In June, 1864, the Chico and Humboldt Wagon Road Company began to construct a road to connect Chico with the Idaho mines. A toll station for the Chico and Humboldt Wagon Road stood nearby to the left.
A Georgian, Nick Spires, is said to have built the first accommodation here on the rim of Little Chico Creek Canyon for travelers and their livestock. The name longest associated with the popular inn is Paul Lucas, who bought the land from Spires. His son John built a fine two-story hotel. A slaughter house provided the inn with beef grown on the Lucas Ranch on Little Chico Creek. Orchards and gardens provided fruit and vegetables. A good spring gave plenty of water.
The hide house, adjacent to the slaughter house off to the right, had use as a school for Chico Canyon children after 1917. Folklore tells us that Nick Spires' black slave, who came with him from Georgia, lived on at the 14 Mile House after emancipation and is buried at the site of the old gardens.Soon after the turn of the 20th century, the toll house was moved four miles north, nearer today's Forest Ranch. The last remaining 14 Mile House building, the old barn, disappeared in the 1960s.This sign erected in memory of Dorothy J. Hills, Chico Historian.
Association of Northern California Records and Research