NAME: Big Oak Flat
COUNTY: Tuolumne
GRID #(see map): 3
CLIMATE: Mild winter, hot summer
Winter, fall, spring
COMMENTS: Just off Highway 49 and 120 junction, Semi-ghost.
REMAINS: Many original buildings.
It is interesting how some towns of the early West came by their names. In the case of Big Oak Flat, the name was derived from a huge oak tree on an otherwise vacant flat. The tree was said to be the largest oak in the state of California with a diameter of thirteen feet at the base. The town, originally known as "Savage's Diggings," after a James Savage discovered the site, yielded a total of more than $25 million in gold -one of the richest diggings of the Mother Lode. Although the giant oak no longer stands, it was destroyed by mining operations, a memorial to the giant oak is protected by iron grillwork as a safeguard against vandals. Big Oak Flat had a population of 3,000 at its peak and can be found on highway 120 east of Moccasin Creek on highway 49. Submitted by Henry Chenoweth.