Shelve those dry history textbooks. California’s colorful past is preserved for posterity on a stone wall in Murphys, and it’s down right entertaining.
The Wall of Comparative Ovations, located on the outside wall of the Old Timers Museum, is the project of E. Clampus Vitus, a fraternal brotherhood dating from 1851. It contains 82 stone and tile plaques that pay homage to everything from Mark Twain and early miners to saloon dancers, fancy women and wounded buffalo. Even a saber-tooth tiger is honored.
The Ancient and Honorable Order of E. Clampus Vitus started in Mokelumne Hill in 1851. It was primarily a fun-loving brotherhood of hard drinking miners. Revived in 1931, there are now 40 chapters in California and other parts of the west dedicated to preserving and recording history while having fun.
Along with the ECV Wall, modern-day Clampers have played a large part in the “plaquing” of California, erecting hundreds of historical markers and plaques throughout California. Thanks to the Clampers, Calaveras County has the most historical markers of any county in the state, including 42 listed landmarks, recognized by the California Office of Historic Preservation. Nineteen of these are also listed on the National Registry. A complete listing with details and locations is available at www.ceres.ca.gov.