More on Amsterdam

March 7, 2011 

Almond orchards and cows, with a few people living among them, are all that's left of the little town of Amsterdam. I spent some time there Friday afternoon as Belgian filmmakers Rob Rombout and Rogier van Eck filmed a portion of their documentary, "called "Amsterdam Stories USA." The film tells the story of people living in the 16 American towns that share the "Amsterdam" name.

Read the original story here.

Sarah Lim at the Merced County Courthouse Museum e-mailed a couple pages of the book "Ghost Towns of Merced County," by Herb Wood. According to the book:

-- The town of Amsterdam (in North Merced County, along Oakdale Road just off Highway 59), was once four blocks by six blocks, with a library, school, store and post office. The library remained in operation until 1987.

-- The community was settled by Dutch workers who helped build Lake Yosemite and irrigation canals throughout Merced County, the book said.

-- A post office was established in Amsterdam in 1893 and was shuttered when it merged with the Merced Post Office in 1925.

-- Merchants in the area included a cheese maker and a blacksmith in the 1920s.

-- An epidemic of hoof-and-mouth disease forced a temporary closure of Amsterdam School in 1923 when a dead calf was found on school grounds.

Readers were also happy to share details about the old town. A man left a message on my voice mail over the weekend to say he still had his class photos from the two-room Amsterdam School in 1929 and 1930. A female caller said the remnants of a "small Dutch home" could still be found on her daughter's Amsterdam ranch. In the comments section beneath the story, a reader who goes by the handle "Erod1944" recalled learning how to drive in a 1956 Volkswagen Beetle on Amsterdam-area canal banks in the 1960s. Another reader, "AntelopeSteve," said that Amsterdam is home to several dairies, a calf ranch, turkey ranch and peach trees.

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