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  image of wagon trainGreen Springs Ranch

In the early years of El Dorado County, weary travelers on the Overland Trail and local miners would stop at Rufus Hitchcock’s Green Springs House; an inn and supply stop along the Old Coloma Road. Hitchcock settled the area in 1848 and operated the inn until his death in 1851. That same year, William Dormody arrived in the gold country from the Midwest, where he had established himself as a successful merchant and businessman. Dormody, a native of County Kilkenny, Ireland, opened stores in Georgetown, Coloma, and Kelsey. He also purchased the approximately 1000-acre Green Springs Ranch, at auction, in 1854 for $6,400. The ranch was a popular retreat for travelers, especially on hot summer days, and became a favorite location for weddings and other festivities.

In January of 1856, Dormody married the sister of one of his employee’s; Sara Francis Norton, who was eighteen years old when she married the sixty year old Dormody. The couple settled on the Green Springs Ranch and by their tenth anniversary, had eight children. In September of 1876, Dormody died from injuries received in an accident where he lost control of his team and crashed his wagon. He was buried at St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Folsom. Sarah Dormody died 26 years later and was buried beside her late husband.

In 1956, Howard Greehalgh purchased Green Springs Ranch from the Dormody estate and in 1976 the property was divided into several parcels. The Green Springs Ranch Rural Development, with 107 ranchettes, sits on one of the largest parcels.

Green Springs Ranch is located at the intersection of Deer Valley Road and Green Valley Road. It is one of the oldest documented pioneer settlements in El Dorado County and remnants of the old Coloma Road can still be seen near the entrance to the ranch.


Source submitted for publication by Markus Kleinhans of The Rescue Historical Society
Edited by Stephanie Bishop, El Dorado County I.S. Dept. - 2003