Did you know… | SierraSun.com

Did you know…

Sierra Sun file photoThe pedestal of the monument to the Donner Party at the memorial state park in Truckee was built to the estimated level of the deepest snowpack in the fateful winter of 1846-47.

The pedestal of the monument statue at Donner Memorial State Park is 22.5 feet high, the estimated height of the maximum snow depth at Donner Lake during the fateful winter of 1847.

This depth has been debated by historians, however, with some evidence pointing to a slightly lower snowpack. But, no matter the actual measurements, the Donner Party emigrants met their fate due to a deep, early snowpack over the Sierra summit.

Charles F. McGlashan, who owned the Truckee Republican ” a predecessor to the Sierra Sun ” measured a cut stump from the winter at 22 feet, 6 inches, which was used for the monument.

However, the diary of Patrick Breen from the winter of 1846-47 indicates a snow level of no more than 15 to 20 feet, throwing into question the validity of the monument’s snow level.

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