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Gold Rush

10/31/2008 05:00PM, Published by Super Admin, Categories: In Print




There are many places of historical significance to be found in El Dorado County, and most, if not all are from the Gold Rush Era. Of course, with all the various and interesting sites and museums scattered across El Dorado County, making a day trip out of it can seem at first overwhelming. Fortunately, this month’s In History will take a look at four places of interest within the local historical scene to help those folks who are planning a day trip.

The first stop of the day is the El Dorado County Historical Museum. The Museum is located near the entrance to the El Dorado County fairgrounds in Placerville and is a fascinating place. Containing many relics from the county’s past, the History Museum is a great place to start. It also serves as an excellent place to learn of other historical locations to visit after the tour. Inside, baskets and other various tools and trinkets created by the indigenous people of the area can be seen in the first exhibit, while a Studebaker wheelbarrow and other items from the Gold Rush era can be seen next. Outside rests various pieces of steam-driven machinery that made the Gold Rush possible. For folks craving to learn more about mining, the next stop will certainly satisfy.

The Gold Bug Park and Mine is a large 61.5-acre area that can offer a full day experience for the visiting family. On the flip side, visitors who are just stopping by have a range of activities to pick from. For those who like some exercise with their education, there are roughly two miles of hiking trails, as well as an outdoor picnic area to rest and enjoy lunch. One of the more notable attractions, aside from the mines themselves, is a scale recreation of a stamp mill that was used to extract gold ore from quartz rock. The stamp mill is as fascinating as it is noisy. The park contains two mines: Gold Bug Mine and Priest Mine. Both offer visitors a learning experience on the realm of the Gold Rush miner. The next stop will take us out of Placerville and into the heart of where the Gold Rush began.

The James Marshall Monument is a must-see for anyone who desires to do a “Gold Rush” themed outing. The monument stands atop a hill overlooking the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. While it is possible to drive up to the monument at the top of the hill, walking up, in this writer’s opinion, is a better means of getting there. Once at the top, you’ll have a great view of the surrounding area and river canyon. The monument was erected above Marshall’s burial site, and if you look up closely at the monument, you’ll see that Marshall is pointing outwards. Appropriately, he is pointing to the site where he first discovered gold and sparked the California Gold Rush. Though the day is winding down, there’s one last stop to make, and what a destination!

After spending a day full of learning and visiting interesting historical places, sitting down and watching a good old-fashioned melodrama is possibly the best way to end such a day. Enter the Olde Coloma Theatre. Featuring local talent with plays that contain dashing heroes (hurrah!), mustache-twirling villains (boo!), and large amounts of laughs and fun, the Olde Coloma Theatre is a great place to take a family. Young kids will especially enjoy the atmosphere that the Theatre provides. Though not definitive, this list of places to visit should prove worthy and valuable to those who want to get out and experience historical El Dorado County, but aren’t sure where to start.

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