Negro Bar, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area
Where is Negro Bar?
California State Parks continues working with the local community and stakeholders on changing the place name of the day-use area, identified as Negro Bar, within Folsom Lake State Recreation Area in Sacramento County. Using the public and stakeholder feedback as well as the history evaluation, it is hoped by State Parks’ staff to present a recommendation for decision in the new year.
The place name is present on three (3) signs located within and adjacent to the park facilities. There is a large entrance sign and a smaller sign that identifies a boat launch ramp. Outside the park is a roadway sign on Greenback Lane east of Folsom-Auburn Road. The name is also used on the California State Park website, maps, and literature identifying the day use facilities.
The historical use of the name appears in reference to Black miners during the gold rush including from an 1850 newspaper article noting Black miners finding gold at this location in 1848. A few years prior to the gold rush, in 1844, the area was part of a Mexican government land grant named Rancho Rio de los Americanos received by the multiracial West Indian immigrant and entrepreneur William Alexander Leidesdorff.
The historic townsite of Negro Bar was south of the historic city of Folsom, California, across the American River from what is today’s day use facilities.
The 1850 U.S. census, as well as election returns from the 1850s, refer to Negro Bar as having 500-600 residents. In the early 20th Century, the townsite was covered by soils and debris processed by various dredge companies that would later merge into Natomas Consolidated of California in 1908.
Outreach to Public, Stakeholders and Scholars
Since 2018, California State Parks has been working to address requests from park visitors and the interested public and stakeholders to consider a name change, given the perception that the place name is derogatory and does not reflect a modern view of inclusion and acceptance of all Californians.
Meetings with diverse stakeholders and formal consultations with California Native American tribal governments and tribal community members continue. Additionally, research into the history of the area is shared and discussions about alternative names continue. These efforts are not only providing input into changing the place name but also into drafting interpretive panels for the completed day use facility improvements project.
Based on the feedback that State Parks has received to date, some want to keep the current name. The majority of local stakeholders prefer a name change that would still include the historic reference to the Black miners’ era in the name, and propose the name be changed to Black Miners Bar. Although more outreach and research is necessary before a name can be recommended, other proposed names to date include: African American Bar, Black Freedom Bar, Eagle Bar, Freedom Bar, Historic Negro Bar, Leidesdorff Bar, Main Bar, and Miners Bar.
Renaming the day-use area has garnered local and statewide interest and remains a priority for State Parks’ staff, who continue to work diligently to address all the feedback received so far. Next steps will include statewide outreach and collaboration with scholars and historians to evaluate the statewide significance of this area to help in identifying a new name. Using the public and stakeholder feedback as well as the history evaluation, it is hoped by State Parks’ staff to present a recommendation for decision in the new year. As information becomes available, it will be shared with the public via this webpage.
State Parks invites the public to share their thoughts, comments, or suggestions for an appropriate place name for the park’s day use facilities via email at email@example.com.