Weimar Institute walk - January 2021

return to index

On the first day of the year, nine of us had a brief but enjoyable walk at the Weimar Institute property, located a few miles east of Auburn, Ca., in the Sierra foothills, at elevation 2,200 ft.   

At the start of our walk it was chilly, but rolling hills topography soon warms you up. We had changeable skies, a blend of overcast light and moments of sunshine finding us. 

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

irrigation flume   pine needles in  Manzanita trees winter sunbeam on Jean
  the fern-like ground-cover is called "mountain misery" feint sunshine in winter Manzanita tunnel  
Linda & grandson Dominic his friend Liam showing us a special purchase after the break
    a "potter's field", Cemetery, in a woods      
Rich's photo wood & brass marker        

The cemetery here is vast, covering acres of somewhat open woods. About 1,500 people are interred here, mostly TB victims.   

Starting a hundred years ago (1920s) the Weimar Joint Sanitorium was established as a Public facility, to take care of TB patients, funded by fifteen (mostly) local California Counties. 

At peak occupancy, in 1948, there were 550 patients, in 24 buildings, with a support & admin staff of 300, a substantial operation. No surprise that the Sanitorium became the major source of employment in surrounding communities.

The WJS remained a TB facility until 1957, when cures for TB became available, and then it gradually morphed into a general hospital, operating until the 1970s. 

The cemetery here is referred to as a "potter's field", a term with Biblical origins (see below), which often means a burial site for indigent or unknown persons.  

Here it means that instead of having individual grave stones, each burial site has a 2x6 inch wood post and a mounted brass disc with an assigned location number. The last photo above shows this. Of course, all you need to manage this is a database and maps.....

Apparently, following the closure of the medical facility, some burial records were lost, resulting in confusion for relatives of those buried here, for decades.  

In 2012, the Colfax Area Historical Society (with help from members of local VFW Post 2003 & American Legion Post 192) created a Project to search Placer County records, which Project successfully recovered the missing data as to who is buried where. 

The Cemetery is now part of the Colfax Cemetery District, and the online database is GPS linked, so you can easily look up or be guided to the site of a distant relative who was buried here.   

The overall 450 acre property is in the hands of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and a few partner agencies.  The impressive lodges & admin. buildings remain in use, and appear to be well-kept. 

after lunch, a  group photo interesting light  Dominic  
  local irrigation district water supply outdoors on NYD 2021 Rich  
  the flume again / stylish Institute residence  

We were out for three hours, getting in maybe four miles of walking, which included a few extended uphill grades. One trail was named Cardiac Hill, another the Cardiac Bypass Trail, and, we saw a Mountain Misery trail. 

There are a lot of walking trails here, the group generally doing a perimeter loop, mainly on the Frontier Trail.   

note - about the term Potter's Field & its Biblical origins - In the New Testament, the Pharisees at the Temple in Jerusalem used the 30 pieces of silver that Judas Iscariot threw at them, in disgust, just before he hung himself, for having betrayed Jesus Christ to his enemies....um....to purchase a 'potter's field', or land where the poor could be buried, and the rarely-used term has been handed down & used, ever since. 

(Info here is from Wikipedia and other online sources.) 

return to index