Donner Pass is one of the most well-known crossings of the Sierra Nevada mountains, located in northern California between Sacramento and Reno, Nevada. Much of Donner Pass’s infamy is because of its namesake, the ill-fated Donner Party, who were stranded at the pass during the winter of 1846. In the early days of the automobile, the Lincoln Highway crossed Donner Pass. Later highways opted for the gentler approach, but higher elevation, of a nearby saddle referred to as Donner Summit. This is where I-80 crosses the Sierras today.
Our Donner Summit, Elevation 7135 Feet sign is an exact replica of one of the first signs posted by the state of California on Donner Pass. (Earlier signs were posted by the California State Automobile Association rather than the state government.) It follows the standards used for California guide signage in the 1930s. This includes the custom semi-rounded font used for the main text of the sign that was only ever used in California. The seal of the California Department of Public Works, Division of Highways, the predecessor to Caltrans, appears at the bottom center of the sign.
Our Donner Summit sign is non-reflective and printed on heavy 14-gauge steel. Its glossy finish greatly resembles the porcelain enamel signs that were used in the era the design hails from. It makes a great display piece, indoors or outdoors, and would even be able to withstand the harsh conditions of Donner Pass. We’ve made it available in the following sizes:
- 20 × 7½ in.
- 29¼ × 11 in.
- 32 × 12 in.
- 48 × 18 in.
Need a size not listed here? Or perhaps a sign like this for a different pass? Or another kind of guide sign, highway marker, or other sign from the era? Just contact Jake, and we’ll be happy to get started on your custom order!