Donner Party Camp at Alder Creek ValleyIn the Fall of 1846, 25 Members of The Donner Party became Trapped by an Early Snowstorm here at Alder Creek Valley. The George and Jacob Donner Families, their Teamsters, and Fellow Travelers Suffered Extreme Hardship and Starvation. They Spent the Winter Here Cut Off from the Rest of Their Party who Camped at Donner Lake. Only 11 Survived the Ordeal. Their Survival, Against Desperate Odds, Stands as a Testament to the Enduring Pioneer Spirit the Helped Shape the Future of California.
Dedicated on September 28, 1996
by the Tahoe National Forest to Commemorate
the 150th Anniversary of the Donner Party Tradgedy
Tamsen and Elizabeth DonnerThey gave unselfishly, their fortunes and their lives that their children should survive.
Near this site, in the winter of 1846, two pioneer women gave up their lives for their families. Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner feared their many children could not survive the ravages of cold and starvation when the party was caught in an early blizzard. They provided care and comfort to their families and companions throughout the snowbound winter, desperately trying to prevent the death of their loved ones. Both lost their lives. However, most of their children survived to carry their mothers' dreams of new life and new beginnings to the valleys of California. The summit that they never crossed now bears their family name.
An inspiration to all who followed their footsteps across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we herein honor the memory and the sacrifices of these women. Their struggle to survive, enduring hardships we can barely imagine, remains a legacy of the pioneer spirit. On this the 150th anniversary of their tragic encampment, the Chief Truckee Chapter of E Clampus Vitus dedicates this monument to their spirit and the preservation of their memory that we not forget the sacrifices they made in opening California to its destiny.