The creek, the town, and the county all take their name from the same man, Jose Maria Amador, Indian fighter, rancher, miner. On August 17 of 1835, Amador was granted an immense 16,517 acre tract of land known as the Rancho San Ramon, where he settled down and built one of the few two-story adobes in California. Amador began producing leather, soap, saddles, blankets, shoes, and wagons using Indians from mission San Jose, and was soon one of the wealthiest rancheros in the province.Read More
California State Highway 49: The Golden Chain
California State Highway 49, the “Mother Lode Highway,” can truly take you back to the days of ’49. The road connects gold rush mining camps, ghost towns and historic sites from Oakhurst in the south, to Sierra City in the north. It’s three hundred miles of beautiful country along the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Twisting mountain roads, sheer granite walls, precipitous drops to swiftly moving rivers. Old buildings, gold mines, forgotten cemeteries. Let’s go see what we can find.
Who the first men were to mine this region is not known for certain, but legend has it that among the earliest were members of Stevenson’s Regiment who chanced upon the diggings in 1848. They found the placers exceedingly rich, averaging $100 a day per man, with some spots yielding up to $500. The claims in Soldiers Gulch were paying so well that no one took the time off from mining to build any kind of permanent shelter. So when the first snows began to fly, most of the men packed up their gear and headed for friendlier climes.Read More
This old mining town, located on the banks of the Calaveras River, started out as a rich camp back in the early 1850’s. The river received its name from Gabriel Moraga who visited the region in 1806. Believed to be the first white man to enter what is now Calaveras County, he found many skulls along the banks of the river below San Andreas, prompting him to call it Calaveras, meaning “skulls” in Spanish. The river was rich and was widely worked during the Gold Rush. Placering, hydraulic mining, and dredging all took place in this area.Read More
A shallow basin rich in gold was discovered in 1850, about one and a half miles south of Jackson. Miners flocked to the area and for a very brief time the town known as The Bute, Butte City, and Greaserville rivaled neighboring Jackson in size and importance By 1851, several hundred inhabitants called Butte City home. Numerous buildings once lined the town’s main street, housing the merchants, businessmen and miners during the camp’s brief existence, brief because the gold gave out early and the town was abandoned almost faster than it was built.Read More
On August 3rd of 1877, a stage was making its way over the low hills between Point Arenas and Duncan’s Mills on the Russian River when a lone figure suddenly appeared in the middle of the road. Wearing a long linen duster and masked with a flour scan, the bandit pointed a double-barreled shotgun at the driver and said, in a deep and resonant voice, “Throw down the box!”Read More