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Family donates Stevenot portrait


Mike McGraw / Bureau of Reclamation John Ordway, left, and park ranger Eric Johnson show the portrait of Ordway's great uncle Archie Stevenot that was donated to the New Melones visitor's center.

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Stevenot family donates portrait

Union Democrat staff

The family of Archie Stevenot, for whom the Highway 49 bridge over New Melones Reservoir is named, recently donated a portrait of Stevenot to be displayed at the New Melones Visitor's Center.

Mike McGraw, a park ranger with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation at New Melones Reservoir, said Stevenot's great-nephew John Ordway donated the portrait to the visitor's center because of its proximity to the Stevenot Bridge on Highway 49.

Born in 1882 at Robinson's Ferry in Calaveras County, Stevenot was known as Mr. Mother Lode for his love and desire to preserve the history of the American West, specifically the Mother Lode and the Gold Rush period.

He grew up on his grandfather Gabriel Stevenot's ranch on Carson Hill. The elder Stevenot had homesteaded there since 1852. Archie Stevenot's father, Emile Stevenot, was a mining engineer and superintendent of the Carson Hill Mine. Archie Stevenot worked as superintendent of the mine as well and later ran the Hotel Tioga in Merced.

Archie Stevenot founded the Mother Lode Highway Association in 1919, which was instrumental in creating Highway 49 to link the region's mining towns.

He also served as Supreme Noble Grand Humbug of E Clampus Vitus.

Stevenot died on Aug. 1, 1968, at the age of 85. He is buried in St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery in Sonora.