In 1871, George Schaffer opened a large saw mill in the Martis Valley to help satisfy lumber demand in the growing cities of Sacramento and San Francisco. Located three miles south of Truckee, Schaffer’s Mill thrived immediately and began to meet the construction needs of the Bay Area. A man of strong determination and a visionary, Schaffer directed his loggers to leave smaller trees untouched to help foster future forests – an uncommon act for logging operations of this time.
Schaffer was a family man, as he and his wife, Margaret, had twelve children. He also was a leader in Truckee’s many community and charitable organizations, including the Fire Companies, the Masons, Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
When Schaffer passed in 1903, the Truckee Republican headline read, “The Noble Tree Has Fallen! His death closes the career of a man whose history has been inseparably interwoven with the history of Truckee. No figure had been more conspicuous in town since its inception.”
Today, Old Schaffer Mill Road, the road on which the Schaffer’s Mill community is located, leads to the site of George’s old saw mill. In the town of Truckee, the historic Schaffer House, built in 1895, is still located on Church Street and is available for touring.