August 18, 2002 - Stirling California Landmarks ~ 1912

Stirling, California - Stirling City is a small community of history and heritage located on the upper Paradise Ridge. The last major populated place on the Skyway with a population around 400. It was a late starter beginning in 1901, although some say it may have been 1903, by Columbus Barber owner of Diamond Match in Barberton, Ohio.

Barber had come west seeking wood for his matches. It was said the wood was to soft for matches, but construction of the sawmill began in 1904 supervised by Fred Haskins. The mill was completed with its first full season in 1905.

The name Stirling City was chosen by Fred Clough from a brand of steam boiler used at the mill built in Barberton by the Stirling Boiler Company. Fred Clough along with many Diamond officials, as stockholders, ventured into various businesses which included the Stirling City Mercantile Company and the Stirling City Bank. In 1911 the bank was robbed of $9,000 with the robbers making their escape down the ridge via a railroad handcar.

As a thriving community it included a hospital named Mount Saint Agnes Hospital run by the Catholic Order, Sisters of Charity.

By the middle of the 1950's most of the millworkers and their families had left the area. The aging sawmill no longer was meeting the company's needs and its closing came January 31, 1958. It was sold to Pollak Steel Supply for dismantling but they didn't get much to salvage as on April 10 the mill caught fire burning the entire mill area and some of the adjacent timberland. This was the second major fire, the first being in April 1931 which destroyed many homes and businesses although the mill and lumber piles were saved.

The streets are uniquely named after minerals and trees and are in the order of their hardness. The 7 mineral streets are Diamond, Quartz, Granite, Lava, Slate, Mica, and Gypsum. The streets named after trees are Manzanita, Oak, Pine, and Spruce.

These postcard images from Stirling California are dated from 1912.  The first is the Manor Hotel.  It burned down in 1931.

Manor Hotel, Stirling California ~ 1912
Manor Hotel, Stirling California ~ 1912

The match factory began operation in 1904.  This postcard image is dated from 1912.

D.M. Co. Sawmill, Stirling, California ~ 1912
D.O. Co Sawmill, Stirling California ~ 1912

Diamond Match Company Sawmill - 1904
Diamond Match Co Sawmill in 1904.