During the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1866-67, 'Construction Camp 17' was formed at the mouth of the Little Truckee River. In 1868, it became known as Boca (Spanish for 'mouth') and the Friend & Terry Lumber Co. of Sacramento built a sawmill to provide wood for the railroad. After the mill pond froze over during winter, the Boca Mill & Ice Company took over operations in 1869 and began producing ice in addition to lumber. The town grew quickly during this time, reaching a few hundred residents during the 1870s. By 1872, Boca had become the largest shipper of ice and wood between San Francisco and Omaha. A school was built in 1873, and by 1876 numerous businesses operated including a large Victorian hotel, Chinese laundry, stores, and saloons. That year, the massive Boca Brewing Company was erected - at an acre in size, the brewery produced up to 30,000 barrels of lager per year and won awards at the 1883 Paris World's Fair. By 1889, the Boca Company built an additional ice pond and ice houses connected to the railroad by a 2-mile spur. With the combination of train activity and the brewery's success, there were several accidents and soon saloons in Boca were shut down. In response, Roddy McClellan laid out 'Roddyville' across the river with two saloons.

Unfortunately, the brewery burned in January 1893 and was never rebuilt. This marked the beginning of Boca's decline. Nevertheless, another railroad - the Boca & Loyalton - was formed in 1900 and completed between the two towns in 1901, transporting timbers and lumber to and from sawmills. This railroad would be plagued by numerous problems during its existence. In 1904, Boca was struck by another fire which destroyed the hotel. By 1908, an overuse of timber in the area forced the Boca sawmill's closure; the same fate befell the Boca & Loyalton Railroad in 1916. Only the ice industry remained, now owned by the Union Ice Company, a successor to the original Boca Company. By 1927, modern refrigeration finally led to its closure as well, and the town was soon dismantled. What remained in 1939 was removed during construction of Boca Dam, and little is left of the town today aside from foundations. An interpretive trail with informative signs and photos was opened by the U.S. Forest Service, telling Boca's story and leading to the town cemetery.

Central Pacific Railroad

↖ Star Mill [B&L]

← Prosser Creek • Boca