Twelve Mile House

On December 17, 2009 · 2 Comments

I get a lot of people looking for "Twelve Mile" places on the site. That’s not entirely unexpected for a site called the Twelve Mile Circle. Sometimes it leads to amazing discovers like the Twelve Mile 500, the preeminent professional lawnmower race anywhere on the planet. Other times it leads to dead ends.

It seemed promising when I noticed a search for something called Twelve Mile House. I wondered what untold stories might be hiding behind the scenes just waiting to be exposed to the larger Internet. I hit the motherload. There isn’t just one Twelve Mile House. No, I stumbled across bunches of them.


Twelve Mile House, Coyote, California
SOURCE: San Jose Public Library California Room Silicon Valley History Online collection

This version of Twelve Mile House perched along a stagecoach line between San Jose and Monterey in the Nineteenth Century. The name may have derived from its distance in Coyote to the town of San Jose. A stagecoach stop provided wonderful opportunities for commerce and gatherings so 12 Mile House served many needs over the years including hotel, saloon, store and post office. Some of these functions can be observed in this circa 1890 photograph.


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This might be one. I’m not sure. There is definitely a Twelve Mile House listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Sharonville, Ohio at 11006 Reading Road. The Street View image isn’t clear enough to read the signs on the building, though. It’s the only one seemingly "old" enough to fit the proper period of historical significance, 1825-1849. Ohio’s Twelve Mile House served as a hotel and a restaurant and it continues to operate as a commercial property today. The Register doesn’t record the significance of the 12 miles but a quick eyeballing shows that it’s about that far to downtown Cincinnati. That would be my guess.


Nevada historical markers are shaped like Nevada! What a great point of geo-trivia.

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This roadside sign in the Carson River Basin of Douglas County is Nevada Historical Marker 125. It is located on U.S. Highway 395 about six miles south of Gardnerville. Twelve Mile House exists solely as a historic location today with the original structure long gone. It sat at the convergence of two primary roads through the area in 1860, the Boyd Toll Road which led to Genoa and the Cradlebaugh Toll Road which led to Carson City. Naturally this would be an attractive place to build a hotel and that was the exact historic need met by this incarnation of the Twelve Mile House. The distance applied in two different ways in this instance, referring both to the town of Genoa and to the Cradlebaugh Bridge leading across the Carson River.


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The final instance is contemporary, the 12 Mile Road House Bar & Liquor Store in North Pole, Alaska. Even Santa needs a drink I suppose, and when he does it’s likely at a roadhouse near the North Pole. I hope he’s a fan of Bud Light because an entire tractor-trailer loads seems to be unlaoding. The question remains, twelve miles from what? Fairbanks is one possibility but I’ll likely have to wait until one of the bartenders or patrons stumbles across this page randomly and submits a comment. Until then the mystery remains.

On December 17, 2009 · 2 Comments

2 Responses to “Twelve Mile House”

  1. I live near the Twelve Mile House in Nevada. A Washoe smoke shop is on the site now, but there are some old run-down buildings behind it. I’ve always wondered if those were remnants of the original station, but I’ve never stopped to look at them up close.

    The Nevada State Historical Marker program has been going on for about 40 years, with over 250 markers scattered around the state. Not all are in the shape of Nevada, but I’d say over 95% are. One guy has made it his mission to track down and visit every one of the markers. You can follow his progress, and his collection of photos, at

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