Mile houses were established during the gold rush. They were places along the stage coach lines where travelers could stop to rest. Many of the Mile Houses, those on parts of the road that were privately owned, also collected tolls.
The Three Mile House was built in Smith Flat in 1853 over the Blue Lead Mining Channel. The original house consisted of a general store, post office, living room, bedroom, dining room, dance hall, rooms for rent, and a full attic and basement. There was also a separate toll house and a barn large enough for 40 horses. In the 1890’s, wings were added to the original building to accommodate a kitchen, pantry, saloon, card room and additional rooms to rent.
The building, now called the Smith Flat House, has changed owners many times over the years, but it has always been carefully preserved. As recently as 1999, it was used as a restaurant where visitors could still go to the end of the basement bar and peer into the entrance of the Blue Lead Mine.
Source: Betty Yohalem, “I remember…” Stories and pictures of El Dorado County pioneer families, Placerville: El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, 1977.