silver mines, purchasing stock in the Mammoth and other claims.  Royal Fisk, the more practical brother, chided him about “dabbling” in the mines, noting that those who did so “have in almost every instance come out second-best.”

Charles’ wife Mary Ann was said to be “ill a good deal of the time,” and daughter Mary Jane Fiske was described as the “presiding genius” of the hotel in 1864. Both Mary Jane and her brother Fred also worked setting type in the local newspaper office, the Alpine Chronicle. Fred would go on to run his own newspaper, the Eureka Daily Leader, in Eureka, Nevada.

Silver Mountain’s winters were long and bitterly cold. The Fiske family would close up their hotel to spend the winter months at the lower elevation of Murphys, and by 1873 it appears that Charles and Mary Ann had moved to Murphys for good.  Charles opened a store there and his youngest son, Frank, became local postmaster and would serve on the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors for 14 years, beginning in 1886.

Charles Fisk is likely the older man, third from left, in front of his store in Murphys.
Charles Fisk is likely the older man, fourth from left, in front of his store in Murphys.

Mary Ann passed away in 1893, and Charles in 1896.  They are buried

Gravestone of Charles Fisk at Murphys.
Gravestone of Charles Fisk at Murphys.

in the old Murphys graveyard, along with many of their children and grandchildren.

Charles' wife, Mary Ann Eaton Fisk, died in 1893.
Charles’ wife, Mary Ann Eaton Fisk, died in 1893.

As for for the Fisk Hotel in Silver Mountain, it was disassembled in 1885 and moved to Markleeville to serve guests at the local hot springs.  This wonderful old building still graces the corner of Main Street and Montgomery, as a restaurant/bar.  So if you happen to visit the historic town of Markleeville, you can still step inside Charles Fisk’s amazing Fisk Hotel!

Black Bean Succotash

It’s summer . . . and time for picnic-on-the-back-porch fare!  This quick and easy recipe takes just minutes to prepare, and uses all the good things of the season: fresh corn, cilantro, avocado, and of course, tomatoes!

If you have a sous-chef in the household, put them to work crisping the corn tortillas while you do the chopping.

Fresh cilantro makes this meatless meal sing!
Fresh cilantro makes this easy meatless meal sing!

Recipe (serves two):

  • 1 ear fresh corn, boiled and sliced off the cob
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • red onion and fresh cilantro, chopped (to taste)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • sour cream (optional)

Fry 4 corn tortillas one at a time in olive oil, until crispy.  Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Top tortillas with black beans, corn, avocado, and tomato; garnish with cilantro and sour cream.  Add a spritz of black pepper if desired.

 

Food Fun

Saute onions and beets together
Gotta love pink onions!

I’ve always loved vegetables.  But spiralizing them adds a new dimension to cooking.  I haven’t had so much fun with food since my sisters and I engaged in a cookie dough-throwing contest!  (Mom did not approve).  Spiralizing makes vegetables just plain fun.

Good food is beautiful — and doesn’t this just look good enough to eat!

The finished product!
Lunch is on!

For the recipe, click Here.