Truckee is an unincorporated town in Nevada County, California, a few miles north of Lake Tahoe. Originally called Coburn Station after a local barkeeper, Truckee was renamed after a Paiute chief, Tru-ki-zo, the father of Chief Winnemucca, after whom the city in neighboring Nevada is named. According to legend, the first Europeans who came to cross the Sierra Nevada encountered the tribe. Chief Tru-ki-zo rode toward them, shouting “Tro-kay!”, which is Paiute for “Everything is all right”. The unaware travelers assumed he was yelling his name. Chief Truckee later served as a guide for the western explorer John C. Fremont…Truckee is best known today for its often-snowbound pass through the High Sierras, through which wagon trains, the early Transcontinental Railroad and later automobile highways, including the current Interstate 80, wound. This dangerous passageway became known as “Donner Pass,” after the Donner Party, a group of westbound settlers from Illinois who, in 1846, became snowbound in early fall as a result of several trail mishaps, poor decision-making, and an early onset on winter that year. Choosing multiple times to take shortcuts to save distance compared to the traditional Oregon Trail, coupled with infighting, a disastrous crossing of the Utah salt flats, and the attempt to use the pass near the Truckee River caused delays in their journey. ..Finally, a massive, early blizzard brought the remaining settlers to a halt at the edge of what is now Donner Lake — about 1,200 feet below the steep granite summit of the Sierra Nevada mountains and 90 miles east of their final destination, Sutter’s Fort near Sacramento. Several attempts at carting their few remaining wagons, oxen, and supplies over the summit proved impossible due to freezing conditions and a lack of any pre-existing trail. The party returned, broken in spirit and supplies, to the edge of Donner Lake. What followed during the course of the brutal winter is a miserable story of starvation, including rumors of cannibalism. Although 15 members had constructed makeshift snowshoes and set out for Sutter’s Fort in the late fall, they were also thwarted by freezing weather and disorientation. The Donner Memorial State Park in Truckee is dedicated to the settlers. Donner Pass Memorial.