The Clio stove is back home

By John Lullo

Special to Plumas News

The Clio stove, circa 1852, believed to be the inspiration for changing the name of the community from “Wash” to Clio. Photo by Linda Cooley

Ever wonder how Clio in the Mohawk Valley near Graeagle received its name? Well it all started with a woodstove that now sits in the White Sulphur Springs Ranch house.

The story goes that while sitting around this old woodburning stove, the prominent citizens of a town called “Wash,” decided that the name of their city was too often mistaken for the town of Washington, in Nevada County on the south fork of the Yuba river. These citizens of Wash decided the new name of their community should be Clio, a name prominently cast into the door of the old stove they were looking at.

Clio is the name of one of the nine muses of Greek mythology. She is the patron of history. The dictionary allows the pronunciation to be either Clee Oh or Cl-eye Oh, but the people in and around Plumas County know that the only correct pronunciation is the latter.

The stove was cast at the Bridge & Beach foundry in St. Louis, MO. The company name changed a few times due to a change of owners, but this particular name first appeared circa 1857, which ties in well to the origins of White Sulphur Springs Ranch (WSSR) ranch in 1852. No reference could be found as to why the name Clio was boldly cast in the door of the stove. Since the stove also has an identifying model number cast in (no 22), the name Clio had to be a specific brand within a complete line of this kind of stove. This fact then adds credence to the belief that the name Clio, refers to the Greek muse mentioned above.

In 1974, the stove was found, along with some other old furnishings, in the attic of the old ranch house at WSSR. It was cleaned and put in one of the upstairs bathrooms. It was then purchased by Molly’s Bed & Breakfast at the auction of 2002. The owner graciously gave it back to the, Mohawk Valley Stewardship Council (MVSC) soon thereafter.

During the restoration of the historic ranch house the stove was loaned to the owners of the Blackbird Inn, which was then doing business in the building that was once the old general store in downtown Clio. As mentioned above, this was where the early citizens of Wash decided to change the name of their town to Clio. When most of the interior renovation of the old ranch house was complete, the stove was reclaimed by MVSC volunteers and put on display in the remodeled living room at WSSR.