Saturday, July 9, 2011

US Summer 2011: Catching GOLD Fever In Coloma,California

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Date: July 2, 2011
Location: Coloma,California (56kms northeast of Sacramento)

Sacramento, California is said to be the center of the Gold Rush era which is pretty much felt alive through the several history museums I visited yesterday around Sacramento. But what a better place to catch the gold fever than to navigate the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, California about 56 kms northeast of Sacramento.

The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is located in Coloma on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn. About seventy percent of Coloma is included in Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Since it is tucked neatly into beautifully forested valley in the Sierra foothills, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is one of the most significant historic sites in California as James W. Marshall found gold flakes in the streambed and sparked one of history's migration.

I was able to "live history days" and learn more about golds and California history from the period 1847 through 1852 during my visit. We started our tour at the visitor center and museum where the interpretive exhibits and programs make gold discovery history come alive.

On 24 January 1848, Marshall discovered gold while inspecting the watercourse in the tailrace of the sawmill which he built in partnership with John Sutter (the founder of New Helvetia later became Sacramento). As equal partners, Sutter furnished the capital (so the sawmill was called after his name "Sutter Sawmill") and Marshall oversaw the operations of the mill. Upon spotting some shiny flecks, Marshall scooped them up, bent them with his fingernails, pounded them with a rock, placed them in the crown of his hat and hurried to announce his find.

Inside the historic park, there is a replica of the original Sutter sawmill and over 20 historic buildings including mining, house, school, and stores that have survived from the gold rush, as well as many other reminders and exhibits that portray the story that unfolded at the time of the discovery and Gold Rush. The park also features mining equipment, horse drawn vehicles, household implements and other memorabilia as well as a number of films about the gold discovery and early mining techniques.

A visit to the historic park is free of charge.But if you want to get the opportunity to pan for real gold, the program is $7.00 per person during months of April - October, Tuesday- Sunday at 10:00 am till 3:00 pm. Hands and Pans only, and you have to provide your own pan from home or can purchase a pan from the Gold Rush Mercantile. Supplies are provided for use while you are panning. Once you have found gold,you can keep it and can try your luck in the designated are at the South Fork of the American River near where James Marshall discovered gold in 1848.

Though I wasn't able to actually try gold panning because of lack of time, visiting the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is such an experience. For digging California's past, this historic site is really GOLD!

(This is part of the 5-week US Summer Vacation series, which took place from June 30, 2011 to August 3,2011 in California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pemnsylvania, and Indiana)

1.Four Countries In One Day

2. Enjoying Cable Cars in San Francisco

3. Enjoying Union Square and Downtown San Francisco

4. Commuting Easy With Panoramic Views

5. Mad About Museum in Sacramento California

6.Museums Trekking in Sacramento,California

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