History of Higgins Fire District and Higgins Corner
These volunteers, staff and CDF personnel made it all happen in South Nevada County in the early years.
1976 – Upon the recent opening of the Lake of the Pines Membership Community, a group of concerned citizens formed a Steering Committee to explore creating a local year-around fire service. Prior to that, the California Department of Forestry (CDF) only staffed the Higgins Corner station during the summer fire season
1978 – A Special Services (Fire) District was formed in order to collect taxes to fund a fire service
1979 – The all-volunteer Fire Fighter company was formed with cooperative use of Station 21 at Higgins Corner with CDF (CAL FIRE)
1980 – A Tax of $25 per parcel per year was approved by the 79% voters
1985 – The Dog Bar Road area Station 22 was added
1986 – First full time firefighter hired
1986 – Annexation of 61 square miles of the Duggans and Mc Courtney Roads area all the way to Camp Far West was accomplished, bringing the District’s size to 89 square miles
1991 – Station 23 on Mc Courtney Road was added
1993 – Second full time firefighter hired
1994 – Two more full time firefighters hired
1996 – A $75 tax measure went before the voters. It failed to gain the necessary two-thirds votes
2007 – 17 full time firefighters on staff
2007 – The District bought the Station 21 property as Nevada County was divesting itself of “non-essential” Real Estate
2008 – With the economic downturn and lack of funds, down-staffing took place, alternating the “closure” of Stations 22 and 23 each month
2009 – A FEMA SAFER grant provided temporary funds to rehire firefighters for a year and all three stations were fully staffed with full-time firefighters
2011 – A $98 tax measure went before the voters. It failed to gain the necessary two-thirds votes
2014 – A $126 tax measure went before the voters. It failed by 29 votes to gain the necessary two-thirds
2015 – Measure V raising the total Special Fire Tax to $141 per year fell short of the necessary 66.7% of votes
2016 – Station 22 was down staffed due to the lack of funds
Higgins Corner History – Major Milestones
Michael J. Higgins was born in Ireland. With his parents, he moved to Canada in 1843 and then in 1844 to New York. At the age of 19, Mr. Higgins came to Placerville, California in 1852, and began mining. By 1853 he was both mining and trading in Placerville.
1860 – M.J. Higgins married Mary W. Driscoll, also of Ireland. The couple came to Nevada County and homesteaded 160 acres located on Wolf, Combie and Auburn Roads. They raised nine children, six of which are recorded as being born at Higgins Corner. They family not only farmed and raised livestock, they also established a blacksmith shop in their barn. The barn still remain on Wolf Road, while all that remains of the family home is the fireplace. A lot of old timers in the area still refer to the area as Higgins Corner. Son, Bill, was last of the family to live at Higgins Corner.
1885 – Wolf, CA post office opens at intersection of Wolf and Garden Bar Roads.
1915 – 24 families living in Wolf, CA area build own telephone service and connecting to the Bell Service in Grass Valley.
1943 – Bill and Kate Higgins (MJ’s children) offer land to the State for California Department of Forestry (CDF) fire station. However, the State could not legally accept gift of land at the time, so the it was given to Nevada County, which then signed a 49 year-lease with the State for a cost of $1 per year.
1947 – 1st CDF contingent establishes “tent camp” at Higgins Corner.
– Present Hwy. 49 is built. Before 1947, it wound around, by way of LaBarr Meadows Rd., a mile east of the current intersection of Alta Sierra Dr., thru Alta Sierra, down past Cherry Creek to Higgins Corner.
– Electricity comes to Higgins Corner.
1949 – 1st permanent CDF buildings constructed. Station open only during summer/ fall fire season.
1952 – Pacific Bell Telephone installs telephone lines to service the Higgins Corner area.
1956 – Wolf, CA post office closes. It had been the oldest, continuously operating post office in California up until that time.
CDF Station 21 at Higgins Corner – circa 1967