By Rachel Wulff

SHERIDAN (CBS13) — An early morning grass fire spread into and damaged an old Post Office building in Sheridan on Wednesday.

Cal Fire says, a little before 3 a.m., their crews responded to a report of a vegetation fire that had spread to a building. At the scene, firefighters found that flames started to engulf the old Post Office building.

“It’s just nothing left but the bricks,” said Jamie Presley, a resident of the area with a deep knowledge of the town.

Presley walked by and took one last look at the building, shaking his head about the loss of the historic Sheridan structure that dates back to the 1800s. It was once home to the post office and then eventually even a corner store.

“That’s too bad because Sheridan doesn’t have a whole lot,” Presley said.

By morning light, neighbors wanted a snapshot of the storefront that once was a stopping point along a dirt road.

“It used to be called Union Shed and it used to be a stage stop between Grass Valley, Lincoln, as far as you could ride a horse,” Presley said. “You had to have a stage stop cause your horse got tired.”

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When you don’t have much, you learn a lot about a little, Presley said. Black and white pictures of the old building put up at the current Post Office next door tell the story of a time gone by when the town was being considered as a state capital.

“Wheatland, Lincoln and Sheridan were high ground when the valley flooded from the levee systems,” Presley said. “So people would flood out of the valley, they’d come up to the foothills, the flood would go away and then they’d go back home.”

The tiny town with a population of 1,200 used to be a lot bigger back in those days.

“Because there was a hotel and there were restaurants,” Presley said. “So when the stage stop would stop, people had to eat and had to sleep.”

But when the new Highway 65 was rerouted through Lincoln, progress pushed people away

“This was one of the oldest buildings in town. It’s a holdover from many, many years ago,” said a couple who stopped to snap a picture.

The couple said they used to frequent it when it was a corner store more than 30 years ago. They know the history in the early years.

“This town burned down several times,” one said.

The old Post Office survives all this time sitting dormant. Even though there is no official cause of the fire, neighboring business owners blame the homeless.

“It’s been cleaning up a little bit, but you can’t get rid of them,” Mike Ballesteros said. “You got the train tracks right here. They jump off the train and do everything.”

About a quarter acre of vegetation was also burned, Cal Fire said. Crews from Wheatland, Placer County and Cal Fire responded to help get the flames under control.

It appears that the current Post Office building didn’t suffer any damage. No injuries were reported in the incident.

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