Gallatin is one of the many intriguing figures in California history. This native New Yorker arrived in California in 1860, and the following year located at Sacramento. It was fortunate timing on his part to land a job in hardware store owned by Huntington & Hopkins. At the same time, Huntington and Hopkins would join forces with Crocker and Stanford, to become the “Big Four” and establish the Central Pacific Railroad. As a junior partner in the hardware business, became quite lucrative providing materials for the railroad. In 1877, he built the Gallatin House and in 1903 it became the California Governor’s Mansion.
The prosperous Gallatin began branching out into numerous endeavors including the sheep business. Gallatin needed summer range for the sheep, and discovered Eagle Lake. In a two year period in the late 1880s he purchased nearly 5,000 acres of Eagle Lake properties for $9,000. The bulk of the purchases were timberlands, with the exception of Hall’s Papoose Meadows and William Dow’s ranch near present day Spaulding Tract.
With the exception of Gallatin being Eagle Lake’s largest property owner, his influence otherwise was minor. In 1905, he passed away and his second wife, Malvena, had the lasting impact on Eagle Lake. After all she introduced Leon Bly to Eagle Lake.