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Town History

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The town of Pulga was born from a rich, colorful history. The indigenous Concow Maidu people were the first to thrive in this Northern Feather River Canyon, feasting on plentiful salmon, hunting deer, and foraging the lush landscape. Then the early 1800’s brought the new American settlers, who came in search of land and a stake in the gold rush. The Gramps and King families rose to contribute to the most prolific history of this time, as this North Fork of the Feather River was surveyed for railways, the wagon trail was laid nearby, and the abundance of mining prospect began creating a palpable excitement in the region. 

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In 1904 William King solidified his stake in the region by establishing a company town known as Big Bar on the land that is now Pulga. The enterprising King family founded a post office, followed by a school and a company store, to provide for the several hundred men who had come to live and work the land. In 1914 William King then filed for a homestead of 61 acres of the property; running irrigation, electric lights, a sawmill, cattle, and a 10-acre garden. It was in 1916 that Pulga (Spanish for "flea") was christened with its new name.  Due to confusion with a nearby town that shared the moniker Big Bar, the Western Pacific railroad gifted the new name, a reference to its position at the mouth of Flea Valley Creek. 

Pulga thrived on the success of the railway, infrastructure, and mining operations, becoming a bustling community that stretched well into the mid 20th century. But by 1960 traffic had dwindled, the post office closed, and soon after the school followed. The town was reclaimed for use by the King family, who maintained their claim to the land. The cabins were used for family vacations and retreats until the late 60’s when in the midst of the counterculture movement, Pulga’s close approximation to the Bay Area brought artisans, musicians and beatniks to town. The new residents relished its quaint charm and transformed it into an eclectic gathering place. 

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In 1994 the family collectively sold the property, passing on the legacy to a new institution. It became the Mystic Valley retreat, a sought after getaway for those seeking respite from the city with interests in meditation and hypnotherapy. As the new owners and the property aged, many of the buildings fell into disrepair and in need of substantial restoration. 

In March of 2015, ownership changed hands once again and the laborious task of rehabilitating the historic town was underway. A blossoming new mythology was initiated, accompanied by the friends and artists that have collectively helped breathe new life into the strong roots of the once ramshackle gold mining town of Pulga.

Come join us in writing the new chapters of this old town. For the history aficionado or novice alike, please inquire for a full copy of our detailed history during your stay.